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6 Great Windows Phone Mango Features For Business


Microsoft’s big Mango update to Windows Phone brought the platform to version 7.5. It has over 500 new features, most aimed at the consumer, but some of these features will also help professionals.

1. Connecting to a hidden SSID: Some people use a hidden SSID under the illusion that it provides some level of security, even though it doesn’t. Windows Phone 7 originally wouldn’t connect to a hidden Wi-Fi access point at all. Now it will, but there is a caveat. The manufacturer or carrier also has to ensure the phone is running an updated Wi-Fi driver. If you have Mango and still cannot connect to a hidden SSID, contact your carrier. Mango has the capability and Microsoft has done all it can on this front.

2. Threaded email conversations: This is one of those love it or hate it features and some people love it. If you fall into that camp, then do nothing. Mango enables this by default. You can easily turn it off on a per-mailbox basis though.

3. Linked inboxes: If you have to manage multiple mailboxes, you can now see them all at once. Mango keeps the databases separate, but visually it looks like one big mailbox with all of your mail. A reply is sent from the mailbox it was sent to and all preferences are kept separate, so things like how long an email is retained and signatures are on a per-mailbox basis. You can link all, some, or none of your mailboxes, depending on your preferences.

4. Better live tiles: Live tiles in Windows Phone 7 were nice but didn’t always function properly, especially third-party tiles. The more you had enabled, the more likely you were to run into problems. Once you had 15, you were maxed out. Additional live tiles were static. Mango upped the limit to 30 live tiles and improved the performance of all of them. They work best when a third-party developer redoes its tile to support multitasking. So feel free to add as many inboxes, people, and weather tiles to your homescreen. Having multiple weather tiles, with apps like WeatherLive, makes traveling easier as you can see the weather conditions at all of your travel destinations at a glance.

5. Contact history: This has been greatly improved. Simply pull up a contact in the people hub, or tap on a person if they are pinned to your homescreen, and swipe to the history section. You will be able to see all of your recent interactions with them via phone, SMS, and email. Tapping on any of those will bring you to that item. You could reply to an email right there, for instance. An additional swipe to the What’s New section will show you their social interactions on Twitter and Facebook, including things like @replies to you.

6. Task switching: If you are like most professionals, you are doing multiple things at once. Twitter, email, checking out an Excel document, looking for directions, etc. Now you can seamlessly move through these by pressing and holding the back button. A task window showing thumbnails of recent apps pops up that will allow you to go directly to any of them. This works with all apps, but the experience is faster and more likely to return you to exactly where you were if it has been rewritten to support this feature. If you have ever used or seen the app-switching cards in WebOS, then you know exactly what this looks like.

This barely scratches the surface, but it gives you a hint of some of the improvements in Mango that makes the life of a professional, especially one that travels, a bit easier.

Source: http://www.informationweek.com/blog/mobility/231901839

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Posted by on November 1, 2011 in Mango, Windows Phone 7

 

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AT&T’s Windows Phone 7 lineup: HTC Titan, Samsung Focus S & Focus Flash (first look)


Summary: Will these Windows Phone 7 “Mango” phones from AT&T make it to a stocking near you this holiday?

Microsoft’s Phone President Andy Lees showed off  three AT&T-branded Windows Phone 7 (Mango) phones at the All Things Digital Asia conference in Hong Kong this morning.

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While you may be able to recite the features of Mango by heart, you probably couldn’t tell these WP7 handsets apart, especially when they’re all displaying the same ‘Metro’ home screen (see right). Well, consider this as your cheat sheet to AT&T’s upcoming WP7 offerings: the HTC Titan (left), Samsung Focus S (center) and Samsung Focus Flash (right).

HTC Titan

True to its name, the HTC Titan from AT&T has the biggest display of the bunch at 4.7 inches, which beats yesterday’s largest phone, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, by 0.05-inch. According to the Window Phone Blog, it has a 9.9-mm profile, a 1.5 GHz processor under the hood, an 8-megapixel rear camera with dual LED flash (plus a front cam), and offers a brushed aluminum back with the curves (and build) that HTC phones are known for.

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Samsung Focus S

The Samsung Focus S may be the middle child in AT&T’s WP7 portfolio but there is nothing middling about the phone. It serves up Samsung’s specialty: a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus display, powered by a 1.4 GHz CPU that is capable of 4G speeds, along with a 8-megapixel rear and 1.3-megapixel front camera, in a svelte 8.55-millimeters package. What’s not to like about these specs?

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Samsung Focus Flash

It’s easier to differentiate the Samsung Focus S from the Focus Flash as the latter has a more modest 3.7-inch Super AMOLED screen, sharper lines and a slightly slower 1.4 GHz processor under the display. It’ll likely be the most budget-friendly WP7 from AT&T so bargain hunters should keep their eye out on the Focus Flash rather than its flashier brothers.

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AT&T has yet to announce a ship date or pricing for these phones so no need to lineup at your local store for now. There’s still plenty of time until the holiday.

Source: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/gadgetreviews/at-ts-windows-phone-7-lineup-htc-titan-samsung-focus-s-focus-flash-first-look/27934

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2011 in HTC, Mango, Samsung, Windows Phone 7, WP7

 

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Nokia Readies Ads for Nokia 800 Windows Phone 7.5 “Mango” Handset


Nokia Corp. is getting ready to launch its first smartphones based on Windows Phone 7.5 “Mango” operating system. It is most likely that the company will show the handset at its Nokia World  event in late October and will start selling it towards the end of the year. The company has already started to prepare ads for its Nokia 800.

Keeping in mind that the first WP 7.5 “Mango” is generally a rush project at Nokia, which only made decision to adopt Windows Phone as its primary operating system for smartphones earlier this year, the information that is circulating about it is not completely clear in many ways, but it is widely believed that it shares a lot of technologies with the Meego-based N9 flagship, but fully complies with system and minimum equipment list of Windows Phone operating system.

What we do possibly know about the first Nokia Windows Phone 7.5 “Mango”-based smartphone from Nokia – the Nokia 800 – is that it sports a curved 3.7″ AMOLED multi-touch display with unknown resolution and does not sport any hardware buttons on the front side. The handset is presumably powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon QSD8250 (up to 1GHz Scorpion ARM Cortex-A8 core, Adreno 200 graphics processing unit, 720p video, up to 12MP camera, integrated 3G, GSM, GPRS, EDGE, HSPA support and so on) system on-chip, sports 8MP camera, GPS navigation and other innovations.

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Pocketnow.com web-site has managed to obtain the first Nokia 800 ads* that depict the smartphone itself and show off the Windows Phone 7-style pattern that looks more like a disco-style one. The two ads obtained by the media resource emphasize broad set of capabilities amid high responsiveness of the handset. It is unknown, though, whether the banners are the legitimate and final since the handsets on both have differences.

Based on unofficial information, Nokia is preparing several smartphones, including code-named Sun (presumably with with 12MP camera and dual-core SoC), Saber (single-core SoC, 8MP camera), Sea Ray/Searay (with multi-touch screen) and something featuring a QWERTY keypad smartphones based on Windows Phone 7.5 “Mango” operating system for the “initial” lineup release.

In total, there are twelve Nokia Windows Phone 7 devices planned to be released in 2012. All of them are likely to somewhat resemble Symbian-based products, but should naturally offer clear advantages over the platform that is fading away.

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The actual code-name of the Nokia 800 is unknown. Based on unofficial specifications and design, it is clearly not the Sea Ray handset shown back in June, 2011, but is likely the Saber.

Nokia World 2011 event takes place in London, the UK, in October 26-27, 2011.

Nokia and Microsoft did not comment on the news-story.

Source: http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/mobile/display/20111011171839_Nokia_Readies_Ads_for_Nokia_800_Windows_Phone_7_5_Mango_Handset.html

 
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Posted by on October 13, 2011 in Mango, Nokia, Windows Phone 7

 

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Navigon for Windows Phone 7 provides turn-by-turn voice navigation


Summary: A weakness in the current version of Mango is the lack of a solid GPS navigation solution, but we now have Navigon coming to the rescue.

In early September I posted on the news that Navigon was bringing their app to Windows Phone 7 and then last night I saw that the folks at WPCentral.com spotted Navigon in the U.S. and European Marketplaces. This is pretty good news for Windows Phone owners since the Bing Maps implementation is lacking quite a bit, especially with the need to tap to hear directions for the next turn.

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We should eventually see Nokia Windows Phone devices with Nokia Maps, but for now you may want to consider Navigon for Windows Phone. Navigon is available for Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) devices and for the special introductory $29.99 price in the U.S. you get all the states that will consume 1.6GB (lets you use this for offline navigation) and there does not appear to be a way to just pick and choose what states you want to install. Thankfully, I have two 32GB Windows Phone devices so have plenty of room to try out Navigon.

Navigon for Windows Phone 7 includes:

* Spoken turn-by-turn directions
* Visual lane guidance
* Live traffic information and rerouting
* Speed Assistant
* Pedestrian navigation options
* Live Tiles support

You will also find the augmented reality function Reality Scanner, which provides an instant and effortless way of identifying nearby destinations while on foot; an option to select address information directly from the phone’s contact list; and the ability to save a favorite or home address as a shortcut on the start screen.

I have tried Navigon’s application on other platforms and find features like the lane assist to be extremely useful when traveling in new cities. The full retail price will be $49.99, but is available until 15 November for just $29.99. There is a European purchase option as well.

Source: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/cell-phones/navigon-for-windows-phone-7-provides-turn-by-turn-voice-navigation/6682

 
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Posted by on October 13, 2011 in Mango, Windows Phone 7 Developer

 

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Microsoft Preps Big Win Phone 7 Push Heading into Holidays


Brace yourself for the upcoming Windows Phone 7 onslaught. In the coming months Microsoft will make a big holiday push that will extend into early 2012 in an attempt to win over converts to its new mobile operating system. Andrew Lees, president of Microsoft’s Windows Phone Division, has been busy recently spreading the gospel of Phone 7 and dishing on Microsoft’s mobile plans, according to a number of reports.

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In several recent interviews the Phone 7 chief has addressed several shortcomings the company’s mobile platform has been criticized for including a lack of dual-core handsets and LTE connectivity – two features Android handset makers jumped on many months ago. Apple’s new iPhone 4S also has a dual-core processor.

Lees’ publicity push for Phone 7 follows Microsoft’s recent roll out of Windows Phone 7.5 Mango in late September. The software update featured over 500 new features such as multitasking, an improved Web browser and a Wi-Fi hotspot mode. Critics largely welcomed the upgrade since it gives Microsoft’s mobile platform some degree of parity with its main competitors Apple’s iOS-powered iPhone and Google’s Android mobile OS.

Phone 7 Home For The Holidays

More Windows Phone 7 devices are apparently coming out in time for the holiday season including budget-priced $100 handsets, and higher-priced devices featuring big screens and dual-LED flash, according to the Seattle Times. Lees didn’t say which companies were launching the new devices or when these announcements would start. PCWorld will have the latest news from this week’s CTIA Enterprise & Applications event in San Diego.

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At least one Mango deice is expected to be from Nokia, which is expected to release its first Phone 7 device before the end of the year. Nokia announced in February that it would concentrate on producing Microsoft phones.

LTE and Dual Core

Lees also said the first LTE Phone 7 device will become available in 2012, but didn’t provide other specifics. The Phone 7 chief told AllThingsD that handsets sporting dual-core chips are also coming. But it’s not clear when a dual-core Phone 7 device might show up. Lees told AllThingsD that Microsoft wants to make sure Phone 7 software is optimized to take advantage of multiple processor cores before working with manufacturers on producing dual-core devices.

While that sounds sensible, Microsoft would be better off figuring out dual-core optimization sooner rather than later or it might find Phone 7 is left behind once again. Apple recently announced its first dual-core phone, the iPhone 4S, and handsets powered by Nvidia’s Kal-El quad-core chip for mobile devices are expected in the coming months.

Source: http://www.pcworld.com/article/241573/microsoft_preps_big_win_phone_7_push_heading_into_holidays.html

 
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Posted by on October 13, 2011 in Android, Apple, Google, iPhone, Mango

 

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Jil Sander Unveils Designer Windows Phone Mango Smartphone


Fashion designer Jil Sander has dished out a Windows Phone 7 smartphone, becoming yet another fashion house to offer mobile phones as fashion accessories.

According to The Telegraph, the device, which has been made by mobile phone maker LG, comes with the latest Windows Phone 7 Mango offering.

The device is sleek and elegant and is available for €300, a lot more affordable than the devices released by other fashion houses like Vertu, Dolce and Gabana and watch maker Tag Heuer.

The mobile “is a proposition of unique design, fusing the brand aesthetic values of modernity, purity and understated luxury with the latest technological innovations”, the designer claims.

The Jil Sander Mobile measures 4.8 by 2.4 inches and is quite slim with 0.4 inch thickness. The device comes with a 3.8 inch touchscreen and runs on a 1 GHz Qualcomm processor. The smartphone comes with 16GB of storage and a 5MP camera capable of shooting high definition video.

This is also probably the first fashion inspired device that comes packed with functionality that is expected in a regular smartphone. It comes with support for DLNA media streaming technology, Bluetooth, USB 2.0 and Wi-Fi support.

Source: http://www.itproportal.com/2011/10/10/jil-sander-unveils-designer-windows-phone-mango-smartphone/

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2011 in Mango, Smartphone, Windows Phone

 

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Hands-on: Windows Phone 7 Mango edition adds features, polish


Computerworld – The recent iOS 5 announcement highlighted several interesting additions to Apple’s app-focused operating system, such as the new Siri voice command interface, which will be available only on the iPhone 4S. In contrast, Microsoft’s new Mango version of Windows Phone 7 (which is actually version 7.5) helps fulfill that platform’s promise of helping people focus on the tasks they want to accomplish and the information they want to receive, rather than the apps they run — especially when it comes to social networking and communications.

I had a chance to try Mango out using a Samsung Focus. My conclusion? Windows Phone 7 now feels like a complete, polished operating system rather than a work in progress.

Changes to social networking and contacts

Microsoft has clearly targeted social networking and contacts with Mango. For a start, it fixes the most glaring issue with earlier versions of Windows Phone — incomplete support of social networking and difficulty with multitasking — and now supports Twitter and LinkedIn.
Mango
Mango targets social networking.
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Social networking is now woven through the entire Windows Phone experience. You don’t need to consciously launch a Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn app in order to gain the benefits of social networking, because their capabilities are integrated directly into the way you use the phone.

For example, a new profile pane for each contact shows a combined history of your communications with that contact, whether it be via email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or text messaging. A new pictures pane shows the photos that each contact has posted to Facebook and Windows Live. In addition, the new Me tile aggregates updates and content from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Windows Live, so you can see at a glance all the recent updates from your contacts on multiple social networking services. You can also use the Me pane to send updates to multiple social networking sites with a single post.

Another welcome change: Mango finally adds threaded messaging for email and text messaging, so you can easily follow all messages in a single conversation. And Mango introduces something even better: You can hold a single conversation with someone across multiple communications services. For example, if you start a conversation with someone on Facebook chat, you can continue that same conversation via text messaging.

Also new is the ability to filter which updates from which social networks you want displayed. If you’re suffering from Twitter fatigue, for example, you can tell Windows Phone to stop displaying Twitter updates. When you’re ready again for the unending Twitter stream, enable it.

And you can now place your contacts into groups — family, colleagues, people on your softball team and so on — using a feature appropriately named Groups. You can send out a single message to the entire group in several ways. You’ll also be able to see the combined social networking updates (and the newest phones) of everyone in the group at a glance. One feature I found especially useful: You can pin a group to your Start screen, and the group’s tile will tell you when anyone in the group posts to a social network or sends you a message. The tile also alerts you when you’ve missed a call.

Facebook integration has been strengthened, so events from Facebook are now included in your phone’s calendar. However, you can’t make changes to the Facebook events from the calendar — you’ll have to head to Facebook for that.
Mango

Microsoft also claims that Live Tiles update more frequently than in the past. As a practical matter, I didn’t notice a difference, but those addicted to the need for instant updates may see one.

Each of these changes to social networking is useful, but what really counts is the cumulative effect. Use Mango for a while, and you’ll find yourself more easily focusing on the content of your communications with others, and less on the mechanics of communications.

Bing takes center stage

The second most important set of Mango additions centers on Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, which has gained a bunch of new features.

To begin with, the new Local Scout feature integrates into Bing Maps and shows a variety of local information, including places to eat, drink and shop, as well as local attractions and events. It grabs that information from a variety of partners such as Yelp.

Overall, Local Scout is a nifty addition, but it’s only as good as the partner information, which is not always stellar. Restaurant information wasn’t comprehensive; in my neighborhood, for example, it left out several of the best restaurants and most interesting stores. As for local things to see and do, it included events well over an hour’s drive away, which may not fit everyone’s idea of local. And I found the recommendations in its “highlights” section, which are supposed to list the most interesting places and things to do, downright strange at times — for example, it listed a nearby burrito joint as one of the top three attractions in my vicinity. Note to Local Scout: My neighborhood is a whole lot more interesting than that.

Bing also adds a feature called Bing Vision, which is like a combination of the Google Goggles and Barcode Scanner Android apps. It scans bar codes, QR codes, Microsoft tags and the covers of CDs, DVDs and books; it then provides information about the object it scanned. I found the results to be hit-and-miss. It was able to identify the wireless Sonos 3 music system from a bar code, for example, but got the pricing wrong. It did, however, properly identify a CD of the opera Tristan und Isolde by Richard Wagner.

Bing Vision also says it will translate foreign words and signs into English. Based on my experience with it, though, it needs to re-take Languages 101. For example, when presented with the simple French phrase, Decrivez un acteur, it defined it as “Define an actor” rather than “Describe an actor.” Worse yet, when confronted by the simple sentence, Votre francais est excellent, it translated it as “Your English is excellent.”

A new music identification feature works like the Shazam music recognition app: It listens to and then identifies the song being played. I found it surprisingly accurate. As with similar apps, it had no trouble identifying popular music — and while I’ve found that Shazam often chokes on classical music, the Bing feature was no slouch, correctly identifying Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 1 after only a few seconds of listening.

The music ID feature also shows how Bing may eventually become less a standalone search engine than a kind of virtual glue connecting disparate parts of Windows Phone. For example, you can identify a song, have Bing search for the guitar tablature and lyrics, and then send the links to a music group you’ve set up.

Multitasking and apps

With Mango, Windows Phone joins the other major phone platforms in allowing a form of multitasking. You can now easily switch between running apps by pressing and holding the Back button. If all the open apps don’t fit on one screen, you can swipe to see others.

Apps have been better integrated into the operating system. Do a Bing search, for example, and you’ll see any related Windows Phone apps you might want to download. Tap the Music + Videos tile and swipe to the right, and you’ll see any related apps you’ve installed on your device, such as a built-in radio player app.

Speaking of apps: Microsoft Marketplace now has a substantial number — about 30,000. That’s certainly nowhere near the estimated 500,000 for iOS or 250,000 for Android. But you’ll find most of the popular apps you might expect, and you now have a solid choice of many others as well.

Interface tweaks

Mango introduces a number of welcome tweaks to the interface, notably on the Start screen. It’s much easier to customize it — you now have the ability to pin an item to the Start screen and move and delete tiles. You can also pin Groups and individual contacts, making it easier to follow friends. The Lock screen has received a modest makeover so that, if you’re listening to audio, you don’t need to unlock the phone in order to control your music player.

The on-screen keyboard is now context-sensitive, so it changes according to your task. When you’re text messaging, for example, you can choose from ASCII emoticons, and when you’re inputting an email address, you’ll find .com and @ keys.

Wi-Fi tethering

Mango gives Windows Phone the ability to share its 3G or 4G Internet connection with up to five other devices by setting up a Wi-Fi hot spot, something that Android devices and the iPhone already offer. But if you’ve got a Windows Phone device, don’t start celebrating yet because this feature won’t work on existing devices; only new ones will have this capability. (My review unit didn’t support tethering, so I was unable to test this feature.)

As with Android and the iPhone, you’ll have to pay extra for the tethering capability. Prices may vary depending on your carrier, although $20 per month is often the going rate. And tethering will not be available on every new Windows Phone device with Mango; availability will depend upon the specific device and carrier, so check before buying if this is important to you.
Other additions

Beyond all this, Mango has plenty of other features. The browser is now based on Internet Explorer 9 rather than 8, and its interface has been tweaked somewhat, so that the address bar is at the bottom of the screen. It includes support for a variety of Web standards, including HTML5, has a faster JavaScript engine and uses hardware acceleration for displaying graphics.

Windows Phone has always included voice commands, but you can now compose text messages and instant messages using your voice; Mango also will read text to you. But there’s nothing in Windows Phone that comes close to the new Siri feature in iOS 5, which performs complex, multistep tasks by voice alone.

A new SmartDJ feature automatically creates playlists from your music collection, and there’s better Xbox Live integration so that you can do things such as track how you’ve done in various games. There are now parental controls as well.
The bottom line

All in all, Mango is a significant upgrade to Windows Phone, and it brings out even more of the platform’s strengths, notably the way in which information is brought to you, rather than you having to go out and search for it. With Bing’s new features, and other improved functionality such as multitasking, Windows Phone is now a polished operating system.

Those with existing Windows Phone devices will welcome the upgrade. As for those buying a new phone, if you’re looking for a smartphone with a task-based approach rather than an app-based one, you’ll find Windows Phone 7.5 Mango to be a solid OS.

Preston Gralla is a contributing editor for Computerworld.com and the author of more than 35 books, including How the Internet Works (Que, 2006).

Source: http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9220605/Hands_on_Windows_Phone_7_Mango_edition_adds_features_polish_?taxonomyId=89

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2011 in Mango, Microsoft, Windows Phone 7

 

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