When I received my first tip about the "Mango" Windows Phone release -- back in December 2010 -- my sources said the update might ultimately be named "Windows Phone OS 7.5." It's looking like that is Microsoft's plan, based on the company's own partner information page (as spotted by the WPCentral.com site on April 22).
Mango is the next major version of the Windows Phone operating system -- one that will bring IE 9 Mobile; application multitasking; Twitter integration; and access to a SQL database for the phone. Developer tools for the Mango update are slated to arrive in May 2011, officials said earlier this month.
Last year, I heard Microsoft's release-to-manufacturing target for Mango was August/September 2011. I'm still hearing "early fall," with Mango preloaded on new phones in time for holiday 2011, and pushed to customers -- after a hopefully less painful and lengthy testing process -- before the end of calendar 2011.
Microsoft's phone-naming choices has left a little lot to be desired. For the past year-plus, however, Microsoft execs have been semi-clear that the hardware line-up from Microsoft's hand full of hardware partners would be known as Windows Phones, and the operating system powering them would be the Windows Phone OS.
To me, the 7.5 name makes it fairly clear that Microsoft isn't intending to deliver many interim updates to its phone platform. Windows Phone OS 7.0 will be followed by the 7.5 update, and then (one would assume) Windows Phone OS 8.0 in 2012. (I say "assume" here because Microsoft officials haven't said anything publicly so far about the company's plans for Windows Phone OS 8, a k a "Apollo.")
The decision to go with a few "big bang" operating system updates for the phone shouldn't be too surprising, given many of those working on the Windows Phone platform at Microsoft came from the Windows division -- the original home of the "big bang" OS releases.
In other Windows Phone tidbits, I noticed on the home page for the Microsoft TechEd '11 conference site that there's a placeholder for session/s on "Zune software." There are no Zune software sessions listed (yet), but maybe there will be some new news on the Zune software ("Dorado") front at the show.... I'd bet more details on the Windows Phone private/beta marketplace functionality is at the crux of whatever Microsoft will say about Zune at its conference.
In other phone-related news, if you're wondering whether Microsoft is tracking your every move with Windows Phone 7, the answer is no, according to company officials.