The VAR Guy Preview: Windows Phone 7.5 Mango
Turn the wayback machine to January 2011, and you’ll remember I reviewed the Samsung Focus with Windows Phone 7. You’ll also recall I was less than impressed. Fast forward to today, and Microsoft has released Windows Phone 7.5 “Mango.” Microsoft’s platform, marketplace and mobility mindshare have all matured considerably, so I’ve decided to give it another go, since Microsoft has once again loaned me a Windows Phone. This time around will the Mango be ripe?
Here’s what I’ll be looking for in Windows Phone 7.5:
- New Features: From multitasking, copy and paste to social integration, Microsoft has added a slew of new features into WP7.5. I’ll be stacking up that level of integration and ubiquitous information with my iPhone running iOS 5 and my previous experience with WP7.
- New Apps: The Windows Marketplace was anemic when I reviewed WP7 in December 2010 to January 2011. Just a cursory glance at the app store shows nearly all my iPhone apps have found their way over to WP7, including gems such as Spotify. Can I be as productive on WP7 as I am on my iPhone, if not more?
- Bing: Microsoft has supercharged Bing on WP7.5, allowing it to do everything from optical character recognition to voice search and even barcode scanning. I’ll see how well Bing integrates into my life and how much easier it helps me “get in and get out.”
- Mobile Browsing: I’ll do a few side-by-side comparisons with my iPhone and try out some HTML5 sites with IE 9 on WP7.5, which now supports a multitude of embedded HTML5 goodies.
- Usability: How does WP7.5 feel compared to the original WP7? Are interfaces more snappy? More intuitive? What little tweaks has Microsoft implemented to improve the bits and bytes that typically remain unseen or unthought of?
Microsoft has sent me a Samsung Focus again, so I won’t be have access to shiny new features like those Nokia phones have, but if WP7.5 can impress on a phone that’s nearly a year old, that’ll be incredibly good news. I have high hopes, and to be honest, the Windows Phone interface is growing on me. Check back soon for the full review.