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Windows Phone 'Tango' Arrives for Nokia Lumia Devices

The Windows Phone update code-named "Tango" began rolling out to Nokia Lumia 800 and 710 devices on Wednesday, according to a blog post on Nokia's Conversations blog.

In terms of new features, Tango (identified as Build 7.10.8773.98 on Microsoft's Windows Phone update history page) is not as significant as last fall's Windows Phone 7.5 (code-named "Mango") update, which delivered roughly 500 new features and improvements to the platform. Microsoft has described Tango as just a "refresh" of Windows Phone 7.5.

Two new features users can expect from Tango are Internet sharing and flip-to-silence, Nokia's Boc Ly wrote on the blog. Internet sharing lets users turn their Lumia devices into a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to five other devices. The flip-to-silence feature lets users silence alerts and incoming calls by flipping the phone face-down. Additionally, users running the Tango update will be able to download newer Windows Phone Marketplace apps.

"The software update is available during June and July 2012 and the apps will be rolled out globally by the end of July," Ly wrote.

Nokia's Lumia software update page provides instructions for accessing the update. While the Tango update is new to the Lumia 800 and 710, which were launched last October as Nokia's first Windows Phone devices, it is already available on the newer Lumia 900 and 610.

Users can check the availability of the update for their Lumia phone by region here. Web site wpcentral reported on Wednesday that some users in the United States, South America and Europe are already able to update their phones. As for non-Nokia devices receiving Tango, LiveSide.net reported that at least one carrier, Australia-based Telstra, is currently testing Tango on HTC, Samsung and LG devices, with delivery scheduled sometime in July. Several non-Nokia devices like the HTC Triumph and the ZTE Orbit were launched earlier this year already running Tango.

Asked when other Windows Phone users can expect to receive the Tango update, a Microsoft spokesperson replied, "We're working with our mobile operator partners to bring the most current updates to as many customers as possible in as timely a fashion as possible."

Tango is designed for lower-end Windows Phone devices. As part of Microsoft's effort to reduce the platform's hardware requirements to cater to developing markets, Windows Phone devices running Tango can run on just 256 MB of memory, instead of the 512 MB required for higher-end smartphones.

A more significant revamp of Windows Phone, Windows Phone 8 (code-named "Apollo"), is expected in the fall. At last week's Windows Phone Summit, Microsoft revealed that Windows Phone 8 and the forthcoming Windows 8 desktop OS will share a common core. However, due to Windows Phone 8's higher hardware requirements -- the new smartphone OS will support higher screen resolutions, multi-core and near-field communication (NFC), for example -- there will be no upgrade path for existing Windows Phones to Windows Phone 8.

Instead, a forthcoming update dubbed Windows Phone 7.8 will be made available for current Windows Phone 7.5 users. The 7.8 update will let existing Windows Phone users take advantage of at least one of Windows Phone 8's new features -- a more customizable Start screen -- but Microsoft has not yet disclosed what other features will come with 7.8.

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the senior site producer for Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com and MCPmag.com.