It's Time for the First Tango for Mango

Carl Weinschenk
Slide Show

Best Upcoming Mango Features

Preview the most notable features from the upcoming Windows Phone 7.1 Mango release.

Microsoft this week made a move in the ever-higher smartphone game stakes with the beginning of the gradual release of Mango, the first major update to the Windows Phone 7 operating system.

This is extremely important. The world of mobile operating systems is simultaneously settling down and getting more chaotic. The chaos is the great and even accelerating growth and the gradual meeting of approaches aimed at tablets and smartphones. The calmer area is the solidification of the landscape into two tiers: Apple's iOS and Google's Android on one level and everyone else on the other.

The real drama, as I wrote earlier this week, is which OS will win the very lucrative "best of the rest" sweepstakes. Microsoft probably is the leading candidate, but Mango - and Windows 8 and beyond - has to satisfy finicky and spoiled device owners. The Seattle Times has a good piece describing the landscape into which Mango launches, including the issues that are beyond the direct control of folks who wrote the code, such as the ability to attract developers.

The initial reaction seems positive, if a bit measured.

IntoMobile offers a long story and a 12-minute video. Luckily, it also cuts to the chase with a bulleted list of the good and the bad. There are a total of 12 entries. In general, the breadth of positives seems broader ("Third-party multitasking brings it up to par with competition") than the negatives ("Still nagging issues around the edges like the lack of landscape orientation in certain core apps")

ExtremeTech also provides a lot of background. The conclusion is that a lot of what Microsoft has done is good, but it may not overtake Android and iOS. That's only a problem, of course, if Microsoft really is aiming for that - and only Redmond knows for sure. Here is how the site concludes:

Android Ice Cream Sandwich and iOS 5 are just around the corner and Redmond could find itself lagging behind again very soon. At the very least, the changes to Windows Phone 7.5 make the platform competitive - and that's certainly a good start.

Softpedia notes that three phones - the HTC Radar 4G, Samsung Omnia W and ZTE Tania - are coming loaded with Mango.

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