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3 years ago

Mango Games hub and Xbox Live improvements revealed

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Xbox Live integration has been a selling point of Windows Phone since day one. Gamers can earn Achievements; view their avatars, friends lists, and more from the convenience of their phones. But to do many of those things, you have to download the separate free Xbox Live Extras app and then launch it from the Games hub. It’s a needlessly complicate process.

Thankfully Mango will greatly streamline Xbox Live integration. Xbox Live Extras will join the dinosaurs and Milli Vanilli in extinction as its contents will now be built into the main Games hub. The Xbox Live page within the hub will display a user’s polygonal avatar and several other items: Xbox Live Gold membership status (lending credence to the rumor that online play will finally debut alongside Mango) and links to the user’s Profile, Achievements, and Avatar (for customization). This should make the profile and avatar editing options much easier to find than their previous location: stashed away in a pop-up menu at the bottom of the screen.

Live tiles are a great and wonderful thing. We all love them, and I’m pretty sure WPCentral’s Daniel Rubino has several tattooed on his arm. On the other hand, live tiles also take up a lot of space – only 6-8 will fit on-screen at once. People who own a lot of games on Windows Phone often have to scroll quite a bit to find the title they wish to play. Game organization and launching will become slightly easier in Mango thanks to a new list view within the Games hub. The list view displays each game’s name alongside icons that are about fifty percent smaller than before. It doesn’t really fit much additional information on-screen, but gamers will be able to locate titles by names instead of icons.

The Friends section will also receive a few minor tweaks. Friends’ profiles and bios will be separated onto two pages instead of being crammed onto one. Additionally, it will become possible to add new friends directly from the phone thanks to the addition of a New Friend button at the bottom of the Friends page. Now if Microsoft would just add the ability to send and receive Xbox Live voice messages from the phone too – only text messages are supported right now.

These changes will strengthen gaming and Xbox Live use on Windows Phone. Today’s conference didn’t address online play, but we’re still hoping for an announcement sometime around Mango’s actual launch. For Windows Phone gamers, that date can’t come soon enough.

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3 years ago

Combined mailbox, threaded email and enterprise security in Mango

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Email is fairly limited on the platform for the moment, featuring only the standard functions required to synchronize with multiple protocols, reply and forward messages and attach files. This is set to change with Mango with the introduction of threaded conversations and a combined mailbox.

Linking multiple accounts will enable users to separate addresses (such as work and personal) and pin a tile to your home screen for easy accessibility. Threaded viewing (and grouping) of your emails will provide a less cluttered interface, especially in work related mailboxes with multiple conversations taking place with numerous contacts. A huge improvement for enterprises will be the security improvements being made in the upcoming update with the support for more complex passwords.

We will also be seeing the WP7 team bringing threaded conversations to SMS.

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3 years ago

Find nearby locations with Local Scout

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Find nearby locations with Local Scout

Bing in Mango is to receive the addition of a location based service called Local Scout. This service, upon activation, will search and display local places to eat, drink, shop and explore. Users will be able to save certain individual results to their favorites.

What's even better about this feature is the integration (which is a focus with Mango) it has with Mail and Calendar. Should you receive an invitation via email or have one synchronized in your calendar, simply selecting that location will open up Local Scout which will show points of interest.

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3 years ago

Mango to include new Windows Phones

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While we didn't see any new phones during the Mango Preview Event, we did hear a little hardware news.

Mango won't be available until the Fall as a free upgrade but look for new phones from existing Microsoft Partners LG, HTC and Samsung. Also look for new phones from other Microsoft Partners such as Acer, Fujitsu, and ZTE. No specs were offered on these new phones beyond having 4g support.

Andy Lees, who led the charge during the Preview Event, made special mention of the Microsoft/Nokia partnership. Expect Nokia to not only bring new devices to market but also "scale and innovation to the ecosystem".

With 500 new features and the prospect of new phones, can Fall get here any quicker?

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3 years ago

Joe does Mango: Belfiore shows off Windows Phone update highlights

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Wouldn't be a Windows Phone update without Joe Belfiore checking in, right? He's following up on a (slightly controversial) demo he did at the MIX conference earlier this year -- the infamous speed reading demo that shoes the speed of IE9 on Windows Phone.

Plus, Joe walks us through the new features of Mango. Maybe not all 500 of them, but the ones you're going to worry about. Search, Bing Vision (optical recognition), threads, all the really cool stuff.

Source: Windows Team Blog

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3 years ago

Mango update will be free, coming sometime this fall

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This just in, folks. The Mango update will be free. Repeat: It won't cost you a dime. Coming this fall. No exact date -- when carriers are involved (and make no mistake, they will be) it's tough to nail these things down. But Microsoft's said they'll let us konw where there's more to know.

But the important parts: Free update. This fall. Mango. Free. Update. This fall.

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3 years ago

WP7 Marketplace hitting the web

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WP7 Marketplace hitting the web

We've always heard the constant cry for a web-accessible version of the Marketplace, especially those who use OS X (like myself) -- the Windows Phone 7 Connector is simply no Zune media center. Matt Bencke, in the same post where he announced the Mango SDK being available, spoke about plans to bring in a web version of the Marketplace.

"To better reach customers worldwide, I’m also pleased to announce today that Mango will offer a new web version of Windows Phone Marketplace. This will enable customers to shop, share and buy/download apps and games from any PC and send them directly to their phones. You get more visibility for your apps with no extra work. The Mango Marketplace will bring several new features and capabilities that Todd Brix will be expanding upon here a little later."

Great news all around. The ability to view and purchsse apps on your PC (or Mac -- hopefully) will surely improve the usage of the store and bring a new wave of users to WP7 developers.

Source: Windows Phone Developer Blog

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3 years ago

Mango does Voice to text and vice versa

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This will be a life saver -- literally -- for folks who use their handsets while on the go (driving etc.) and have Bluetooth headsets on. Mango will be taking speech recognition beyond simple app opening commands. Should you receive an SMS, the phone will announce via speech stating who the text is from and ask if you would like to hear it. You will then (should you choose to say so) be listening to the message your contact sent you.

Not only do we have text to voice, but we have voice to text. Should you say "reply" once the phone has completed reading you the message, you can then record your reply and it will preview what you've said. On confirmation the text will be sent to the recipient. All hands-free.

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3 years ago

Mango developer tools available today

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Can't have a major OS update without developer tools, right? And to that end, Microsoft has announced that the beta release of the Windows Phone Developer Tools that work with Mango will be available at some point today.

The big strokes, according to Microsoft:

  • Background processing
  • New profiler and emulator for testing
  • Use of Silverlight + XNA together
  • Silverlight 4
  • IE9 web browser control
  • Live Tile enhancements: use of back of tiles and ability to update Live Tiles locally
  • Deep linking into apps from notifications and Live Tiles
  • Additional sensors; direct camera access, compass & gyro
  • Fast application switching
  • Networking / sockets for communications
  • Local SQL database for structured storage
  • Access to calendar and contacts for apps

And that's just the tip of the iceburg. Along iwth the Mango release, the Marketplace is opening up to an addition 19 countires. They are: Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, India, Japan, Korea (South), Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Sweden and Taiwan.

A fine update, indeed. Get the full deets at the Windows Phone dev blog, linked below.

Source: Windows Phone Developer Blog. Download: Mango Developer Tools

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3 years ago

Mango brings messenger, threaded SMS, and Groups

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The first of the big announcements for the user end is Mango will be bringing messenger to Windows Phone 7, which will support groups and threaded chat. SMS conversations will also receive this threaded feature as well as the ability to group texts. Allows integrated communication to friends without running applications for specific tasks. Windows Live will see a more prominent presence.

Also on the groups note, Live Tiles for individual contacts will notify the user upon changes with alerts for new emails etc. from that specific contact.

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3 years ago

Microsoft's Mango promo video

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3 years ago

Mango SDK documentation live

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Mango SDK documentation live

Russell Clark has just announced on Twitter that the Mango SDK documentation is available on MSDN, listing a large number of new APIs. We'll be keeping an eye out for the Mango SDK release and will announce any information we receive. If you're not already, check out our live blog coverage, which also features the preview event stream.

Source: MSDN, via: @Russell_Clark

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3 years ago

Microsoft Romania outs Mango press release early

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Whoopsie. Looks like somebody forgot about time zones as Microsoft's Romanian site outded the Mango press release before the U.S. event this morning.

All and all, not too much there we didn't expect -- and there's zero mention of new hardware. Just more of the "500 new features" -- and you know the vast majority of them won't be consumer-facing. Good news for developers, though.

Settle in, folks, cause it's time for the liveblog. And the full Romania presser's available after the break.

Source: Microsoft Romania; via WMPU

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Mango Update Liveblog

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Windows Phone Mango Update Liveblog

We are live in New York City at the Mango Update event. We have a lot of features we've already seen or are expecting to be officially unveiled today - Multitasking, Twitter, Navigation, and more. With 500 features promised, though, there's sure to be some we haven't seen before. Catch us after the break for the full live blog - starting at 10 Eastern / 7 Pacific - and stay tuned for more updates later today!

Update: we've embedded the livestream after the break as well, so you can watch our pithy commentary and the event at the same time. As always, Dan's updates from the ground will tend to be just a little bit ahead of what's coming over the livestream.

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3 years ago

'Mango' devices to launch with Front-facing cameras, 3 new hardware partners to be announced [Rumor]

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Eck, there's just rumor upon rumor tonight. This one is from MS_Nerd again, who at least has a solid track record. In a few new tweets, he drops some bombshells:

  1. 3 "new" hardware partners for Windows Phone to be announced
  2. The full Mango wave will launch with ff-cams (front-facing cameras)
  3. Zune Pass will slowly be merged with Xbox Live Gold, adding more 3rd-party content to the subscription (like ESPN).

The first one seems like a nice middle ground between "we'll see new phones tomorrow" and the "we won't camp". Perhaps we'll just hear (or even see) some new devices but from new OEMs (Acer, Asus and ?). The second also seems plausible--heck Microsoft did just buy Skype, it makes sense they'd want to bullet-proof their upcoming phones once they figure out how to integrate "Microsoft Skype" into our OS.

Finally, the third fits in with all the Zune-being-re branded/changed rumors. We suppose it even makes sense to merge the two as they are very similar, no? As Xbox and Zune services grow tighter, it'd make sense to merge those ecosystems. Plus, you know, perhaps MS Points can finally buy music (on the go) or apps, eh?

Source: @MS_Nerd 1 and 2

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