Microsoft's Windows Phone OS is entering stage two - the Mango 7.5 update has started rolling-out to phones, and will arrive on most WP7 handsets by the end of October. But will it encourage more people to buy Windows phones?
Microsoft has started transmitting Mango updates for Windows Phones, although only around 10 per cent of users can get the new software right now. However, virtually everyone aboard the Windows Phone train will get the Mango treatment by the end of October. Part of this delay is caused by operators' need to test and fiddle with carrier-branded editions of the software - much like Android. The Windows Phone 7.5 Mango update will be transmitted as an OTA (over-the-air) download.
Steve Ballmer claimed that Mango adds a whopping 500 features to the young Microsoft OS - compared to "over" 200 added in Apple's upcoming iOS 5. Top additions include Wi-Fi tethering, to let you share your 3G connection as a Wi-Fi hotspot, multi-tasking for third-party apps and improved social network integration. It's a pity it has taken so long for Windows Phone to gain these features - Android and iOS offer them, have done for a while, and Windows Phone 7 has been around for almost a year.
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Whether these additional features will help Windows Phone gain traction in the market is yet to be proved. According to Kantar Worldpanel Comtech, Windows Phone 7 has just a 1.7 per cent share of the smartphone market, while CEO Steve Ballmer recently admitted that sales haven't been quite as hot as hoped.
Ballmer says WP7 just needs to kick it up to the next level
A big coup for Microsoft is Nokia's decision to support the OS. It will release its first Windows Phone before the end of 2011 - according to recent reports. Whether this is enough to turn things around is also uncertain. Nokia's N8 failed to challenge the sales of top handsets like the Samsung Galaxy S and iPhone 4, in spite of a stand-out, class-leading camera. We'll admit, though - we can't wait to get hold of it.