Microsoft hit the Start Button yesterday to begin a large scale update to Windows Phone 7 users across not only the US but around the globe. After the less than stellar NoDo updates process from earlier this year Microsoft really wanted to get this one right and it seems they did just from watching the Twitter traffic relating to #wp7 and #mango. Yes there are a few having some issues as well but it seems the majority of users are reporting great success with the updates.
I have had the opportunity to be on the beta build of Mango for a couple of months now so I have grown used to many of the features that most Windows Phone 7 users will be experiencing for the first time in the next several days and weeks as the roll out continues.
Microsoft states that there has been 100’s of improvements in the Mango update and they list quite a few of them at the What’s New in Windows Phone 7.5 page. Some of my favorite new features that I think you will really appreciate are:
Custom ringtones. You asked for it, we built it—now you can create your own ringtones using MP3 and WMA files.
New Speech commands. Send a text with just your voice! That’s right: with Speech, you can text, search the web, and lots more, totally hands- (and sometimes eyes-) free. Your phone can even read you an incoming text, and then you can use Speech to dictate and send your reply.
Threads. Start with a text, and finish in Facebook or Messenger chat (or vice versa). The whole conversation stays in one thread, and all it takes to switch back and forth is a tap. See how
Linked inboxes. Juggling multiple accounts for personal or work email? Streamline things by linking them into a single inbox to see all the messages in one view (the accounts will stay separate).
Groups. Groups help you focus on the contacts you really care about—family, best friends, fellow soccer parents. You can pin your top Groups to Start to see everyone’s latest status updates and to send quick texts, emails, or IMs to the whole Group.
History view. Contact cards now show the history of your recent calls, emails, texts, and chats with the person. Just tap in the list to return the call or go to the thread.
Multitasking. Keep your place in a game while reading email? Check. Listen to music apps while texting? You bet. Many apps can run in the background, so you don’t need to shut one down to use another—plus you can switch between open apps in a flash. Learn how
Improved Live Tiles. The Live Tiles on Start dish up more (and quicker) updates on your apps, and they’re also a whole lot of fun—the Pictures Tile animates with a slideshow of your favorite snapshots and Group Tiles flash your friends’ latest updates.
More in Marketplace. Marketplace has an ever-expanding lineup of standout apps and marquee games, and it’s now easier to find what you want in the online store. So start limbering up those gaming thumbs!
Persistent camera settings. Now if you change camera settings—for instance, photo resolution, brightness, or another option your phone manufacturer might have included—you can save them for the next time you use the camera. Learn how
Internet connection sharing. Turn your phone into a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot by sharing your Internet connection with your laptop and other devices.
Hidden Wi-Fi networks. Now you can connect to hidden Wi-Fi networks (networks that don’t broadcast their network name).
Some of these features are quite welcomed like threads and linked inboxes which are my top two. The improved live tiles are meant to help you get in and out of your phone faster by giving you more information at a glance and Windows Phone 7 developers are really working to take advantage of that. Multitasking is excellent and the speed has been improved many fold since the original Windows Phone 7 release. Some of the updates have to be enabled by the hardware manufacturers and some will only be available on new handsets such as Internet Connection Sharing. By the way, make sure you turn off the reading of your text messages by voice before you go to sleep. Otherwise, you might be awakened when a message hits your phone and gets read aloud! Believe me I speak from experience.
The news out there is plentiful including methods to force official Windows Phone 7.5 “Mango” update onto your device if it has not started yet, Mary Jo Foley’s view of the features that matter and WP Central’s updating list of apps that are already taking advantage of the new features in Mango.
If this is your first taste of Mango we sure would like to hear your opinion on it in the comments and our poll below.