The more I hear about all of the features that Microsoft is packing into the upcoming Mango update for Windows Phone, the more I’m liking Windows Phone’s chances to be a dominant player in the mobile space. Slated for this fall, the release is basically going to make Windows Phone what Microsoft wanted it to be at launch, but just didn’t have the time because they needed to get to market in a hurry. We still got a killer mobile OS, but there are some things missing here and there when you dig down deep, so it’s great to see that many, if not all, of these features are going to be addressed in the next major release of the Windows Phone OS.
- Windows Live Messenger, Facebook chat and AOL Instant Messenger all integrated under Messaging–and remember, we heard this is rumored to be a dual data/SMS system, making it really reliable even when your connection is not. Your presence as well as your friends are displayed in the People Hub dynamically.
- Office 365 and Skydrive built into Office hub–’nuff said
- Group Messaging: currently there are some nice 3rd party apps that do this, but the ability to have pre-defined groups to message to will be now be native, allowing to create quick groups for Family, Work, Friends, etc. This will work for Email and SMS.
- Artist art on Lockscreen: This is very cool, especially those with Zune HD players. What this does is pull down the Zune/Artist artwork of your current selection and plays it in a marquee/banner fashion on the screen. It currently does this on your Zune desktop/Xbox (play some music and wait a few mins, you’ll see). Evidently, in WP7.5, you can do this on your phone, making the Zune HD/Windows Phone distinction even less. This was always an awesome thing on the Zune HD, so we’re glad it’s being brought over.
- Xbox gets a facelift, including ‘sync’ option (potentially for online-game play). We first reported this back at MIX11, so now it’s confirmed.
- Native Check-ins are coming e.g. Facebook Places. More info here.
- Visual Voicemail will use Open Mobile Terminal Platform (OMTP)
- Battery saving features/options (under Settings)
- WiFi Hotspot support, uses Network Communication and Information Systems (NCIS) technology
One of the features I had not heard about until now is the artist information on the lock screen. It is one of the many ways that the ZuneHD was unique and superior in a very crowded music player market and I am glad to see it coming to Windows Phone. These are just some of the rumored features and the list just keeps on growing, so stay tuned here at Windows Phone Metro and I’ll do my best to keep you updated on what’s happening with the Windows Pone “Mango” update.