On tethering, hidden SSID and Visual Voice Mail, where art thou in Mango?

For those who managed to get Mango on to your phones in the last 24 hours, congratulations. It seems like so far everyone is really liking the new OS--in fact, folks are ecstatic over it. Still, some features seem to be "missing" from various phones and we want to shed some light on why that is.

This information comes way of Microsoft themselves, who we met with prior to "Mango day" and gave us the details. Ars Technica has also published some of this info recently.

On tethering

Two things will determine if it is available--the chipset of the device and if the carrier wants it. The chipset in question is the Broadcom 4329 which is found in the newer Windows Phones. Specifically, drivers are need for it to work with that chipset. But ah! you say, what about that Samsung Focus we saw? A lot of our older hardware also has the Broadcom 4329 on board, but not the correct, tested drivers. Why?

Microsoft had to make a choice: delay Mango to test the drivers on older devices, or ship now and release a patch later to enable. They obviously went with the former. But even Vodafone is aware of this when they said recently on their blog "Regarding Wireless Hotspot, it isn’t integrated in the initial release of Mango however it may be deployed at a later date." That's exactly the situation--it's basically up in the air at this point for certain phones.

On visual voice mail

This is easy: it's carrier choice, dependent on their system i.e. is it compatible with Windows Phone. What we heard from Microsoft on this was AT&T: no visual voice mail, but yes on tethering; T-Mobile: yes on visual voice mail, but no on tethering. That is subject to change.

On hidden SSID

This too is dependent on some drivers/chipset combo. Microsoft was a little fuzzy on the details on why it is device specific, but that was their explanation at the time. (For instance, our Dell Venue Pro (unlocked, AT&T) does not have hidden SSID, but our Sprint HTC Arrive does.)

Now some of these things, like tethering and hidden SSID may come later in some revised updates for specific phones. Things like visual voice mail are more complicated and require restructuring on the carrier's backend. For what it's worth, we saw some of these features enabled on an AT&T Titan. Still, we hope this helps in explaining where these features are on your new Mango-ized Windows Phone.

Thanks, Marin S., for the link; Image credit: Pocketnow

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.