Summer heat begins to ripen Windows Phone Mango update

Summer heat begins to ripen Windows Phone Mango update

Summary: I have now personally used three different versions of Mango and still haven't tried the RTM version yet and it gets better and better every time. When it is released consumers should be very happy.

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Just over a month ago I posted a detailed feature on the Windows Phone Mango technical preview that was preloaded on a Samsung Focus by Microsoft. That OS version was a custom build with number 7661.WP7_5_Trial label. I then used a method found online with an update.bat file to update my original HTC HD7 to version 7661. Then yesterday, Microsoft released build 7712 to developers after sending the RTM out to manufacturers and I just loaded this on my Dell Venue Pro and HTC HD7. This 7712 build is behind the RTM (I understand the RTM build is 7720) so there are still more updates to come before we actually get to what consumers will see in their hands in the fall.

The unofficial Mango update method is not something you should attempt if you care about warranties and be ready to risk bricking your device and turning it into a door stop. I have used Windows Phone 7 for over a year now so I was willing to eat it if my devices failed, but actually the process doesn't require any Chevron hacking or anything and is quite simple. I actually was able to update from the first beta version to the latest just by plugging into my PC, launching the Zune Desktop software and then selecting to install the update that it prompted me to install. The only issue is that you may have to start with an older version of the Zune Desktop software and then upgrade to the latest beta version as you progress through updates.

Let's take a look at how these builds are progressing:

Build 7661 Technical Preview

This was the version I talked about extensively in my June 20th article and it did have several new features when compared to NoDo devices, but there was a lot still missing too. The new features I noted include:

  • Group tiles
  • Linked inboxes
  • Facebook Chat in Threads/Messaging
  • Conversation view
  • Office Mobile improvements, including SkyDrive documents access
  • Updated Games hub
  • Native podcast support on the device, including direct downloads
  • Improved Marketplace search functionality
  • New Bing features (Local Scout, Music, Vision, and Voice)
  • Internet Explorer 9
  • Saved camera settings
  • Media player controls on the lock screen
  • LinkedIn account support
  • Smart DJ support

Build 7661 available through Update.bat method

Even though this build has the same first part of the number as the one Microsoft loaded on the Samsung Focus, there were a couple of apparent differences. One of the first things I saw was that this build had the indexing method on the application launcher page so you could easily jump to applications rather than scrolling through the entire list. This indexing is similar to what is present in the Contact list on Windows Phone 7.

I also discovered that the native podcast download on the device did not work for me with my HD7 and this build so while I liked the indexing on the launcher screen I didn't like this lack of podcast downloads so I kept using the Samsung Focus instead of the HD7.

Build 7712 released to developers

I decided to go ahead and update both my Dell Venue Pro and HTC HD7 to this latest version since I figured it must be pretty full featured given that RTM was just sent out and has a number close to this one. There was a Dell update for my Venue Pro so I did that first and then performed the hacker update. When I plugged my HD7 into my PC an update notification appeared automatically so I just accepted it and installed it on the device.

As you can see in my video below, this 7712 version rocks on both of my devices and I think my SIM card will be staying put in the Dell Venue Pro for quite some time. These are the improvements I have seen so far, that are in addition to those listed above for the 7661 version I have on the Samsung Focus:

  • Native Twitter integration where you send Tweets from your Me tile
  • Support for custom ringtones and alarms (see below for more on this)
  • Index in the application launcher
  • Auto-fix function in the camera software
  • Ability to share photos via email, text, Facebook, SkyDrive, and Twitter (similar to how Android does it)
  • Transitions when using the task switcher
  • Visual voicemail support (I use and prefer Google Voice for my voicemail so I couldn't test this)
  • There are different color shades in Messaging so you can now much more easily differentiate the two sides to a conversation rather than text bubbles all having the same background color.

What is still missing in Mango?

A major missing functionality is multi-tasking because developers have to update their apps to support it so this is one area we cannot yet test out. We can use the task switcher (press and hold on the back button) to jump quickly between open/frozen apps.

I also do not yet see WiFi hotspot or USB tethering support, but I believe that is something that carriers now take ownership of so it is highly likely that this capability will depend on your carrier's tethering policy and decisions, unfortunately.

How do I get custom ringtones and alarms on my Mango device?

I tried installing custom ringtone on the Samsung Focus Microsoft provided to test with Mango 7661 on it, but it doesn't work. However, as you can see in the video above both my HD7 and Dell Venue Pro support custom ringtones and alarms. To see all the details on how to do this, it is really quite easy, check out the post over on Neowin.net.

I still haven't figured out a way to customize alerts since I like having R2D2 alert me for text messages, but at least I can customize my ringtone and my alarm clock tones and they are the most important to me.

Mango is moving right along

I love what I see in this latest 7712 update and think consumers are going to love what we end up with this fall. There may be more improvements in icons, menu items, etc., but I have to spend more time with the latest version to figure out what they may be. Microsoft really needs to get their act together in terms of advertising when Mango devices come out because Mango makes the platform even more compelling than I personally already found it.

As a fan of the Zune experience, an Exchange user, and someone who enjoys good games Windows Phone devices are an easy choice and I don't see another platform serving as my primary one anytime soon.

Topics: Software, Browser, Dell, Microsoft, Mobility, Operating Systems, Samsung, Windows

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32 comments
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  • Action speaks louder than words

    I though you said recently your next phone will be the iPhone 5. How happy can you be with WP7?

    Or do you just keep acquiring HW so you will have something to write about?
    Economister
    • Disbelievers

      @Economister Well, when you find a superior product you go with it. He said he is willing to try the iphone5. He should end up with the phone that best suits his needs. That may be the iphone, that may be a Mango phone.

      When Mango is RTM, I will definitely change my Android based phone for a Mango phone. The phone that best suits my needs are those that integrate well with Microsoft Lync.
      Your Non Advocate
    • RE: Summer heat begins to ripen Windows Phone Mango update

      @Economister

      He said he was going to be using both, I do believe.
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • Multiple carriers FTW

      @Economister Since I write about the mobile space and believe I need to experience the platforms to write from my own experiences I have phones on multiple carriers. As I said in that iPhone 5 post I will keep a WP7 device on T-Mobile and plan to add an iPhone 5 on AT&T or Verizon.

      However, the further along that Mango gets and the more I try it out the less I desire to have an iOS device. WP7 is great and getting better and when Nokia joins the party I think we will see WP move to 3rd and replace RIM in the US market behind iOS and Android.
      palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
  • RE: Summer heat begins to ripen Windows Phone Mango update

    Running Mango on my Omnia 7. Very nice phone OS. In tests here iOS takes more screen touches than WP7 does for most tasks which is a sign of a good UI.
    jhughesy
    • RE: Summer heat begins to ripen Windows Phone Mango update

      @jhughesy
      I have recently bought my Omnia 7 and its German unlocked version, so I just wanna know whether I can do the mango update via zune?
      arunwizkid
  • RE: Summer heat begins to ripen Windows Phone Mango update

    Microsoft have already lost this war so no matter what they do, they will never win this battle. Android is open source and free and well there are tons of applications. So why would I go with WP when there's Android? not unless, you love antivirus and want to install antivirus on your phone
    shellcodes_coder
    • RE: Summer heat begins to ripen Windows Phone Mango update

      @shellcodes_coder <br>Android is the only major phone OS with malware issues. Try to keep up.
      kstap
      • RE: Summer heat begins to ripen Windows Phone Mango update

        @kris_stapley@...
        yeah that's why Apple is issuing security updates to iOS ...
        AdnanPirota
    • RE: Summer heat begins to ripen Windows Phone Mango update

      @shellcodes_coder
      Manufacturers are learning that Android is not free because it infringes on patents. As for the applications and antivirus, Android is the one that needs the antivirus as 8-10% of Android apps are maleware per a recent study done.
      http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/more-than-800-android-apps-are-leaking-personal-data/
      I love how people write off Microsoft products becaues they hate Microsoft. When Microsoft is the underdog, they make good products, (Xbox, Zune) that doesn't mean that they succeed or get a lot of market share but the products are good. Oh, as for the open source argument, there will soon be a Microsoft apporved method of unlocking your phone to sideload apps.
      UnfixedPyle
    • Message has been deleted.

      mikroland
    • Check your history

      @shellcodes_coder In 1984, Apple owned the personal desktop space. Everyone wrote Microsoft and IBM off as too little too late. By 1995, Windows 95 owned the world and Mac was just a neat but expensive odd-duck. In 2000, Internet Explorer came on the scene, and within 3 years had over 80% of the browser "market". In 2002? XBox arrived to compete against Sony and Nintendo, its now the fastest selling game console in the world. In 2007 Google owned the world in search, having about 95% of the search market. Last I saw, Microsoft's Bing now has 30% of the search market and climbing.

      Side note, there is plenty of malware and virus software for Android, some even in the Android marketplace.
      A Gray
      • RE: Summer heat begins to ripen Windows Phone Mango update

        @A Gray Hear hear!!! Never count Microsoft out! When the Metro UI ecosytem is fully fleshed out (360 and Win8), they will have the best UI with consistent services across all three platforms!
        jatbains
    • RE: Summer heat begins to ripen Windows Phone Mango update

      @shellcodes_coder

      Wake up pal and try a WP7 device before you trash it! If you run Android now chances are you'll love WP7 even more because Android is a mish-mash of everyone elses IP! Like most things from Google I like to call it beta-ware!
      Rob.sharp
    • RE: Summer heat begins to ripen Windows Phone Mango update

      @shellcodes_coder wp7 is far better than Iphone and Android, it is sexier, sleeker more modern looking , intuitive and elegant. It makes the IPhone and Android feel outdated, if you think that Wp7 has lost the war you are delusional, wp7 is just getting started.

      by the way Android is the most virus infected phone on the market.

      wp7 rocks
      bxbbrian
    • ANDROID IS NOT FREE!

      @shellcodes_coder<br><br>Android is hardly the epitome of open source and IT IS NOT FREE ... not to OEMs (increasingly so) and definitely not to end-users! Quick business lesson for ya ... when a wholesale vendor like Google licenses proprietary tech like Exchange ActiveSync and builds an email client that supports it, there is a cost to the OEM for implementing it on a device, which is why HTC pays Microsoft for each Android unit sold. Android is free only for Google to develop it, as it already licenses Exchange ActiveSync for Gmail users to use wherever EAS is supported (iOS, Windows Mobile/Phone, Symbian, Android, etc.).
      trollCall'sBaby'sMama
    • RE: Summer heat begins to ripen Windows Phone Mango update

      @shellcodes_coder

      Oh how about
      Sophisticated UI
      Best development system
      Most functionality built into the OS and phone rather than loading lame apps
      Gets updates (that's a maybe for Android)

      I could go on but facts seem to be a problem for you ;-)
      tonymcs1
  • Are you saying?

    <i>As a fan of the Zune experience, an Exchange user, and someone who enjoys good games Windows Phone devices are an easy choice and I don?t see another platform serving as my primary one anytime soon.</i>

    If you like 100% Microsoft 100% of the time get a WP7SOS phone? I have played with all three (Android, iOS, and WP7SOS phones). I cannot see myself getting a Windows phone anytime soon.
    Rick_K
    • RE: Summer heat begins to ripen Windows Phone Mango update

      @Rick_K <br><br>Windows phone 7 has features to appeal to users that have no idea what MS desktop windows is, or MS Office or even xbox for that matter. It's the best realtime communication device out there (integrated Twitter, Facebook, MSLive, Linkedin, etc), that has nothing to do with any previous MS product Mr. Rick_K.<br><br>But, Since you like 100% apple 100% of the time (aka, iNaiveisim, then I'm sure you'll stick with your iphone).
      mikroland
      • RE: Summer heat begins to ripen Windows Phone Mango update

        @mikroland But, Since you like 100% apple 100% of the time (aka, iNaiveisim, then I'm sure you'll stick with your iphone).
        Yep, and right there with putting emotion into your argument, your comment becomes worthless! Sheesh!
        T-Wrench