"For months, we and dozens of our partner companies have been laying the groundwork for the Windows Phone 7.5 update--and making solid progress. As a result, we now expect to start rolling it out in the next week or two," writes Microsoft's Eric Hautala, general manager of customer experience engineering for Windows Phone, in a Sept. 21 Windows Phone Blog post.
Why Mango Matters
Windows Phone 7.5 (WP7) brings dozens of new features to Microsoft's mobile OS, which needs a refresh to stay competitive with Apple's iPhone and Google's Android platforms.
Mango's Start screen now let users create personalized live tiles for their friends or groups. And the updated People Hub provides a single interface for Facebook, LinkedIn, Outlook, Twitter, and Windows Live Messenger updates, saving users from having to switch between apps.
Mango has tighter integration with Skydrive, Microsoft's cloud storage service. For instance, Office users now can access SkyDrive via the Office hub, and can pin Office documents to the Start screen--a feature reminiscent of the Windows desktop.
Other Mango enhancements include browser support for HTML 5 and hardware-accelerated graphics, as well as YouTube, LastFM, and Slacker integration with Windows Phone's Music + Videos hub.
Version 7.5 updates will be paired with software updates from handset manufacturers, and Microsoft is advising Windows Phone 7 users to avoid bootleg copies of Mango.
"This matched and paired firmware has been painstakingly tuned so your phone--and apps--work with all the new features of Windows Phone 7.5. Since your phone requires the proper firmware to function as designed, my advice is simple: steer clear of bootleg updates and homebrew tools," writes Hautala.
Microsoft issued a similar warning in April, when it warned WP7 users to avoid an unauthorized tool for downloading two software updates.
In conjunction with the Windows Phone 7.5 rollout, Microsoft will refresh its Where's My Phone Update? table to give WP7 handset users a better idea of when Mango will arrive.