Windows Phone 7, Day 6: Let the 'Mango' Games Begin!

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30 Days With Windows Phone 7: Day 6

OK. Things are about to get serious. The first few days of the 30 Days With Windows Phone 7 series have been playing around with a soon-to-be-outdated version of the OS, but now thanks to Microsoft and Federal Express I've got my hands on a Samsung Focus running the new Windows Phone 7.5 version of the OS--a.k.a. "Mango".

I realize this series is dedicated to the Windows Phone 7 OS, and not the diverse selection of hardware on which the OS runs, but I must say that right off the bat I prefer the Samsung Focus over the HTC HD7S. I didn't have any problems with the HTC during the week or so I have been using it, but the Focus just feels much more comfortable in my hand. I also ran some side by side trials and found the Focus to be noticeably faster than the HTC HD7S.

With "Mango" in hand, the 30 Days With Windows Phone 7 series is about to shift gears.
But, I digress. When I open up the "Mango" version, it really doesn't look any different than the NoDo version I have been using. They both open to some random wallpaper image that came pre-installed with Windows Phone 7, with the time and date displayed prominently. At the bottom, if there are any new emails or text messages I should know about an icon appears to notify me.

When I swipe up to get into the start screen the similarities continue. They both have the same live tiles interface with essentially the same default tiles. One difference is that the HD7S has a large tile for the HTC Hub, while the Focus has a large tile called Now which accesses weather, news headlines, and stock updates. I am not sure if that difference is between NoDo and Mango, or between HTC and Samsung, or both.

But, rumor has it that there is a night and day difference between Windows Phone 7 "NoDo", and Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango". This is a major update--with more than 500 tweaks and improvements over its predecessor.

While the 500 updates range from minor to major, apparently most--if not all--of them are subtle. Maybe not subtle, but they don't appear to fundamentally change the basic look and feel of the interface, and there doesn't seem to be anything that specifically jumps out to announce whether you are looking at Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango" or an older version of the mobile OS.

Many analysts predict that Windows Phone 7 will eventually surpass Apple's iOS to take the number two smartphone spot behind Android--and if that is going to happen it is going to be "Mango" that drives it. So, now the fun begins. I will pop the hood on "Mango", kick the tires, and see what the new Microsoft mobile OS has to offer and whether it can live up to such high expectations.

Read the last "30 Days" series: 30 Days With Google+

Day 5: Taking Apps Out for a Test Spin

Day 7: Tie Messaging Together With Threads

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