The beta of Windows Phone 7.1 codename “Mango” was released last week and in this post I’ll write down my experiences with Mango that I had using it since the launch of the beta.
I’ll try to update this post when I bump into stuff I didn’t write about yet.This post isn’t about describing all new stuff since there are already dozens of other great blog posts about that but I’ll try to write my opinions about how these features are working out or what I am still really missing in Mango.
Lots of small features that make your life easier:
One of the things I enjoy the most about Mango are the small things that really annoyed me with the 7.0 release of Windows Phone 7, for example the shutdown button that automatically turned of your phone even when the phone is locked. Now in Mango you have to slide down after pressing the power button so no more turning off your phone by accident. Also there is an option to set the pin timeout a bit longer so you don’t have to type in your pin every time you want to use your phone (15 minutes is max when you have policies applied).
One small feature I didn’t read about but seems missing is setting up the mail sync times. On my old phone I used to sync mail automatically with push mail between 7:00 and 23:00 so my phone wouldn’t make so much noise when it’s next to my bed when I’m sleeping. I haven’t found this feature so I think this is a big miss for the Mango release.
Facebook integration was already great in 7.0 but it just got even better. The threading functionality sounds great but for some reason with US/English and Dutch live accounts something doesn’t seem to work. I really can’t wait for this to start working because seeing this in the movies is so nice!
The “Me” live tile became a lot more useful in Mango because you can get messages in the tile about new updates you have on Facebook. also when clicking on the tile you can use Facebook check in with only a few finger presses.
The use of groups is also added in Mango but I haven’t used this yet. I can keep up with my social updates but maybe this will change when twitter will start working in the retail version of Windows Phone 7.1 (In the Mango Beta twitter integration is not yet available).
Other integration will also be available like LinkedIn but this doesn’t seem to work for me in the Beta either.
Up until now I only had the English language available which is ok if you only type in English. Since 50% of my communication is in Dutch I really enjoy the added Dutch dictionary added in Mango!
Before Mango I can’t say I actually used the Bing button other then pressing it by accident. but now 4 new cool features are added that seem to work really good. One of the features that I was really looking forward to is “Bing Vision”. With Bing Vision you can scan barcodes, qr codes, text but also books, cd’s and dvd’s. When you can a book you can automatically open apps like amazon to order this book or get more info about the book. Really great!
Besides Bing Vision there is also a button to listen to music like Shazam did in 7.0. Now this feature is build in and is working pretty good. There is also a “Nearby” feature added to Bing to get nearby restaurants, things to see, hotspots etc but there is no Dutch content yet so I only get the nearest locations in Germany….
The last option that is added to Bing is the voice to text search. but I don’t really see the big use of this. when I tested it it made a lot of mistakes and in the same time I could write it.
What can I say… the old browser in wp7 was a disaster. All other mobile browsers were far superior but now IE9 mobile uses the exact same rendering engine as the desktop version so it is a great improvement. It can render HTML5. has more screen space because the address bar is moved to the bottom (Would hope there would be an option to hide it though to get even more space when reading for example). also when browsing in landscape mode you can now use the address bar which wasn’t possible in 7.0. You can now also pin websites to your homescreen for fast access to certain websites you use often.
I have seen a lot of movies and demo’s about cool apps using Mango features but there is no possibility to test those myself except for writing your own apps of course (which I will do!) I do have really high expectations about these apps and all the new features
One major issue a lot of people were missing are tasks but now this is added to your calendar hub and can be synced with exchange.
I’ve read a lot about new features in the games hub and the integration with Xbox live but since my Xbox Gamer tag live id is Dutch it’s not possible to use this yet. The list of games is cleaned up though and is looking a lot better than it did in 7.0
What is not in but needs to be in?
The one super major thing I really need is Tethering. I can understand not all providers can appreciate this feature but I used it on windows mobile 6.5 and now with the same provider I can’t use it anymore. that’s a bit shame!
the other thing I already mentioned and that is setting up times to sync your stuff and times it shouldn’t but it seems I’m the only one wanting this feature
Loads more is in!
Steve Balmer promised us 500 new features so I only touched on this a little but but I hope you enjoyed reading my first opinions about Mango and the Beta. I see a bright feature for WP7