In preparation for the rollout of the "Mango" operating system update for existing Windows Phone users which is expected this week -- mostly likely starting on September 27 -- Microsoft officials are laying the groundwork.
Will there be much of a difference between the near-final Mango bits and the RTM bits? Microsoft officials have been coy when asked. There have been a couple of features, like tethering support, which have been unearthed in recent months but that are not currently supported in the Mango developer release.
Announcements by various handset makers of ew phones preloaded with Mango have been trickling out over the past few weeks. Most of these new phones are expected to begin shipping starting in October.
Update No. 2: Just in case it's not clear, even though Microsoft is making it easy for those who got the Mango bits on their phones by various means, the company is still not advocating that users jailbreak their phones. The official word: “We encourage people to use their Windows Phone as supplied by the manufacturer to ensure the best possible user experience. Attempting to unlock a device could void the warranty, disable phone functionality, interrupt access to Windows Phone 7 services or render the phone permanently unusable.” That said, it seems those who got access to the developer version (7712) WP Mango bits "by whatever means necessary" should be OK in moving straight to the final Mango release.