Getting Ready for Mango

So now that Mango is so close to release, with some Windows Phones rumored to get it today, I think now is the time to introduce non-Mango wielding Windows Phoners to some of the ins and outs of this new OS. Though it is not a complete revamp of the Windows Phone experience, enough has been changed that using the OS is a different experience. Here are my thoughts randomly chosen and randomly ordered.

Live Tiles

As most of you know live tiles have seen a very strong upgrade in Mango. Not only are they able to show more information in a more dynamic fashion, individual apps can now spawn multiple live tiles. For example, if any of you use RSS feeds each feed can spawn its own updating live tile.  My only concern with using lots and lots of Live Tiles is one I have found from personal experience. The more live tiles you pin in Mango, the less time you will get from your battery. This is especially true of apps like Wonder Reader which pull data in the background.  Right now there are already an assortment of apps that take advantage of this new functionality, not least of is Wonder Reader which is demonstrated in video below. Some excellent examples to try out when you get Mango:

  • Wonder Reader
  • GReadie – RSS reader
  • Flixster – Pin Movies to Start
  • And we can’t forget all the excellent live tile improvements in the People Hub

Bing Search

Bing has been completely revamped in Mango. While the original Bing did only text search (there wasn’t even image search) Bing will now scan QR codes, it will identify music, and even using Local Scout to find nice places to take out your special someone. Personally, I am most excited about the search capabilities that exist with search within apps. While a few apps currently take advantage of this feature, look for this feature to an important part of the triple-A apps in the future

Background Audio

This is the big one. The original Windows Phone release, while an excellent platform, was not on par API-wise with the IPhone and Android. Mango changes this problem. I am not a developer and I know there are many other API improvements but this is the standout feature. Background audio is the most important to me and while few apps support this so far, there are a few that do. myMedia WP7 streams both video and audio from Tversity server to your windows phone and in its most recent update has brought background audio into the mix. I am also a subscriber of Sirius/XM radio and the Sat Rad Player now allows background audio. Though this is a simple addition to Windows Phone it is what I consider to be the most important.

Upcoming Apps

The missing pieces from Windows Phone lie in what is actually missing. The absence of some applications from this now mature platform is very noticeable.  I will mention the two missing applications that bother me the most, but there are plenty of smaller apps, like apps for every bank, or even large ones, like Instagram, that are missing.  My biggest gap is an Audible app. I have dozens of audiobooks and the continued lack of Windows Phone support has meant that I have to continue to carry my Zune hd. My hope is that now that Mango is out and problems with Audible’s drm have been solved and Microsoft is pushing for this app. The second is an Official Skype app. This has a more positive note as we have seen a demonstration of the app and with Microsoft buying Skype it is likely that Skype will be integrated into the OS. Lets hope that this happens sooner rather than later.

These are just a few of my thoughts on using Mango. I would love to see any reader’s take on their experience with the Mango beta or any questions that they might have. Happy Mango Day!!

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