Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 'Mango' update to get IE Mobile 9

What's on tap for Microsoft at the upcoming Mobile World Congress? Word is we may hear more (officially) about Mango, the first "major" update to Windows Phone 7.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

The Mobile World Congress show kicks off the week of February 14 and CEO Steve Ballmer will be keynoting that day. Since Microsoft won't have the "NoDo" update bits ready yet, what will the Softies have to crow about at the confab?

From what I hear, we may get to hear a bit more (officially) about "Mango" the first "major" update of the Windows Phone 7 platform.

I first mentioned Mango a while back, noting that Microsoft was aiming to deliver that release in August/September 2011. From what I'm hearing from my contacts, getting the code to handset makers and carriers in time to get the Mango release to market for holiday 2011 is still the goal.

I also noted previously that the goal with Mango was to deliver HTML5 support for Windows Phone 7. The vehicle for this, according to my tipsters, is IE Mobile 9.

Yes, Microsoft is going to play a very fast game of catch up on the browser front with Windows Phone 7. Currently, WP7 phones are running a version of IE Mobile, known as IE Mobile 7, which that is a variant of IE 7 with some IE 8 functionality added. But Windows Phone 7s running Mango will be running a mobile version of IE 9, Microsoft's latest, HTML5-compliant IE browser that the company is expected to release to the Web this spring.

(I am also hearing that Mango may not end up adding support for Silverlight in the browser, after all, in spite of earlier talk to the contrary. I guess that's to be expected, now that Microsoft is downplaying Silverlight as a cross-platform runtime. Silverlight will remain one of the primary development tools for WP7, however.)

There are other new features that may or may not be part of Mango that are coming for WP7. (Some folks are hearing there will be no updates between NoDo, the first WP7 update, and Mango. NoDo is now due in early March, according to my contacts. But others, like Windows Phone Secrets author Paul Thurrott, have heard there will be interim updates between NoDo and Mango.)

Multitasking support for third-party apps, integration of Twitter directly into the People Hub on the phones are supposedly coming, too, though my contacts seemed vague on exactly when. (With Mango? Some time before Mango? Post-Mango?)

Microsoft also may be talking about new/updated hardware requirements for Windows Phone 7 phones at MWC, MobileTechWorld.com is reporting.

Just in case anyone in Redmond was feeling generous, I asked Microsoft for comment on what my sources told me about its Mango plans and timetable. I was told by a spokesperson: "We have no comment on the rumors."

Guess we'll find out on Monday if the "rumormongers" are right....

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