The summer of 2011 is over and we are already racing towards the end of 2011. As with recent tradition around the western hemisphere and the consumer holiday season we again await for more milestone announcements..
The first one happened this past week with the long overdue release of the Microsoft Windows Phone 7 update, codenamed “Mango”. Also known as build 7720 or simply version 7.5.
After being very inpatient and checking every few hours to see if my trusty Samsung Focus would receive the “update is available” message I gave up and hit the websites. I couldn’t potentially wait 2-3 weeks for the update. As clockwork someone had already figured out that the previous upgrade loopholes still functioned and after an agonizing 2 hours of tinkering I finally had 7.5 running on my Samsung Focus. (Thank you WPCentral.com!)
Although I also thought I had bricked it at the very end and it wouldn’t reboot correctly until I “formatted” all my personal data off of it and it magically appeared working again. I didn’t seem to be alone in this problem, and I hope that Microsoft will continue to make the upgrade process smoother and newer devices will have a much better end-user upgrade experience. This could be a nightmare for an enterprise to handle.
Once I reconfigured all of my settings, e-mail accounts, and applications I right away started to see the subtle but very effective changes in the operating system. Just a few of the new features include:
- Meeting notices, give additional options
- E-mail threads are displayed slightly different. You can optional include the thread to search through all your folders for Sent e-mails for example on the same topic
- More applications taking advantage of the “live tile” feature, still unique to the Windows platform
- Application switcher, just press and hold down the back button
- Bing Maps with turn-by-turn directions
- Scout feature, to find things nearby
- IE 9, very zippy, HTML5!, alas no native silverlight support, but working flash for most sites unless they check for v10+. (More IE9 Mobile details here)
- Landscape support for many of the built-in applications
- No more support for editing Office 2003 documents due to “data loss risks”!
All in all still a decent operating system that is playing a little catch-up but also has some features that stand on it’s own. The e-mail handling and ease of use is among the top in my book.
The new multitasking features should make it possible for the Mobile Device Management (MDM) vendors to finally create nice native clients to manage the devices and make them more a first rate enterprise citizen.
I can only hope that AT&T will eventually turn on the visual voicemail feature like T-Mobile users can now have on Windows Phone 7.5. The Internet Sharing will probably have a paid data plan necessary to go with it..
I still think it has functionality features lacking that we present in the older Windows Mobile 6.5 platform, so we can only hope the gap continues to close has they recode the OS from the ground up.
The biggest gap for business enterprise customers is still the lack of device encryption. In my personal opinion this is still a big let down that I don’t understand why they couldn’t enable as they had in Windows Mobile 6.x.
As with most software, it will continue to be interesting where Microsoft (and Nokia) takes this and additional incremental releases.. This is a critical release for the platform to take a larger market share, gather more application support and consumer “buzz”..
Next week the mobility world will have it’s eyes on Cupertino, California where we will learn more about what Apple is planning to unleash on it’s millions of iOS device users..