In addition to talking up Windows tablets and slates at the January Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Microsoft execs also are expected to use the conference to give another push to Windows Phone 7. But the first "major" update to the WP7 platform may not hit until August or September of 2011, my sources claim.
In recent weeks, there have been rumors of both January and February "minor" Windows Phone 7 updates. I'm also hearing talk of a major fall update (codenamed "Mango"), which will precede Windows Phone 8 (codenamed "Apollo"), slated for late 2012.
The Mango update is supposedly bigger than the January and/or February update, according to my sources. Mango is more like a Windows Phone OS 7.5 -- and may even be named that when it debuts.
I'm thinking the January/February update might actually be a single update. That first update is supposedly how Microsoft will deliver copy and paste to users. WinRumours.com reported recently that a possible second update will introduce enhanced developer controls for applications, access to programming interfaces that will allow for greater multi-tasking, in-app downloads and better customization.
Mango, according to tipsters, will add Silverlight run-time and HTML 5 support to Windows Phone 7, Far Eastern language support and other features and functionality. (Silverlight already is the primary development platform for Windows Phone 7 devices, but a Silverlight browser plug-in isn't yet available for the phones.)
I'm wondering if it also might add more enterprise functionality, as the first Windows Phone 7 devices are consumer-focused phones, as Microsoft execs themselves have acknowledged. The first crop of Windows Phone 7 devices only support a subset of Exchange ActiveSync's feature set, for example. As Windows Phone Secrets author Paul Thurrott recently noted, Microsoft officials have said they plan to gradually flesh out that list.
To be clear, none of this information is being confirmed by the Softies. I asked Microsoft for comment on its Windows Phone 7 CES plans, as there is talk that CES might be the launching pad for the first Verizon and Sprint CDMA Windows Phone 7 phones. I also asked about Microsoft's plans for updates, including Mango, in 2011. I received no response.
What kinds of features do you think are on the 2011 "must add" list for Windows Phone 7 if Microsoft is to really jump start sales (which are currently thought to be under 500,000 devices)?