The big Windows Phone 7.5 consumer-features list (so far)

First we saw the big MIX11 stuff for developers, promising new tools, experiences, options and APIs for them. Now it's our turn, the consumers. This is more a refresh/warm up to tomorrow's big 'VIP Preview' of Windows Phone 7.5 (we'll be there). There we're expecting to see all below confirmed (and demoed) as well as even more features that we haven't learned about yet.

The list is long and growing and though Microsoft has been criticized for its updates in the past, this looks to be much more than what Apple or Google include in there single big updates. In fact, Ballmer said there would be more than 500 new features in Mango, which undoubtedly contains all the APIs too. So take a gander and hunker down as the next six-months will be a long wait for this Mango goodness.

Anyways, hit the break for the big list.

  • Multitasking
  • Twitter integration in the People Hub
  • Internet Explorer 9 + HTML5 + Hardware graphics rendering
  • Custom Ringtones (via manager)
  • Bing Audio: Think Shazam, but built into Bing and we bet of course Zune Marketplace. Country support is initially limited to the U.S., Great Britain, France, Italy, Spain and Germany.
  • Bing Vision: A full blown image scanner using your camera. It can detect, identify and search using barcodes, Microsoft Tags, QR Codes, CD’s, DVDs, Books, and text using OCR (see here for history)
  • Turn-by-turn navigation: “voice guidance during driving directions” (we heard about this awhile ago)
  • SMS Dictation: Using Microsoft's TellMe service, you can use voice-to-text for SMS messages by tapping a microphone near the bottom 
  • East Asian Language Keyboard, Handwriting and Dictionary Support--[we saw this mentioned a few days ago] 
  • Improved SkyDrive sync in Office hub - adding Word, Excel, and PowerPoint sync support. Each document type will now be indicated by the color of the tile: 
  • Bing Image Search, Bing Vision, and Bing Audio – besides Bing Vision and Bing Audio as revealed earlier this morning, it seems like Bing will now feature Image Search as well. 
  • Windows Live Messenger integrated in People hub – as we have predicted earlier, the Chinese developer confirms that Windows Live Messenger will be integrated in the People hub. You will be able to directly IM someone on your contact list.
  • Pinnable email folders: Pin a folder to the start screen for quick access. This could be an email folder for a specific project, from a specific group or person (like your boss), or an RSS feed you’ve set up in Outlook.
  • Conversation view in email: Emails in your inbox are organized by conversation, bringing replies to a thread into a consolidated view so it’s faster and easier to stay on top of the conversation.
  • Server search: Search your email server (e.g. Exchange Server) for older emails no longer stored on your phone, giving you ready access to all of your mail.
  • Lync: Lync Mobile brings the Lync experience to Windows Phone customers by delivering Unified Communications capabilities, including instant messaging and the ability to see the presence of your co-workers. The Lync app will be a free download from Windows Phone Marketplace and will be enabled with support from your business organization.
  • Complex (alpha-numeric) password support
  • Information Rights Management
  • Support for access to hidden corporate Wi-Fi networks
  • Windows Live Messenger, Facebook chat and AOL Instant Messenger all integrated under Messaging--and remember, we heard this is rumored to be a dual data/SMS system, making it really reliable even when your connection is not. Your presence as well as your friends are displayed in the People Hub dynamically.
  • Office 365 and Skydrive built into Office hub--'nuff said
  • Group Messaging: currently there are some nice 3rd party apps that do this, but the ability to have pre-defined groups to message to will be now native, allowing to create quick groups for Family, Work, Friends, etc. This will work for Email and SMS.
  • Artist art on Lockscreen: This is very cool, especially those with Zune HD players. What this does is pull down the Zune/Artist artwork of your current selection and plays it in a marquee/banner fashion on the screen. It currently does this on your Zune desktop/Xbox (play some music and wiat a few mins, you'll see). Evidently, in WP7.5, you can do this on your phone, making the Zune HD/Windows Phone distinction even less. This was always an awesome thing on the Zune HD, so we're glad it's being brought over.
  • Games Hub gets a facelift, including 'sync' option (potentially for online-game play). We first reported this back at MIX11, so now it's confirmed.
  • Native Checkins are coming e.g. Facebook Places. More info here.
  • Visual Voicemail will use Open Mobile Terminal Platform (OMTP)
  • Battery saving features/options (under Settings)
  • WiFi Hotspot support, uses Network Communication and Information Systems (NCIS) technology
Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

  • What about custom ringtones??????
  • Fourth one on the list, genius.
  • That was the fourth item in the list.
  • it was not there when this was first posted. Several people I know looked at the list and asked the same question. Thanks for playing though
  • Cant wait to see what's in store tomorrow
  • Any clue what the (via manager) part is about? I must have missed a news article somewhere
  • From what I recall, no native support (like through Zune) for ringtones, but the API will be made available for third party apps to access the My Documents/Ringtones folder, which already exists on all our phones. All you need to do is drop a WMA or MP3 file in that folder and you can use the be. With my dev unlocked device I have a dozen in there now.
  • Ah ok...I dont have any music on my phone, but I will once I get the custom ringtone support, hope its not too much work
  • I also think it will allow you to select sections of a song to use as a ringtone.
  • I hope there will also come a list with just "improvements". For example, the marketplace is still in the wrong language. An option to dissable "turn-off" while locked. Editing contact pictures...Off course I'm looking forward to the new stuff also, I'm just hoping they also give some info about improvements on the things already in place.
  • I'll say it: Mango is adding more features than I ever thought possible in a .5 version
  • If the charger is plugged in, PLEASE provide an option to prohibit the screen from locking out when utilizing an exchange account. When in a car listening to music, it is so irritating having to unlock your screen just to select different music. Android phones now have this option and it is a must if you want to listen to music in the car.
  • Or have some sort of a time limit to screen lock. For example, screen lock after 10 mins of inactivity
  • Hi,I'm not sure if I'm correct, but I have seen somewhere that if u are running the music player and the screen is locked then u need to hit the volume button and the screen-top will show music player [while the screen is locked]Sorry if this isn't true but I had a hunch..By the way this option exists in Mango update, point no. 5 on this page>
  • I would much prefer to get smaller updates over the time period we have to wait for Mango. I mean, they are going to update SO much at once it is guaranteed there are going to be all sorta of bugs and trouble, and much harder to fix 500 things then 20 things.
  • I kind of agree. Microsoft's first .5 update comes 1 full year after initial release, which is how long Apple takes for full releases and Google just gets them out as fast as possible. It would be nice to have several features trickle down throughout the eyar instead of all coming at once in a massive waterfall.
  • Or... it could be that because they had all of these services designed to work together, they will work better and be optimized from the start as opposed to getting individual separate pieces to work together. I'm not arguing with you about seeing more updates, but I would rather see one massive update and several smaller updates a year. I see the smaller updates as patches, tweaks, and fixes for particularly nagging issues, not additional core features. I think MS views it the same way.
  • The carrier testing/approval process wont allow for this. I agree that giving updates more often feels nicer, but it just can't happen under current conditions. What M$ should do is to allow users to opt-in to "beta" updates and let us install them one at a time, warranty be damned.
  • The Palm Pre had multiple updates that added new features so I don't see how it would be a big deal for windows to use up bits of bandwidth every now and then compared to the massive load that mango seems is going to drop on us.
  • With the pre there were several times where users on some carriers had to wait quite a while for the updates.
  • This is what pisses me off about this.... "the carrier testing and aproval process". When apple relises a firmware it goes live to everyone at once. Why cant microsoft do the same. Relise the firmware ant thats final. I have a samsung focus, and I got the nodo update the same day it became live for AT&T users, but that was a few months after microsoft actually reliesed it to the carriers.... I have a damn felling that if microsoft relieses Mango by september, we wont see it by november...
  • Is MS going to stream the events live or what? Any links out there?
  • see the Windows Phone Blog
  • Didn't someone mention possible over-the-air podcasts updates? I really need/want that one
  • If they don't do live blogging of the event hear, you can bet Engadget will.
  • here* is there no edit feature for comments on this site? Or am I just missing it.
  • Ah, yes, there will be Podcasts in the marketplace.
  • i hope this update is available in a much better way than nodo (which i still havent got on t mobile uk!!)
  • In all fairness to Microsoft, nodo was a huge update. And when I state huge, I mean larger than the update to replace a couple of SSL certificates. They can't even get that out in a timely manner.
  • I think its really bad how they deliver the updates on WP7
  • Do you know if the light indicator will show for messages? Example... if I get a text message will the light blink (forgot what its called) to let me know I got a text, email, etc?
  • I want this too. Currently, I believe it only works for phone messages, not email, SMS, etc. I would like an option to have LED indicators for various types of message, and maybe even specify the LED color.
  • WiFi Hotspot support, uses Network Communication and Information Systems (NCIS) technology Yea ! accept the carrer will disable or charge you $30 a month extra to use it...I hope there is no extra cost for this, just like we can do with our home interent connections (wi=fi routers anyone ?)
  • Gasp! No support for Yahoo Messenger?!? My ONE friend on there would appreciate it.
  • Yahoo messenger.... that's so 1998... LMAO
  • How about a 3G toggle? That would be super sweet. Some type of gmail chat intergration, or some type of app. I know they about to go head to head since acquiring Skype, but a lot of people use gtalk. Also the ability to have the screen to stay on and not time out.
  • Office 365 and SkyDrive in the office hub is not "Nuff said". Office 365 is web based and SkyDrive sync was mentioned earlier in the list. Soooo what exactly is this feature for the phone.
  • Folders to organize apps.Flash support (ugh).Support for hidden networks (easy).Ability to shoot a video (can do now) and then do something with it (can't).Separately, fix Outlook Connector so that it works as well as Gmail Calendar sync (with the added benefit of Contacts sync). This has nothing to do with WP7.5, but it would DRAMATICALLY improve the interoperability of my phone and my (non-enterprise) Outlook.
  • Or -- even better ... set up CONTACTS so that I can sync directly w/Outlook contacts when I am connected by USB. Then the Phone can sync with Hotmail ...I cannot get Outlook Connector to do Contacts (Calendar is ok, but Contacts fails).
  • "Ability to shoot a video (can do now) and then do something with it (can't)." like upload to facebook or send thru MMS would be good!!
  • I wonder if you they finally save the camera settings on exit now.
  • Yeah, they're not going to change that.. It was said at one point that the settings resetting every time you go to your camera is a "feature." It bugs the shh..not out of me too.
  • well, remove that "feature", because your not the only one that gets the shh... bugged. I cant stand having to toggle 720p everytime I want to take a video.... or even worse... remember half way thru my recording...
  • Will my dead Live Tiles get fixed?And want option to leave WIFI on even when phone times out.27 things listed here-can't wait for the other 463! (are you sure Ballmer didn't mean 50?)