Microsoft unveiled many of the new Windows Phone 7 features for its next update, codenamed Mango, which will appear on smartphones in autumn.
According to Microsoft, since Windows Phone 7’s October launch, there are now 17,000 apps in its ecosystem.
Previous partners for Windows Phone 7, LG, Samsung and HTC, will have Windows Phone 7.1 (Mango) handsets. Microsoft has also made new partnerships with Acer, Fujitsu and ZTE, who will release Windows Phone 7.1 devices in the future. Nokia’s first Windows Phone device will run with this Mango update.
Windows Phone’s next update includes new ways of organising contacts and communications. Threads will let users switch from text, Facebook chat and Windows Live Messenger within the same conversation. Users will also be able to group contacts into personalised live tiles in order to see their latest status updates or contact them quickly.
Twitter and LinkedIn will be integrated into contact cards and the mobile OS will have built-in Facebook check-ins and facial detection software to make tagging photos easier.
The update will allow for multiple email accounts to be linked to one inbox and will have voice-to-text and text-to-voice support for hands-free texting.
The Mango update will connect apps to search results and will integrate them further with Windows Phone Hubs, such as Music, Videos and Pictures.
The update will now introduce multitasking to Microsoft’s mobile OS, letting users switch between apps and let apps run in the background.
Internet Explorer 9 will be included in the Mango update with support for HTML5 and hardware acceleration.
As rumoured, Bing Vision will be included, letting users search by scanning QR codes and images. Bing Music Search will work like mobile app Shazam, allowing users to hold their phone up to a song to identify it.
A beta release of the Windows Phone Developer tools to make apps and games for this update will be uploaded within 24 hours.