Microsoft has been pilloried/lampooned by many for botching their attempts at mobile at nearly every turn. They had been lapped by Apple and Google multiple times yet shown little direction. When they had great concepts like the Courier tablet, they got scrapped.
And when they finally introduced Windows Phone 7 they got kudos for the snappy Metro UI, Office & Xbox integration and smart market positioning. But when the OS was released last year it lacked many features that were in iOS and Android and the updates to fix them seemed far in the future.
Well the much awaited release is called Mango and it looks pretty sweet. Unfortunately it’s not coming any time soon — the Mango update won’t be ready to be picked until the fall.
There are more than 500 new features in Mango (unfortunately tethering is not one of them). Microsoft just released a new video (below) featuring Joe Belfiore, Corporate Vice President of the Windows Phone team highlighting some of the new features. On balance there’s some pretty impressive stuff here, particularly the performance of the IE9 web browser which leverages hardware acceleration to provide better rendering performance than a dual-core Android device, iPhone and Blackberry Torch.
One of the other things they’re trying to accomplish is to reduce the amount of typing that users need to do to get to the information they want (keeping with the “get in, get out and back to your life” positioning).
The best example of this approach is a hyper-local service powered by Bing called Local Scout – and is something that travel companies should pay attention to. Based on location from the phone, with the touch of one button you’re presented with suggestions of where to eat, stay and play in the area. The Local Scout demo begins at about the 2:28 mark.