Microsoft Releases Windows Phone 7 'Mango' Beta to Developers

Microsoft released the beta of "Mango," the next version of the company's mobile OS, to Windows Phone 7 developers on Wednesday.

Those who have registered to develop for Windows Phone 7 via the MSDN App Hub or the Microsoft Connect site can now start accessing the Mango beta, though a Microsoft blog post by Brandon Watson, senior director for Windows Phone, said some developers may have to wait a few more weeks due to "kinks" in the Mango distribution process.

Following specific steps, developers can install the Mango beta on one retail phone to test their application builds. Watson warned that failure to follow those steps can result in the phone getting "bricked." The device destined to receive the Mango beta should be reserved for testing. Users should take preparations to be able to roll back the device to an earlier OS image if they want to continue to get future Windows 7 Phone updates on that device, Watson said in response to a question on the blog.

To get its messaging right to consumers, Microsoft first released the Mango beta to reviewers before giving it out to the general developer pool, Watson said.

In addition to the Mango beta, Microsoft also released a new software development kit (SDK) beta on Wednesday. The Windows Phone SDK 7.1 beta 2 can be downloaded here. Microsoft released beta 1 of the SDK in May, but Microsoft's release notes instruct Mango testers to uninstall beta 1 first before installing beta 2.

Beta 2 of the Windows Phone 7.1 SDK has a number of new features, which are listed here. A Microsoft Silverlight SDK blog post described its highlights as additions to the isolated storage explorer, as well as improvements to the profiler and emulator. Those building ring-tone apps for Mango-based phones can get the specs here.

Microsoft also updated another SDK that supports building advertisements into Windows Phone applications. Microsoft released a new Advertising SDK for Windows Phone June update this week that includes improved APIs for Silverlight and XNA ad controls, among other features. The ads get served up via Microsoft's mobile ad exchange, which the company describes as "the first real-time bidded ad Exchange for mobile." This Advertising SDK includes the Microsoft pubCenter solution, which delivers reports on the performance of ads within an application.

The finalized Mango update to Windows Phone 7 is expected to be released sometime this fall. However, this release-to-manufacturing version will be subject to testing by Microsoft's device and mobile service provider partners before general release to consumers. Because of that testing process, consumers will tend to get updates to their Windows phones in a month's time or longer after Microsoft announces the release.

The Mango update is expected to bring improvements such as use of the Internet Explorer 9 Mobile Web browser, plus access to Microsoft's SkyDrive cloud-based storage resource, on Windows Phone 7-based devices. Twitter integration will also arrive with Mango.

"IE9 Mobile," which is Microsoft's new name for IE 9 on Windows Phone 7, will be capable of tapping into the device's hardware acceleration resources. This capability can be leveraged to run HTML 5-based graphics and video. Microsoft has already built a demo page for IE9 Mobile showing those capabilities.

Those experiencing troubles with the Mango beta and the new SDK beta can get help from Microsoft at this App Hub forum space.

About the Author

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