Another nice touch for Microsoft is a new release of a promo video for Windows Phone Mango Update:
Its been roughly three hours since the Live Press Event went on. I’ve taken some time to round up the facts and ponder what today’s reveals mean for Windows Phone in the 2nd half of 2011 and bridging the gap to 2012 which Microsoft is hoping be remembered as The Year Of The Softies. But I digress..
Speech to Text/Text to Speech (hands-free messaging) was showcased with a slick demo of a text being received while playing music. The text is read audibly to you and you are prompted to respond with voice commands. Totally seamless and the system does a great job of presenting the options at each stage which makes the implementation of the feature easy as pie to use for even the village idiot.
Conversation Threads-You can change your method of communication by the push of an included “switch” button while in the conversation thread. Simple as it can be. The integration is spectacular in its implementation. The OS is smart enough to check the status of your contact and prompt you to seek a better way to communicate with the contact. Helps ensure timely messages gets delivered and read in a timely manner. Nice touch!
Group Messaging- Groups of contacts are converted into Live Custom Tiles to see the most recent status and quickly send a message, an email or an instant message to the entire group, directly from the Start screen. What Microsoft debuted today is the additional ability to view the individual contact live tiles inside the Group Tile. You can also view the pictures of the entire group in a miniature version of the pictures hub or look at individual contact’s pictures. It also shows your latest communication and statuses (missed calls, new texts, new IMs, etc) for each individual contact. Integration again that is spot on.
Better integration with social networks-Twitter and LinkedIn are integrated into the contact cards, and Mango includes Facebook and supports check-ins; We also have available a new facial detection software that makes easy tagging your photos or posting them on the internet. I may have been spending too much time with my Windows Phone so maybe someone can help me by letting me know if any other platform has this feature. Did I mention that Facebook events are now included in the calendar? Well there you go.
Linked Inbox (Not Unified Inbox!)-Multiple email accounts in one Inbox; conversations are organized so that you can view the most recent mail. The major difference (and IMO best difference) is that with a Unified Inbox all your accounts are together in a sea of messages. The Linked Inbox brings a unified, orderly experience. I can have my work email in one Linked Inbox and my personal emails in another while also maintaining a separate email just for contacts with my wife & family.
Bing Vision (Google Goggles like)-despite claims that this is just a Google Goggle ripoff Microsoft has outdone themeselves in their implementation. They don’t have as wide a range of things it can scan but only works with newer media. On the plus side there is no need to focus and snap a picture as the camera “lights up” and pulls in the information related to the product you are viewing.
Mobile Office Improved-Office hub now connected to office 365 and Skydrive finally!!!! You can now make changes and upload back to the cloud. Yes that’s right. You can now real-time sync docs back and forth from the skydrive. All the Office mobile apps are improved with new versions too.
Internet + Search:
Surfing the internet, beyond the browser
In addition to the inclusion of Internet Explorer, update the Mango will connect the power of the Internet to your phone’s unique capabilities, such as the identification of the location, the video camera and access to applications, to present a new way of browsing the internet, which is now more user-friendly and more relevant.
• Internet Explorer 9. The power of a browser for the PC, based on the HTML5 support, IE9 and support for hardware acceleration • Bing on Windows Phone. More ways to search the internet, including Bing Vision, Music Search and Voice, so that decision-making is easier. Intuitively knows if you are looking for local results and the start screen of the search results reflects this. • Local Scout-Delivers local results including places to eat, places to visit, notable attractions, etc. All utilizing the pivot function of the panoramic nature of the Metro UI. • Quick Cards-Enhancing the search experience by delivering the information you’re looking for without having to dive down through blue links to find out if you’re on target.
They are freed from their sandboxes and able to integrate with the OS.
I am going to just say that you can now feel free to include 3D code in with 2D code. Microsoft showed off a cool British Airways app that lets you fly through the airplance cabin in 3D to choose your seat.
You can pin a Live Tile from inside the app. That means you can pin just a part of an app that’s relevant to you instead of an entire app and dive back down deep into an app to extract or view the info you really want. Multiple Live Tiles are possible for a single app.
Apps are alive as part of total experience. Music apps are not just music apps they’re groups as music apps to exists as such.
Now the big question after the preview is where do we go from here? Is this enough to make the platform take off?
Mango is delivering an unparalelled level of integration to the OS. No other platform comes close to this and is definitely the platforms greatest differentiator. It is the single thing all carrier salespeople should convey to potential customers. They can get things done in such a cool way with the Windows Phone OS that simply cannot be matched on other platforms. Yes I know that both iOS & Android can accomplish the same tasks but the elegance of the Windows Phone implementation is what sets it apart.
Three new hardware OEMs step up to join the party. Acer, Fujitsu Ltd. and ZTE Corp. Curiously absent was Dell from the list of OEMs for the next wave of Windows Phones. Maybe Microsoft has stepped in and cut Dell off until they fix their issues with their hardware. No room in this highly competitive phone market for OEMs who can’t release a single device and not fix issues 6 months after release.
If you’re a fan of Windows Phone, the Mango release does nothing but gets you excited. Microsoft still is holding cards up their sleeve as there are more than 500 new features and only a few were previewed at the event. This doesn’t even take into consideration the type of apps developers will be able to create with the abundance of new APIs they’ll be able to play with.
WWDC is coming up and Jobs will once again take the stage to announce the latest and greatest in the iOS world. This fall is shaping up to be the battle of Microsoft and Apple and by all accounts Microsoft is not holding back. Apple will need to deliver substantive updates to have a credible argument to why both Android and Windows Phone is eating its OS lunch. For what its worth I expect Apple to deliver some goodies.
Whether you are in the Android, iOS or Windows Phone camp you will be rewarded with a good phone experience and be able to both enjoy and be productive with your phone moving forward.
Final Thought: Thanks to Ramon Trotman for his live coverage of the event and the rest of the staff for delivering the goods throughout the day. Windows Phone Mango Edition is one that has me excited and is delivering in some ways some ground breaking features that will allow OEMs to state their case for market supremacy. Microsoft has provided the software now the OEMs are on the clock.