Microsoft details Windows Phone Mango Music/Video improvements

By Tom Warren, on 5th Jun 11 4:45 pm with 31 Comments

Microsoft has revealed some additional details about its Windows Phone Mango Music and Video hub improvements.

The software giant revealed the details in a blog post on Friday. Microsoft detailed its Smart DJ additions and new on-device podcast support, if you’re interested in seeing how Smart DJ works – check out the video below. The company also detailed a number of smaller changes:

  • More discoverable playback options: Shuffle all music, rate, shuffle and repeat playback options have been moved to front and center rather than hidden behind album art.
  • Improved History and New: These areas are designed to make it easier to find and play content. But usability studies taught Microsoft that the horizontal layout and 8-item limit slowed people down. So in Mango, Microsoft has gone vertical— and added room for 25 items.
  • Better mini-playback control: Microsoft noticed people were having trouble tapping the small buttons of their mini-playback controls. Now when you tap the volume button on your phone you’ll see bigger, easier-to-tap music controls as well as the artist name and what’s playing. Tap on that info to launch the full music player and  turn on options like shuffle or repeat.
  • New lock-screen options: Playback controls are now available on the lock-screen.
  • New artist wallpapers: Album art can now show on the lock screen in Mango. There’s a setting option to turn it on. (It’s off by default as it does have a small impact on your battery life).

Microsoft has also made a number of tweaks to the music player itself:

  • Better playback controls: The playback controls are bigger and are now aligned with the mini-playback control—so your thumbs always know where to go.
  • Better artist images: Microsoft found that the background artist images were sometimes too bright, which made some controls hard to see. Microsoft’s design team worked hard to find the right opacity for the images. The end result you’ll see in Mango has a great layered look and never interferes with the controls.
  • More playback info: Microsoft has added the artist name to the music player queue so that when you’re jamming to your new Smart DJ mix, you know exactly what’s up next.
  • More playback options: Tap the Repeat button a couple of times and you’ll see the addition of a Repeat Once mode for those songs you just can’t get enough of.
  • New playlist option: You can finally create playlists on your device. Add a mix of whatever you want to your queue or start a Smart DJ mix and save it as a playlist.
  • Better data management: In Mango, Zune Pass subscribers now see an icon on the phone when they’re listening to streamed music—so you always know when you’re consuming data.
  • More video options: Last but not least, for videos, Microsoft added a full-screen toggle and video scrubbing (where supported) so you have quick access to the parts of your videos you love most

Music + Video improvements

  • Bart Reding


  • Anonymous

    The new location of the playback controls sucks imo.

    • BucksterMcgee

      Ya know, at first I thought the same thing, but when you actually hold the phone normally, the new spot is right inline with your thumb. The old method, while close to the bottom, forced your thumb to curve in greatly. I think the best part is now all the controls are the same, whether you invoke the drop down, are in the player, or just wake up the device

    • AMAcloud.COM & AMAppSTORE.COM

      WM7 needs a much better GUI

    • Anonymous

      Go away please. You are the only one here with no taste of good interface design.

    • Anonymous

      I love it how people use ‘WM7′ instead of ‘WP7′.
      It’s like a warning sign – like how douchebags wear shirts with popped collars.

  • oolong2


  • Keno Butler

    will this come to jamaica ?

    • Eingoluq

      Will it come to Trinidad?

    • Keno Butler

      Lets hope it comes to JA first :p

  • GP007

    Tom, what’s with the US only podcast support and stuff?   What sorta reason is there for this limit?

    • BucksterMcgee

      The old fall back is there is some strange legal issue, but I’m thinking it’s more of resources issue with the Zune division. If that’s the case they either couldn’t produce a global solution that worked well enough, or didn’t feel the quality outside of the US would meet what they want to officially release. Either way, I’m sure if Microsoft thought it was good enough to be able to release they absolutely would.

  • Anonymous

    I really like the album cover as a wallpaper while playing a song….its really cool, isnt it? i was not sure about the new location for playback buttons, but its nice, as said above, that it will be in the same location everytime…..

    cant wait for the update, like everyone else i suppose.. :P

    • Steve

      It isn’t the album cover for wallpaper, it’s a totally different image. Unfortunately there is no way to use one of your own if Zune don’t have it. Unless I am missing something?

  • Ian Mitchell

    Tom, does the music player still insert pauses after songs?

  • joe

    no slide/seek button??

  • joe

    no slide/seek button??

    • Jonathan Marston

      You hold the next/prev buttons to seek

  • Alex ward

    Has it been announced yet whether ALL windows 7 phones will be updated?
    I don’t want to go ahead and buy a HD7 to not have it updated.

    • Alessandro Grua

      Yeah, all existing phones will get the update in fall!

    • Alex Ward

      I’ll go and buy a HD7 on Tuesday then. Thanks!

      It’s weird, when I was looking around the shop at windows 7 phones the other day the rep was doing all he could to put me off them.
      He was saying that every single windows 7 phone he sold has problems, especially HD7s which has ALL been returned.
      No idea how they get away with that.

    • Anonymous

      you cant trust them… saddly they would say anything, i know probably some were returned and such but not like ALL could be returned. my sister had one with windows mobile. and it broke so i made her buy windows phone even it was $400. and she think its a cool phone, she listens to music so she bought the surround one. and i always ask her joking like “dont you want an iphone??” she obviously has some friends with it so she knows them. but she always says like “nah… i dont like iphones, and my phone is way cooler!”
      so even it sucks… i bet they just want people to say what they want, even if they dont say the truth.

      i liked how someone defended salesmen who do that… “this phone sucks bla bla” i would get annoyed if i say “windows phone” and someone say “it sucks” haha. i really would ask why?. and i bet they wont know.

      good for you! congrats you got a windows phone hopefully you like it like i do ;)

    • Anonymous

      You can also wait for the 2nd wave of Windows Phone devices, which will launch together with Mango.

  • phil jay

    smartdj and zunepass is US only eh? .. u know integration with lastfm and its radio.. this would be awesome!

  • Sheeds

    Editorial: Zune Pass Music and WP in Australia – or “I want my Zune Pass too” | Sheeds’ Blog – See how the Zunce experience compares for a country with localisation issues as far as MS is concerned.

    C’mon MS – equalise your product offering in regions outside the US please.!!!

  • Anonymous

    and none were gapless playback, the one I care about most :(

  • Grannyville7989

    One improvement I would welcome for the music player is being able to quickly go from listening to a song to a podcast in a few taps. I find myself having to hit the Back button quite a few times to get to the root menu of music player before being able to go to my podcasts.

  • Mike Pietrorazio

    I thought I heard voice commands for music were also comming. It would be nice if scrubbing worked for music. In Win Mobile, I could use my car stereo with bluetooth connection to my phone and be able to use my steering wheel search button to scrub forward/back through a song. So far it doesn’t work with WP7.

  • Mike Pietrorazio

    I thought I heard voice commands for music were also comming. It would be nice if scrubbing worked for music. In Win Mobile, I could use my car stereo with bluetooth connection to my phone and be able to use my steering wheel search button to scrub forward/back through a song. So far it doesn’t work with WP7.

  • playlistForMusicVideos??

    was wondering if it supports playlists for music videos? tnx.

  • Zuneoir

    Um.. when is my wp7 ZUNE service going to be aware of my xbox ZUNE service and my pc ZUNE service.  As a ZUNE subscriber you’d think that you’d get this very basic connection.  But alas, you do not.