Hands on: Windows Phone Mango feature demos [video]

By Tom Warren, on 24th May 11 2:00 pm with 61 Comments

Windows Phone Mango

Microsoft unveiled its Windows Phone Mango update on Tuesday.

WinRumors got the chance to sit down with the company and run through a number of Mango’s top consumer features. The software giant is planning to make Mango available later this year in the fall time frame. Microsoft is staying quiet on the official naming and timing for Mango but Steve Ballmer revealed earlier this week that the update will contain more than 500 new features.

Windows Live Messenger & Facebook Chat integration

Microsoft is integrating Windows Live Messenger straight into Windows Phone Mango. Users will be able to set their presence on the messaging service and exchange messages. The experience is integrated tightly into the operating system. Microsoft has built the messages straight into the Message Hub of Windows Phone Mango. Mango users can simply choose which method they want to use to communicate with friends. If you send an SMS to a friend and then a Facebook Chat message, both will appear alongside each other in a message thread. The integration is a key part of Microsoft’s Mango experience and we fully expect that Skype will be integrated in a similar way in future releases of the platform.

Check-in to Facebook Places and Windows Live integration

Windows Phone Mango allows users to check-in natively from their phone. Using a “check-in” feature, owners can simply share their location with friends and social networks without having to open a separate application. Microsoft says that the feature will work with Bing and Facebook Places but did not reveal whether Foursquare is also supported. The experience is launched from within the People Hub.

People Hub – Groups

One of the more interesting changes to the People Hub is the ability to group contacts into groups. The feature will automatically group family who share the same surname into a group and allow you to filter out members. Windows Phone Mango users can also setup groups for colleagues or friends. The groups are displayed in their own section of the People Hub. The group section takes all members and creates live tiles for each member under the group. The group section also includes a “what’s new” section with the latest social media updates and group pictures which contain images where group members are tagged. Groups can be pinned to the Windows Phone homescreen. The native integration also allows Groups to be used for messaging. Mango users can simply send a message over Windows Live or SMS to the group or via email.

Outlook and Linked Inboxes

Microsoft has greatly improved its inbuilt Outlook mail client on Windows Phone Mango. The inbox now includes threaded messages to group conversations. The view makes it easier to view an overview of your mail. Microsoft has also built-in “Linked Inboxes” which allows users to link a number of different email accounts together. The feature is designed to separate personal accounts from work accounts in most cases. The Linked Inboxes can be pinned to the home screen to make them easily accessible.

Xbox hub improvements

Microsoft has tweaked the Xbox LIVE hub to include 3D avatars as the default experience. Windows Phone 7 owners will be familiar with the interface as it’s built into the Xbox LIVE extras application. Microsoft has ported this across to the Xbox LIVE hub. The software giant has also made some changes to differentiate between Xbox LIVE Silver and Xbox LIVE Gold. The live tile will reflect this but the company didn’t expand on what the changes mean to the average user.

Multitasking, fast app switching/resume improvements

Perhaps the biggest feature of Mango is the ability to multitask between applications. Microsoft has built the feature straight into the OS and allows it to be triggered by holding the back button. The interface provides a live view of the last five applications that have been running on the device. The background color in the multitasking UI is linked to the phones system color for consistency. Each application can take up 90MB of memory space to multitask and Microsoft says the system is limited to five simultaneous applications. Windows Phone Developers can build in support for multitasking with the updated Mango SDK.

Office Hub and SkyDrive improvements

Microsoft is now offering full integration with SkyDrive inside the Office Hub. Windows Phone Mango users will be able to pull documents from Microsoft’s cloud, edit them or take notes on them, and sync them back to SkyDrive. The native integration of SkyDrive, SharePoint and Office 365 will wow consumers and business customers alike. SkyDrive folders are presented in a discoverable way inside the Office Hub. Shared folders will also be available.

Bing Local Scout

Microsoft’s latest Bing play on Windows Phone Mango is the most impressive location based service inside the new OS. Users of Bing will be prompted to explore their location with a banner at the bottom of the Bing user interface. The prompt will open up Bing Local Scout features. Local Scout shows places to eat, drink, shop and see around you. Local restaurants and places of interest will be surfaced nearby, allowing users to access rich location data to discover new retail outlets. The experience includes map integration to allow users to quickly navigate to the local shop, restaurant or place of interest. Users can also save favorites. Local Scout will also allow users to surface information about where they are going for a meeting or family day out. The experience is fully integrated and hooked into Mail and Calendar. Local Scout will launch when a user taps on an address or link received in an email or calendar invite.

Zune Smart DJ and Album Art lockscreen

Zune Smart DJ has also been ported to Windows Phone Mango. The feature allows Zune Pass subscribers to simply stream music based on existing content. Smart DJ will offer up songs of artists similar to those you have synced onto Windows Phone. Microsoft has also integrated song album art into the lockscreen for Windows Phone Mango. If content is playing on the device when it’s locked, the phone will show the album art and automatically disable it if it’s paused or stopped.

Pin photo albums and tagging

Windows Phone Mango now allows users to pin albums straight onto the Windows Phone homescreen. Users can also add tags to pictures inside the Photo Hub. Windows Phone Mango automatically detects which network the picture is stored on and allows users to tag Facebook friends or Windows Live friends depending on where the picture is stored.

  • Anonymous

    Good stuff

  • Miron

    Love everything … WP7.5>iOS>Android

    • Viteok4you

      I’d say WP7=iOS=Android=Bada=Symbian .
      It all depends on people’s choice.

    • Anonymous

      Well Symbian doesn’t compare to the first three, I have yet to use Bada, but it seems to be that it’s an OS that doesn’t have the ecosystem of the first three, so it’s more like this atm.

      IOS=Android>WP7 > Bada > Symbian

      With Mango it’ll be

      IOS=Android=WP7 > Bada > Symbian

      But with IOS and WP7 having a better ecosystem then Android with Itunes and Zune.

      WP7 seems to become the business leader with its strong ties to Office365 and desktop Office. But wether or not it becomes the success it deserves to become is offcourse unknown.

    • Anonymous

      Well Symbian doesn’t compare to the first three, I have yet to use Bada, but it seems to be that it’s an OS that doesn’t have the ecosystem of the first three, so it’s more like this atm.

      IOS=Android>WP7 > Bada > Symbian

      With Mango it’ll be

      IOS=Android=WP7 > Bada > Symbian

      But with IOS and WP7 having a better ecosystem then Android with Itunes and Zune.

      WP7 seems to become the business leader with its strong ties to Office365 and desktop Office. But wether or not it becomes the success it deserves to become is offcourse unknown.

  • http://twitter.com/starksimon Stark

    Oh. My. God. This is completely awesome! Want NAO! :D

  • http://unhub.com/eingoluq Eingoluq

    Only Five apps for multitasking….hmm…

    • http://twitter.com/WinPhoneJunkies WinPhoneJunkies

      How many do you want.  It’s a phone not a tablet. 

    • GP007

      I think you’re looking at it wrong, it says 5 “simultanius” apps.  So in order to save battery and so on if a 6th app is in the BG it’ll have to wait for one of the others to finish whatever they’re doing.  I fully expect a queue in place for this, and really apps won’t be going off 24/7.   If the app is smart it’ll do it’s task and then stop/tombstone, and wait for the next scheduled time or for you to do something directly.

      Basically the point is that not every app on the phone should keep running in the BG, I think 5 is a good number since people on a phone aren’t going to multitask to the same level they do on a PC.  The majority will probably jump between 2 and 3 apps at any given time.

  • Mikee

    OH man!  I can’t wait.

  • Mechacrash

    im guessing the whole “5 apps maximum” thing was their battery saving idea?

    i dont see why they just dont dump the app’s RAM and take a screenshot. sortve like hibernation except on a much smaller scale…

    then again that could be what they are doing.. hmmm

    • Guest

      Maybe this is what they are doing in NoDo/RTM for app resume? (taking a screenshot and save to flash)…. however I suspect that takes a number of seconds to load back into memory.

  • Mechacrash

    im guessing the whole “5 apps maximum” thing was their battery saving idea?

    i dont see why they just dont dump the app’s RAM and take a screenshot. sortve like hibernation except on a much smaller scale…

    then again that could be what they are doing.. hmmm

  • Guest

    They are still calling the music stuff “Zune”.  Any chance they’ll drop this by RTM?

    • http://ahylianhuman.me Rod Davis

      What’s wrong with calling it that? Even though Zune hardware has been dropped by Microsoft, the software and online compenents still exist.

  • http://doctorwhofan98.wordpress.com/ doctorwhofan98

    Wow! Way better than any iPhone. Ever. Go Microsoft!

  • http://doctorwhofan98.wordpress.com/ doctorwhofan98

    Wow! Way better than any iPhone. Ever. Go Microsoft!

    • https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawlKVnOMSoZNit0DSGH0q7KUd9aIyhKnGZg righttothetemple

      Like you know anything about the iPhone. iPhone multitasking can do more than 5 apps only simultaneously, so what are you talking about? You’re just being another spoiled fanboy, nothing else.

    • http://doctorwhofan98.wordpress.com/ doctorwhofan98

      I have an iPhone 4! I know about iPhones!

    • http://twitter.com/WinPhoneJunkies WinPhoneJunkies

      Fanboy? Pretty ironic that you are posting in a windows blog website.  

    • Anonymous

      My Nokia n900 can run more than 5 apps simultanesously as well…. try 25, buddy! Can your iphone 4 do that?

      Windows looks awesome! Next phone will be a Nokia Windows Phone for sure! I can’t wait!

    • http://twitter.com/TechDudeGeorge George S

      This is true multitasking, iPhone multitasking does it badly.
      1. It just pauses it, so if a App is not wrote correctly it won’t multitasking
      2. It’s way slower, most people experience more lag with more than 5 multitasking apps

    • Anonymous

      Microsoft essentially copied WebOS though :-)

    • Anonymous

      You could say web OS copied ALT+Tab from windows 7 or that this is just a natural extension of Windows 7 interface to Windows Phone.  Web OS has some different functionality that sets it apart from this. 

    • Guest

      Even Android is not full mutltitasking, I forget the specifics though.

    • Anonymous

      Spoiled and fanboy does not really go hand in hand when it comes to Microsofts mobile operating systems ;)

    • Aaron

      I see the 5 app limitation as a good thing.  Usually when I leave an app
      I’m to careless to properly close it.  So only allowing 5 of these to
      accumulate may save my battery life.  Honestly, I would be perfectly
      happy with a limit of only 2 since the main reason I wanted multitasking
      was to save myself from accidentally hitting the start button in the
      middle of a game.  Thank you Microsoft for trying to take the most
      sensible approach to this and not just allow unlimited “true”
      multitasking for the sake of adding another line to a feature list.

    • thomas

      It could have a list of twenty apps and I think your battery usage would remain the same. Remember the app is “dehydrated” when closing and “rehydrated” when opened to conserve battery. The 5 app limit seems more of a way to keep the list manageable and simple.

    • Thomas

      It could have a list of twenty apps and I think your battery usage would remain the same. Remember the app is “dehydrated” when closing and “rehydrated” when opened to conserve battery. The 5 app limit seems more of a way to keep the list manageable and simple.

    • jeff

      Why not just let us set the number of apps we want running.  If I want to kill my battery, let me.  Make it a setting!

    • Anonymous

      I think the main reason for Multitasking on a phone is to have messaging services and apps like pandora running.  With built in messaging this might reduce the main need.

    • Guest

      I think the 5 app limit comes from lack of additional ram. AFAIK, the applications don’t stay running in the background (unless they use background agents/or other method Microsoft provides). The applications just stay in memory so that they can quickly resume if you want to.

    • Aaron

      I see the 5 app limitation as a good thing.  Usually when I leave an app
      I’m to careless to properly close it.  So only allowing 5 of these to
      accumulate may save my battery life.  Honestly, I would be perfectly
      happy with a limit of only 2 since the main reason I wanted multitasking
      was to save myself from accidentally hitting the start button in the
      middle of a game.  Thank you Microsoft for trying to take the most
      sensible approach to this and not just allow unlimited “true”
      multitasking for the sake of adding another line to a feature list.

  • http://twitter.com/Admiredluke Matthew Beadle

    WP7 is getting better and better and this update is the BEST. Now if i could only get my hands on the copy and paste update i would be the happiest customer ever

  • Anonymous

    There’s so much they didn’t show. What about all the enterprise features? Was this not an appropriate event to show off that stuff? It’s a preview of Mango, why not show that off? Where was voice-activated turn-by-turn navigation? It wasn’t shown off. The search button in apps and how to better organize and find apps wasn’t shown off.

    There’s also another problem. Until Microsoft gets out of their “U.S. only” mindset, they will continue to fail against Apple and Google. Why would anyone outside of the U.S. buy your phone if so many of it’s best features and services aren’t even available to you.

    Pull your head out of your a$$ Microsoft.

    • Anonymous

      This was a preview. Not an all encompassing demonstration…

    • Anonymous

      A lot of Android services, like Google Voice and Google Music, aren’t available outside the US either.  With Skype integration (which is an international service), it gives MS a leg up.

      I do agree on the music service, though remember a lot of other features were also shown off and touched upon at MIX11 in April, and I’m sure there’ll be something else closer to the Mango release as well.

    • Anonymous

      I was pretty disappointed that they didn’t demo voice guided navigation though =/ . 

      I mean it sounds like a really key feature that Microsoft would have wanted to advertise to the world during Mango’s launch right?  

      And now that haven’t demoed it… =[

    • Jeremy Ironside

      Neowin shows it from the emulator. It’s pretty buggy though
      http://www.neowin.net/news/wp7-turn-by-turn-navigation-shown-off-on-video

    • Anonymous

      Yup just saw that. Thanks for the heads up!

    • Anonymous

      So releasing a GSM phone before a CDMA phone in November (pre-empting the HUGE Verizon release of the iPhone) wasn’t a “global” mindset for Microsoft?
      I’ve been waiting on this damn phone to release on VZW for MONTHS because of the “global” mindset… That “global think” you’re wanting has set Microsoft back in the US market by at least a year… maybe more.  It very well could have been the decision that kills the platform with the way Verizon is treating the release (a footnote next to the damn “hack me” Sony phone and 2 other Android phones with NEWLY signed Root’s that are nigh un-rootable).

      Nah, they weren’t thinking globally at all… pshhh

      Also, I’m tired of hearing tech blogs blame the Kin for the poor Microsoft/VZW relationship.  If VZW would have sold the Kin like a “feature phone” and not a smart phone ($29 data package vs $12 package) from the beginning it wouldn’t have failed.  VZW sold out of Kins when it started selling it as a feature phone in the late Fall but tech blogs didn’t mention that!

    • John Robinson

      Why do you think that they’ve partnered with Nokia?  That’s a globally provident move.

  • Deus

    What phone is he using?

    • Touqeer Anjum

      its an ASUS phone but not in production for consumer, its currently for developers ONLY!!

  • Kimlo

    5 apps plenty, this isn’t a full blown computer, it’s a phone.

    How many people using a phone are SERIOUSLY going to be switching between more than 5 apps at a time, really can’t see it happening. Good choice to limit it to that if it helps with battery life.

    The whole update looks amazing. Once Mango is out along with a ton of new phones WP7 is really IMO going to be a benchmark in smart phones.

    The best thing about WP7 is that it’s not an immitation, it very original and does things its own way. Threaded chat with FB, MSN, Skype and Text all in the one thread in the messaging app is not something any other platform offers, along with integrated OS level twitter, linked, facebook, etc

    Seriously MS is doing a great job so far with WP and if they keep making great updates like Mango WP7 is going to go really far.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jzetterman John Zetterman

      Exactly, the one thing I really hate about my iPhone is when I have 40 apps running at once, it’s a PITA to close them all. I can’t wait for Mango and the new phones so I can make the switch!

  • Jburch175

    how about VPN?

    • Anonymous

      I think they’re trying to push Sharepoint for this phone although VPN would be nice.

    • Anonymous

      You mean DirectAccess?  VPN is such a dead technology.   I have Direct Access on my Windows 8 box… nice to access corporate resources with ease.

      Be nice if DirectAccess was built in.

  • Gdf

    I need sip and video call functions,would it be possible in mango?

  • http://twitter.com/starksimon Stark

    People are forgetting that you don’t have to run FB, LinkedIn, Live Messenger, and Twitter in the background. Those networks are now part of the OS. And what do you use your smartphone for? That’s right, mostly for communication. And don’t forget about live tiles. Information will be pushed even if the app is closed (at least that’s how understand, correct me if I’m wrong). So, 5 active apps running in the backgound limit? I couldn’t care less.

  • Matt

    Before getting my WP7, I couldn’t decide between WP7 and Android. Whilst my phone has been great, it does miss a few things that I would use on a day-to-day basis – such as Facebook Events integration, multi-tasking and IE7.5 has lots of minor usability issues. Mango looks set to fix all of this (except for the lack of an SD slot on my device), so I’m feeling a lot happier about my phone choice now. 

    I just hope the update process goes well – Microsoft will have learnt lots from NoDo, so I’m expecting a much quicker turnaround. 

  • Matt

    Before getting my WP7, I couldn’t decide between WP7 and Android. Whilst my phone has been great, it does miss a few things that I would use on a day-to-day basis – such as Facebook Events integration, multi-tasking and IE7.5 has lots of minor usability issues. Mango looks set to fix all of this (except for the lack of an SD slot on my device), so I’m feeling a lot happier about my phone choice now. 

    I just hope the update process goes well – Microsoft will have learnt lots from NoDo, so I’m expecting a much quicker turnaround. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/lkratochvil Lukas Kratochvil

    what about the maps/turn by turn any mention of that?

  • cmwind

    wish the lock screen artist art was “colorized” the way it is for Zune on PC/Zune on Xbox

  • ap19

    I have seen the demo and it looks awesome. I asked few of my freinds to buy WP7 after i used mozard and HD 7 and they all love it.
     
    I can wait to get my hands on mango. Now, i wish if we could have skype with mango. Then …..

  • BobH

    I going wait for the Lemon update… or was that WP7 1.0?

  • http://josedmorales.net Josè Daniel


    1. I was hoping Linked would be part of the native Check-ins in WP :/
    2. The 5-limit app for multitasking isn’t so bad specially if it is intended for saving battery life; although some people could see it as a drawback.
    3. What is it with Fruit Ninja that all multitasking videos have to show it?!! LOL seriously! :P

    • Anonymous

      1. I think MS wants to integrate it as well but there could be some challenges with FSquare
      2. Not quite sure it is limited from a battery perspective – apps are completely freezed / dehydrated – I think this may have some thing to do with manageability rather than anything else. 
      3. Fruit Ninja has been coded to take advantage of the instant resume… many other games/apps won’t be able to take advantage of the instant resume feature until they are updated

  • http://josedmorales.net Josè Daniel


    1. I was hoping Linked would be part of the native Check-ins in WP :/
    2. The 5-limit app for multitasking isn’t so bad specially if it is intended for saving battery life; although some people could see it as a drawback.
    3. What is it with Fruit Ninja that all multitasking videos have to show it?!! LOL seriously! :P