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Windows Phone 7 'Mango' Coming Fall; Developers Get Head Start

The next big Windows Phone 7 update, dubbed "Mango," will be coming this fall, Microsoft announced on Thursday.

However, to let developers start building applications for the new version of the mobile OS, Microsoft will likely deliver the Mango software development kit (SDK) to developers later this month, according to a Microsoft blog (translated from Spanish). More precisely, the SDK will be announced at a May 24 press event, as noted by veteran Microsoft reporter Mary-Jo Foley.

The Mango SDK will also be described by Brandon Watson, head of the developer ecosystem for Windows Phone 7, during a keynote talk at Microsoft Tech-Days United Kingdom, scheduled for May 25 in London, according to this blog post.

Microsoft is saying that there will be "more than 1,500 new developer tools" in Mango. The improvements to come include enhanced multitasking, improved memory efficiency and a SQL CE database, according to the Spanish-language blog. The database can be used to "query the data within applications" and can be used with motion sensor and camera functions, according to that blog.

In March, Microsoft released the Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone 7 at its open source CodePlex site. This toolkit is designed to help developers tap Internet cloud-based services when building their applications. It includes Visual Studio 2010 templates and class libraries.

Microsoft has earlier explained that the Mango update will add Internet Explorer 9, access to Windows Live SkyDrive cloud-based storage and integration with Twitter. The IE 9 on Windows Phone 7 will be capable of tapping into the hardware acceleration capabilities in the device, which might be used for some HTML 5-based graphics capabilities.

Some new features expected in Mango, which is also being referred to as "Windows Phone 7.5," were attributed to a podcast (available here) in which Watson was interviewed. A Liveside.net report claimed that the new features include "Bing Vision, Bing Audio, Turn-by-turn Bing Maps navigation," along with "SMS Dictation." Watson denied saying that in a Twitter post, and it appears from listening to the podcast that he is correct. However, the hosts of the podcast do discuss these features. They speculated that Bing Audio may let users search for music by using their phone to listen to a song. Bing Vision might be a search service using the phone's camera and optical character reading technology, the hosts claimed.

Liveside.net also points to a Windows Live Messenger feature to come in the Mango release. That information was attributed to a Chinese developer, rather than through Microsoft.

Some Windows Phone 7 users are still waiting for Microsoft's first "NoDo" update, which customers have had problems receiving. In addition, Microsoft had an initial update before NoDo that was designed to help users get Windows Phone updates. That update also had trouble getting to many Windows Phone 7 users. Microsoft has pointed to the need to work with both hardware partners and service providers, which have different update release schedules, as the cause for some of the update delays and problems.

Microsoft additionally had Windows Phone Marketplace issues earlier this month that prevented customer downloads of applications. However, Microsoft says that problem has since been resolved.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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