Subscribe:
19 Oct 2011
By Dan Michael
Oct
19
2011

Deep diving into Mango

Windows-phone-7-header

Not the fruit of course, ‘cause that would be messy but the new supercharged OS from Microsoft and Windows 7.5. I wrote recently how quickly it is being rolled out and fully supported on all Telstra handsets and then I  got the Mango upgrade on my Mac through Windows Phone 7 Connector.

I had the good fortune to test out the first release device, the HTC Mozart, when we did the Social Review last year so I have had it for a while now. At first I must admit it didn’t really float my boat. However, now after some months on and Windows Phone Marketplacetrialling many different Android phones and of course my trusty iPhone 4, I have come back full circle to my Mozart and then BAM! I got the Mango update and that is it, I am in love.

Here are my thoughts as to why.

It is simply different. The Mango update has done a number of things that feel intuitive and easy to get stuck into from a usability perspective. Like the linked inboxes and conversation threads, or the vastly improved browser experience – I have never seen such brilliant crisp fonts which means clarity and readability.

Chat, texting, facebook chat are now all integrated and work together seamlessly and are swappable by simply sliding across the screen – it is a beauty to behold and really quite innovative. With threads you can start a conversation on facebook and finish it up on Messenger – or vice versa. Sweet.

The People Hub just got incredible. Something I dreamed of years ago was to have a way to just look at all the kinds of contact details my friends family and colleagues had, mobile, email, landline etc and use whichever I needed, and now we do. It has to be seen to be appreciated, but basically you click on a contact and there are all of the options for contacting them – write on wall, send email, map home address, text, call work – genius!

I love this feature the most but think someone owes me royalties on my unpatented idea. You can build on this as much or as little as you choose with Groups too, which can be pinned to the homescreen for convenience –  it is as flexible as Android but easier to use IMHO.

Windows phone xbox Live contentCustom ringtones. Gold!  Now you can create your own ringtones using MP3 and WMA files.

And of course they haven’t forgotten about Social Networking – facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are all built in and one snappy little press away from you – and this is probably the best I have seen or felt/used/experienced in touch screen Smartphone, especially as it covers my favourite social apps. I make few mistakes using the keyboard and again the fonts are just so nice to read and view.

Multitasking is also a dream and many apps can run in the background like music while tweeting or emailing. All very simple, very smart and very easy to use.

And a smartphone that actually behaves like one when typing documents! You can do bullets, lists, bold fonts (yes!) record audio notes, add images easily then sync the whole lot to your Skydrive with ease.  One Note is a gem for quick notes and to do lists as well, and it has all of that functionality. Of course Office is a dream on a Windows Phone 7 and I suspect a major selling point for the business oriented – I mean Office Mobile has just never been better with Word, PowerPoint and Excel in mobile form excelling in all areas (pardon the pun).

Maybe you’d like to get into developing for the platform? Well you can get into that too, read this blog post for all the inside information.

And finally, very dear to my heart, the gaming experience. Simply put, hands down without a doubt the slickest and best gaming experience in market on any Smartphone I have used. With or without an Xbox, the games on Marketplace are some of the slickest I have played. Gone is the 30fps limit now lifted up to 60fps making gaming look just that extra bit of awesome. It has a way to go in terms of breadth of games, applications and the like, but I have high hopes especially after this update brings this OS firmly back into the game, so to speak. Parachute Panic never looked so good!

The list of new features goes on and on – I can’t cover them all here, but these are some of the standouts for me from this excellent OS update without too much fanfare.  So what are you waiting for? Get out there and get into some Mango!

Related Links

By

Posts: 47

45 Comments

  1. WPDownUnder says:

    Nice deep-dive (good links for those new or researching WP7 as well)!

    It’s also great to see some more spread of the blogging love across other mobile OS platforms other than Android and iOS. Ok, so WP7 might not generate x-Million pre-sales for Telstra at the moment, and they may not be releasing a new handset every other Friday like Android….but the OS is a viable, modern, highly-functional and exceptional competitor to it’s alternative market offerings.

    Dan – did you try the Voice commands – or how about SMS to Voice hands free in the car for incoming texts? Also what about Bing and Local Scout? Worth commenting on as additions to your review above…

    Appreciate your coverage of it here Dan.

    Cheers,
    Sheeds
    http://wpdownunder.com

    • Dan says:

      Sheeds – the great thing about it is that you keep on finding out new things every time you dig deeper! I only just found the voice command and SMS to voice feature recently, blew me away! Great when connected to blutooth in my car, it just reads the text out.
      I’m really excited about Nokia partnering with WP7 – I think that will produce some stellar handsets and I can’t wait to try them.

  2. Does Windows Phone 7.5 include Outlook that can be synced to your computer directly. Ridiculous that the previous version of the OS didn’t allow a direct cable sync. What on earth were Microsoft smoking when they designed the OS???

    • WPDownUnder says:

      Cory,

      Not sure what your issue is. I have Outlook mail syncing just fine (prior Business Outlook mail account and personal ISP mail)

      Try this link: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsphone/en-au/howto/wp7/people/set-up-an-email-account.aspx

      Cable-sync is so 2009 ;)

      Sheeds.

    • Dan says:

      Hi Cory – from what I understand of you comment the answer is YES!
      I just loaded up an Exchange Account and a dot mac account with no cable and no fuss.
      In fact Outlook is one of the best I’ve seen on a Smartphone. Period.

    • GTRoberts says:

      @Cory – No, there is no “direct sync with local Outlook” in Mango. Why? well, basically because its a pointless concept from the 1990′s that has not been needed for the past few years.

      If you’re running Outlook, then you’re using it with IMAP, POP or (probably) a full Exchange email server to access your mailbox. All of these services are directly and fully supported with Windows Phone.

      Bottom line, there is no need to sync the phone to their computer to their mailbox… just go straight from phone to mailbox.

  3. Michael says:

    Nice review. Imagine if Telstra shop staff started to acknowledge and even push Windows Phone 7 over Mapple’s “we haven’t really done any grunt work so we’ll just rebrand our existing device” phone!!

    Cory Microsoft’s strategy revolves around cloud computing not the desktop. Why mess around making sure calendar will sync with office 2003/2007/2010 and have to plug into your own desktop? Sync your own calendar entries (including face book) along with contact birthdays and public holidays from Live Calendar on the fly. And also have access from any computer you access.

  4. To each their own GTRoberts. I wasn’t actually meaning the syncing of emails, but instead contacts, calendar dates and notes.

    I prefer hard wire syncing. Why on earth would i use my internet connection for something that can incur nil charges?!?!?

    Plus i don’t like the idea of backing up my personal details and information in the cloud.

    • Stewart Walker says:

      OH NO THE SKY IS FALLING!!!!

      Mate, connect your phone to wifi and it will remove the charge. As for syncing your contacts online, connect it to your mailbox and your contacts can be stored there instead.

      If this is still a problem, then simply don’t sync your contacts.

      Let me say this though… You bought a smart phone. You want to use it like a dumb phone. Go buy a nokia brick from 10 years ago

    • Rude for a living, or is it just in your spare time!

  5. Dan says:

    Hey guys – this response has come back from Microsoft about the two main points of contention.

    1. Windows Phone 7.5, as a platform, supports internet connection sharing, in which the phone can be configured to share its mobile network connection over Wi-Fi with up to five client devices or computers. We are working with our device and Mobile Operator partners to enable this feature on existing Windows Phones as soon as possible.

    2. We are working with our Mobile Operator partners to enable Visual Voicemail as soon as possible.

    Hope that helps!
    Cheers, Dan.

  6. spatch says:

    I whole heartedly agree on all points. I also picked up a Mozart early on, but dropped it for a sexy Android phone after 3 months. I am now completely won over by Mango, and the Mozart is once again my handset of choice. Everything feels slicker and smoother, and I love the updated hubs and fast app switching. If Microsoft can get us something like Zune Pass, this would be a really killer OS in Australia compared to other offerings. I’ll probably be upgrading to the Titan early next year because I do miss the bigger screen of my Android phone for gaming and movies, but I’ll always love this little Mozart as one of the best phones I’ve ever owned.

    • Dan says:

      I’m with you Spatch, and equally excited about Titan and the possibility of new Nokia phones sporting a Mango OS inside.
      Will be the first to review when they hit town – stay tuned!
      Dan

  7. Peter Murphy says:

    Dan thanks for the great article, it’s a shame more people don’t get on the bandwagon. I like you got the Mozart in the social review, and now have two HD7s and my HD2 runs WP as well. I’m glad you have addresed the two major issues, features that we were told would be in the OS and are not.

    I wonder though, is that a response from HTC, because it’s similar to one I got over the same question. I’d say it’s from MS though. HTC assures me that the features are there and it’s up to my operator, Telco to make it work. There seems to be a lot of phooey surrounding the Internet Sharing feature, yet on Samsung Devices it can be hacked into reality.

    It’s the one major hiccough with the platform at the moment. Although there have been reports of keyboard issues, as in it disappears in some apps an will not become usable again till the app or phone is restarted.
    I like you am excited about what Nokia may come up with, all in all a phone built for Mango, that hasn’t been fiddled with is bound to have less bugs for sure. Again thanks for helping to raise public awareness about the OS, and for bothering to find out what it can do, but wait there’s more. you will keep finding things I’m sure.

    • Dan says:

      hey Peter, thanks for the kind words, appreciate it.
      Just to clarify my response was clearly labelled as coming from Microsoft – which I assure 100% it was. We will continue to work closely with them and let you know asap if it becomes available.
      I’m reviewing the new Nokia N9 at the moment and it is a really cool thing but IMHO is crying out for WP7.5 OS overhaul =)

  8. WPDownUnder says:

    Dan and all,

    Microsoft have advised there are firmware updates coming next week to some handsets (I expect Samsung at a minimum). It is believed this will update the wireless settings enabling tethering! Woot :)

    http://windowsteamblog.com/windows_phone/b/windowsphone/archive/2011/10/19/updates-windows-phone-7-5-now-available-more-broadly.aspx

    On the handset front, I love my Samsung Focus (still can’t believe it never made it to these shores!) and reckon it will be between the Samsung Focus S or a Nokia for my next handset!

    :D

    Sheeds.
    http://www.windowsphonedownunder.com

  9. spatch says:

    I played with the N9 in another carriers store, and I agree: this hardware needs Mango on it now! Its a beautiful device and the UI is interesting, and I particularly liked playing a video and swiping half the screen as the video continued to play (very cool), but overall the software feels a bit half baked. Apparently this hardware will be the released for WP7, but the screen size will be reduced to accomodate capacitive buttons. Still, it will be exciting to see what Nokia can bring to the platform.

  10. Glenn Spence says:

    Loved all the comments around WP7, how about informing store staff about these great phones, and *cough* *cough* any idea when the huge Titan is coming to Telstra Dan???

  11. Peter Murphy says:

    HTC Titan is now available from Mobicity, in stock, wonder if Telstra will get it soon? Hopefully things become clearer when/after Nokia make their big announcement on the 26th, which is Thursday this week. If Nolia have WP7 phones coming to Telstra, we might see a joint announcement of new, second generation handsets on Telstra. All rumour for now! :(

  12. Rob says:

    We’re all dead keen on the Titan at the office also. I’d like to know more about it also… any news?

  13. DTHD7 says:

    Hi Dan
    Any idea how i do a screen capture on my HD7? (Mango is installed)

  14. GTRoberts says:

    @DTHD7 – although there is no official screen capture ability supplied by MS (due to various legal issues), you can use this 3rd party app here, http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1316199

    With more information about it here -> http://www.istartedsomething.com/20111023/homebrew-screenshot-tool-for-windows-phone-7-5-works-for-all-phones/

    The downside is you’ll need a dev unlocked phone or you’ll have to wait until the Chevon guys have done their magic.

    • DTHD7 says:

      Thanks guys for the response.

      GTRoberts: I’ll have to wait a while I guess. Good info there though.

      Dan: Thanks for the quick reply, I wouldn’t know how to use the Dev Kit ATM though, this is my company phone and I’m not familiar with such things. Perhaps worth sending this as a request to Mr Ballmer & co. I imagine many other users have requested it, so the more they see it the more likely they are to respond positively, and quickly. OK, we wait and see.

  15. Peter Murphy says:

    The screen capture app is a godsend, was playing with it yesterday, and it updated to version 3 today, looks a lot better.

  16. Sam Bevis says:

    Also very interested in the HTC Titan.

    Any update guys?

  17. PHuZZY says:

    Great review of an under-rated SmartPhone OS….

    Now all we need is some news on some new generation Windows Phones (HTC Titan/Radar, Samsung Omnia W, Focus S, Nokia Lumia) comming to Telstra and soon….. (please) So that Windows Phones can get some deserved market share.

  18. dan says:

    any news yet on the new devices? waiting to see the htc titan and no one in the stores has even heard of it.

    • DTHD7 says:

      By Titan I assume they mean BIG. Now be warned people, the HD7 has a battery that lasts a few hours. No wifi on, email checked only every 15 minutes, no bluetooth on. The screen is simply too big for the battery to really handle effectively. Sometimes size does count ;-)

      The new Nokia Lumia looks like the first windows phone designed to work with its OS. When does that hit the fair shores of Australia?

  19. spatch says:

    This is still the biggest problem with Windows Phone — no one knows about it, and that includes the staff in telco retail stores. I still find it astonishing that Telstra wont take the time to properly train their staff about ALL their handsets on offer. We all know that Mango has been released, and we are all looking forward to the HTC Titan coming to Telstra, but ask a retail store consultant and they stare at you blankly. Even the demo HTC HD7 I played with in the city the other night hasnt been updated to Mango yet, and that has me dumbfounded. Come on Telstra, youre almost there. Just go a little further and fully committ to the platform, and eventually the rewards will follow.

  20. WPDownUnder says:

    The Samsung Focus was the best 1st GEN WP7 handset – and absolutely makes the OS shine. Why it was never picked up here in AUS is a travesty….

  21. rob says:

    That’s it on the head. Same in our local store (noosaville). All the old win phones running 7.0 still. Only two of them at that and the rest is almost exclusively android phones.

    It’s no wonder the platform hasn’t sold well, the staff have no idea!

  22. GTRoberts says:

    @DTHD7 – no no and no :-)

    You are quite wrong there about the HD7′s battery. I have 16GB HD7 and with all those options turned off, I can get almost 4 days out of my battery.

    With my normal daily circumstances I have;
    WiFi on all the time
    Manual email checking for my work’s exchange account (as I’m office/desk based for most of the day anyways)
    Every 30 minutes sync’ing for 2 hotmail accounts
    Every hour for 1 gmail account
    Live tiles active are for weather, twitter, facebook and foursquare

    Also add in around a hour per day of phones and around 10 SMS per day.

    and I still *easily* get 1.5 days out of the battery.

    As for the Titan, as its a Gen2 phone, it uses the newer chipset which uses much less battery, so the battery ‘life’ is even longer.

    Go to winrumors.com and read Tom’s review of the Titan.

    • dthd7 says:

      Thanks gtroberts. Wish mine did that, perhaps a fault in this unit. My colleague charges daily too though. Another colleague gets 2 days. Pretty variable.

    • GTRoberts says:

      @DTHD7 – I still charge my phone daily as well, its just a force of habit :-)

      Out of trivial interest, my phone still has 89% of the battery remaining which it reckons is around 29hrs of runtime. I unplugged it from the charger this morning around 5:30am.

      Maybe I do have a really good battery? It might be worthwhile to try a replacement battery as (I assume) they’re not overly expensive.

  23. DTHD7 says:

    Hey Stewart, in Cory’s defence, I do get what he’s asking, and why. What’s wrong with that?

    Jeepers, some of the feedback on this forum is a bit odd.

  24. spatch says:

    Early on I found the HTC Mozart battery only lasted about 7 or 8 hours with moderate use, so I purchased an extended battery from Mugen Power. This little beauty is the same size and provided almost 2 days of battery charge.

    I say provided — the Mango update seems to have changed things dramatically, and now I’m back to around 12 hours of battery life. This is disappointing, and I can only hope that Microsoft & HTC get around to fixing the battery drain issue.

    You can find the Mugen Power battery from here:
    http://www.mugen-power-batteries.com/mugen-power-1800mah-extended-battery-for-htc-7-mozart-t8698.html

    The price is reasonable and delivery was exceptionally fast.

    They also have a battery for the HD& here:
    http://www.mugen-power-batteries.com/mugen-power-1300mah-extended-battery-for-htc-hd7-t-mobile-9292.html

    • DTHD7 says:

      Spatch, glad to know I’m not the only one.
      I really don’t understand why you would actually pay for a battery though. The manufacturer has made claims, the phone does not match them… sounds like a warranty issue to me.

      Thanks for the info though, much appreciated.

  25. spatch says:

    After reading all of the battery drain complaints from other early adopters during the early days of WP7, I was convinced the extended battery issue was endemic to the platform, and considering I was experiencing the same problems I therefore believed the extended battery was my only option. And it was a fantastic solution for a while. Mango has changed the landscape, and again I’m starting to ready about similar issues from other users.

    • GTRoberts says:

      @Spatch – I’m certainly not seeing any battery issues here, or on the 5 other phones I personally know of. In fact, Mango has added around a hour or two to the battery life.

  26. spatch says:

    I think I’ll switch back to my original Mozart battery for a while to see if things have improved under Mango. It may be that the Mugen Power batteries aren’t optimised for the newer software, and the handset might play nicer with it’s original battery reinstalled.

    I’ll let you know how I go…

  27. Dan says:

    All – rather than duplicate I am providing a link to my other blog on Mango updates with some new info that you might be interested in.

    Please have a look at the comment I left on ‘Who wants a slice of the Mango‘.

Leave a Comment