Microsoft unveiled a number of new features and functionality on Monday for Windows Phone 7 that it will provide by the end of 2011.
The software giant revealed improved multitasking functionality, Twitter for People Hub support, Internet Explorer 9 mobile and document sharing and storage in the cloud via Windows Live SkyDrive. Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore took to the stage on Monday at Mobile World Congress to detail and demonstrate some of the new functionality that Windows Phone 7 will receive in the second half of 2011.
Microsoft was suspiciously vague with its wording for the second half update and rightly so. The second half update isn’t just an update, but a full-on release. “Steve mentioned earlier and announced that we will have support for Internet Explorer 9 on Windows Phone in our update release later this year”, said Belfiore.
Microsoft is planning to mark Windows Phone 7′s first birthday with a platform release to upgrade functionality and rebrand the platform. WinRumors spoke to Achim Berg, Corporate Vice President of Windows Phone Marketing, on Monday and he confirmed that the forthcoming changes are part of a platform release. Berg would not confirm the final branding for the release but did suggest that the changes are big enough to warrant a new release and point increment. Although Microsoft is still working on the release, codenamed “Mango”, the software giant is expected to brand it as Windows Phone 7.5 as an interim before the platform is aligned neatly into Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.
However, if you mention the word “Mango” to a Microsoft Windows Phone employee then you’ll get a jovial reply of “well it’s a nice fruit” or something similar. Details of “Mango” leaked to the web in mid-December shortly after WinRumors revealed Microsoft was planning to detail the update at Mobile World Congress. Microsoft’s unveiling on Monday ties up some of the unknowns with “Mango” but only scrapes the surface of what the release will contain. Berg confirmed that the company is currently working on when and how they will unveil more information about “Mango”. Microsoft will unveil further information about the Internet Explorer 9 mobile component at MIX11 in April but Berg says the company will also offer more tid bits after that. Berg hinted that this could be around the May timeframe and that Microsoft didn’t want to unveil too much too soon in case “competitors copied us”.
Whatever Microsoft’s plans for “Mango” might be, it’s clear the company is preparing to unveil them slowly over the coming months. MIX11 will be a great place to learn more about Internet Explorer 9 mobile and Microsoft’s multitasking plans but some other key components of “Mango” will clearly be unveiled after MIX11. WinRumors understands Microsoft is currently planning some big Windows Live related changes for Windows Phone including branding some of its existing services into the Windows Live area. Expect to hear more about these very soon.