Last week, we announced that Windows Phone 7 Codenamed “Mango” RTM’ed (RTM = Release to Manufacturing). This is great news for a number of reasons because Mango represents a very enticing update to Windows Phone 7 that in essence puts it at least on par with our competitors from a phone capability and experience perspective and even exceeds our competitors in a number of areas.
Some of you may have put Mango on your phone already (if you weren’t aware you could do this, check this link out as it provides some details around this process – just be aware that you need to be registered as a developer on the App Hub before you get an invite to the Beta program).
Below is a refresher of some of the great end user features that Mango introduces to Windows Phone 7:
- Multitasking: Even though Windows Phone 7 was always a multitasking OS, we have opened up the capability for third party vendors (that’s you!) to leverage multitasking in their apps
- Internet Explorer 9: Yup, the browser engine on our phone is basically the same browser engine that sits on your desktop (if you’re using IE9, of course!). Bring on the HTML 5 goodness!
- Conversation View: Have conversations with friends that span multiple services in a single thread. Start on Facebook, switch to text message and then to something else. It’s all reflected in a single conversation thread.
- Office 365 and deeper SkyDrive Integration: Share your documents and photos in the cloud with ease (and securely)
- Contact Groups: Have a lot of contacts in your address book? You can now group them into buckets (for example, family, co-workers, fantasy football league, etc.) which makes it easier to contact them either as a group or individually
- Improved Live Tiles: Get even richer notifications from the tiles on your home screen, including the use of agents which can give you timely information based on location, alarms, etc.
- Deep Linking into Apps: You can now pin an app to your homescreen and have that tile send you to a specific area of your app (for example, a flight status tracker for a flight you’re taking later that day within an airline app).
- Local Scout: Integrate search results for your app with Bing search. A great example for this would be a movie app integrating local scout search for finding movie theatres near you and displaying when the next showing of a movie your thinking of seeing starts
There’s a whole lot more that users will love and that you as a developer can leverage, but you get the idea.
So what exactly does the Mango RTM mean?
Basically, the build for Mango has gone gold and has been sent to OEM manufacturers to test and prepare their phones with the build for general availability to the consumer. We have also sent this build to our carrier partners around the world so they can certify the build and prepare their infrastructure for Mango so that their Windows Phone 7 customers can download the update when the carrier is ready. We are working very hard with both our OEM and carrier partners to make sure that Mango is available to consumers quickly and so far everything is very much on schedule so I’m pretty confident that anyone that wants Mango on their phone will be able to get it in a very reasonable timeframe.
For those of you wondering when Mango will officially launch, there is no one answer as we will be launching Mango via the carriers and each carrier will have its own timeline (and before you ask, I don’t have any info as to when that will be for Rogers, Telus and Bell ). The general target we are all looking at globally, however, is later in the 2011 calendar year.
By the way, any phone that has Windows Phone 7 on it today will be upgradeable to the Mango update. And the update is free.
As a developer what can I do?
If you have apps in our Marketplace today, you may want to take advantage of the new features that Mango introduces to make your apps more attractive to your users. Mango will be delivered to phones around the world soon, so if you want to take advantage of the new Mango features in your app by the time Mango is available to the average consumer, implementing some new functionality in your apps today would be a good idea.
If you don’t have an app/game in the Marketplace today or you intend to build another app that takes advantage of Mango in time for launch, then I would suggest start coding your app/game soon!
If you are completely new to Windows Phone 7 and want to start from scratch, there are some Windows Phone 7 Developer tutorials listed in a post by my Microsoft colleague in Lebanon that teaches you how to build apps and games on the non-Mango platform. Please note that these tutorials are still relevant in the Mango world (they just don’t take advantage of the features new to Mango) and are a great place to start!
If you’re a seasoned veteran in creating Windows Phone 7 apps, then the you may want to take a look at the amazing list of resources that Larry Lieberman, a Senior Product Manager on the Windows Phone teamdocumented to get you started on Mango. You can check out his post but I’ve also reproduced it here in case you don’t want to leave this site:
- Official Windows Phone Developer documentation on the MSDN Library. This is where we publish all of our official documentation. Quite a bit of new content was added here concurrent with our release of the new SDK, including:
- What’s new in the Windows Phone SDK
- Code Samples for Windows Phone; includes 26 new samples just for Mango
- Our ‘How To’ index. This is where we link to all of the specific pages within the documentation that explicitly spell out ‘how to’ implement a specific type of developer scenario. Many of these actually map to and spell out the execution of the sample code in the code samples. Some of the most interesting How To documents for Mango features include:
- SL & XNA together: How to: Combine Silverlight and the XNA Framework in a Windows Phone Application
- Profiler: How to: Improve the Responsiveness of Your Application Using the Windows Phone Profiler
- Fast App Switching: How to: Preserve and Restore Application State
- Database: How to: Create a Basic Local Database Application for Windows Phone
- Sockets: How to: Create and Use a TCP Socket Client Application for Windows Phone
- Sockets: How to: Create and Use a UDP Socket Client Application for Windows Phone
- Camera: How to: Create a Base Camera Application for Windows Phone
- Camera: How to: Extend the Pictures Hub with App Connect for Windows Phone
- Audio: How to: Play Background Audio for Windows Phone
- Periodic Agent: How to: Implement Scheduled Tasks for Windows Phone
- Motion API: How to: Use the Combined Motion API for Windows Phone
- Search Extensibility: How to: Extend Search with App Connect for Windows Phone
- Tiles: How to: Create, Delete, and Update Tiles for Windows Phone
- Windows Phone Mango Training Course. Now updated for beta 2 of the SDK. The Windows Phone Mango Training course, (like our previous training course for the initial release of Windows Phone 7), provides you step by step guidance, with complete sample code, demonstrating how to leverage the new developer scenarios in Windows Phone Mango to create a variety of real world applications. For the new training course, we decided to have the various labs all revolve around a single, more useful application, a task manager we called ‘Tidy’. You can get a video introduction to the ‘Tidy’ application here on Channel 9.
- The Inside Windows Phone Show on Channel 9. This show is our home on Channel 9, where we’ll provide you video walkthroughs of our new developer features, on a periodic basis. So far, we’ve conducted a number on Mango functionality, including the following:
- App Hub Game Developer Resources, updated for Mango. This page is where we centralize all of our Windows Phone game developer resources, and we’ve updated it for Mango. Here you’ll find the following items, (among others):