Five things you'll love about Windows Phone 7.5 Mango

I've put the new Windows Phone 7.5 release Mango through its paces and found it a solid, polished operating system, going a long way towards fulfilling the promise of earlier versions of the OS. Here are five things you'll love about Mango.

Better social networking

Earlier versions of Windows Phone 7 had problems with social networking, notably no out-of-the-box support for Twitter and LinkedIn. For a start, Twitter and LinkedIn are now supported in Mango. More important, though, is that social networking is now woven throughout the entire operating system, and you don't even need to run a social networking app to get the benefits. A new profile pane for contacts shows your entire history of communications with the contact, including email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or text messaging. In addition, there's a new Me tile that pulls together all of the updates and content from your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Windows Live contacts, so you can see at a glance all the updates. With a single post, you can send updates to multiple social networking sites. And there's a lot more than that as well.

Unified, threaded messaging across services

As a general rule, smartphone operating systems don't do a great job with email. Mango is the exception to the rule. It offers threaded messaging, and it offers it not just for email, but for text messaging as well.

Better yet, you can have an ongoing conversation that spans multiple communications services. So start off on Facebook chat with someone, and if they leave Facebook chat, you can pick it up in text messaging. It will be the same conversation, but carried on via a different means of communications. I don't know of any other phone that does this.

A better Bing

Bing has also been beefed up. Bing's new Local Scout works from inside Bing Maps to shows you local information, such as places to eat, drink and shop, and local attractions and events. It does that by parterships with third-parties like as Yelp.

There's a lot more as well, such as Bing Vision, which like a combination of Google Goggles and Barcode Scanner, scans bar codes, QR codes, Microsoft tags and the covers of CDs, DVDs and books, and then provide usable information. Not everything about Bing Vision or Local Scout is perfect, but both are very solid and useful new services.

Multitasking

Windows Phone 7 need not hang its head in shame when it comes to multitasking; it now performs a version of it, just like other smartphone operating systems, thanks to Mango. To switch between running apps, press and holding the Back button, then select the app to which you want to switch.

Wi-Fi tethering

With Mango, Windows Phone 7 gets Wi-Fi tethering so you can turn your phone into a hot spot and share its 3G or 4G connection with others. There are some caveats: This feature only works on new phones, not existing ones, and not all phones and carriers support it. And, as with other OSes, you'll have to pay your carrier extra for it.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

  
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