Microsoft 'Tango' Windows Phone updates rolling out to Nokia users

Summary:It looks like the latest batch of updates to the "Mango" Windows Phone operating system are starting to roll out, commencing with Nokia handsets.

Nokia Lumia 710 and 800 users are starting to receive the updates to Microsoft's Windows Phone "Mango" operating system that are known as "Tango."

These updates will be rolling out in June and July, according to a June 27 Nokia Conversations blog post. WPCentral reported that some Nokia 710 users on Rogers in Canada were getting these updates as of last week. (WPCentral and WMPoweruser noted the coming Tango updates today, as well.)

A quick codename refresher for those who thought we were already up to "Apollo," or Windows Phone OS 8: Tango is the Microsoft codename for a handful of updates to the last major Windows Phone OS, version 7.1 (or 7.5 -- Microsoft uses both numbers in various ways to refer to Mango). Microsoft announced Tango without ever using the codename back in February of this year.

Earlier this year, when announcing Tango, Microsoft officials said that Tango (Mango plus a few new features) would be the default on new handsets, including lower-powered ones. “After the new (Tango) devices are out, we’ll start the process of working with mobile operators to bring an update to current customers, but it’ll be a few months before we have specifics on that roll out," a spokesperson told me at that time.

I asked again this week when we existing Mango handset users would get the Tango update. I was told by a spokesperson that Microsoft would post an update to its "Windows Phone Update History" page once that update was ready for existing Windows Phone users. As of today, June 27, there's no new update on Microsoft's page since the "disappearing keyboard fix" update, which Microsoft made available in January 2012.

Update: The Microsoft Windows Phone History page was updated as of June 28 to include mention of a new update -- which is seemingly Tango. That update, 7.10.8773.98, is listed as including new multiple message attachments for text messages; SIM-card contact exporting; and "other quality improvements." The update is listed as being "not available in all markets or for all phones."

The Tango updates that all Windows Phone users are expecting may include wifi tethering ("Internet sharing"). Wifi tethering is one of the features some thought to be part of the Tango updates, but it's really more of a hidden Mango feature. The Nokia update page makes it seem "flip to silence" (flip your phone over to silence incoming alerts and calls) may be another of these Tango updates that some/all current Windows Phone users will get.

Last week, Microsoft officials made it official that existing Windows Phone handsets, including all of the currently shipping Nokia Lumia models, will not get the Apollo operating system, expected out later this year. Instead, existing Windows Phone users get the Windows Phone OS 7.8 update, which includes only UI changes including the addition of a third, user-selectable tile size, plus the removal of the right-hand gutter on the Start screen. (I know some believe there will be other Apollo features in the 7.8 update, but I asked again to be sure this week and was still told by a Microsoft spokesperson this would be a UI-only feature update.)

Nokia is intending to keep its Lumia phones "fresh" by adding other new features to its handsets, officials said last week. These additions include new camera enhancements ("Camera Extras"), contact-sharing, and "Counters" (metering usage monitoring). These additions are rolling out now and through July.

Update: What about Lumia 900 users? When will they get Tango? It seems from this Nokia link (thanks @ZuneTracks) that Lumia 900 and Lumia 610 users already have the Tango updates to Mango. However, @ZuneTracks said it's Canadian Lumia 900s that have Tango, but U.S. Lumia 900 users are going to have to wait for the Windows Phone 7.8 update to get these features. For the record, Microsoft officials won't say when the 7.8 update will be out. I am checking with Nokia to see if anyone there will verify this information.

Update No. 2: This just in from a Nokia spokesperson:

"The Nokia Lumia 900 supports wi-fi tethering. AT&T requires a separate data plan to support the feature. The flip-to-silence feature for the Lumia 900 is planned but we do not have a date for that yet."

Topics: Hardware, Microsoft, Mobility, Nokia, Operating Systems, Smartphones, Software, Telcos, Windows

About

Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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