With Microsoft Mango, the focus is on social media

Mango makes any Windows Phone a social media machine, Microsoft says.

Mango, the latest iteration of the Windows Phone mobile OS, has about "500 new features," Microsoft says. Here, a bowl of real mangoes.

Mango –– a foodstuff, native to certain tropical regions, and also the latest iteration of the Windows Phone mobile operating system. Yesterday, Microsoft took the wraps off Mango, which company reps promised had about "500 new features," including social media integration, a linked inbox, and "threads," which gather texts, Facebook chats and Windows Live Messenger snippets into a single conversation.

The smartphone experience, reads the official Mango press release, can often be a "sea" of disconnected apps, "from calls, texts, email and instant messages to status updates, Tweets, check-ins, photo posting and tagging. To help people stay on top of that growing complexity, the Mango release organizes information around the person or group people want to interact with, not the app they have to use."

So Mango is comprehensive, full-featured, and geared towards the ever-increasing amount of folks who chatter across a variety of platforms. But as Computerworld's Matt Hamblen notes, Mango is also much snappier than its rivals.

"If you're a speed nut (and who isn't?), you might appreciate that Mango is running a full desktop version of the IE9 browser, not a mobile variation," Hamblen notes. "Microsoft demonstrated this IE9 capability in Mango in April for Windows Phone developers, who cheered when a browsing speed test favored Windows Phone over phones running Android, BlackBerry and iOS. Again on Tuesday, a speed test favored Windows Phone on Mango and IE9."

In February, Microsoft and Nokia announced that Windows Phone 7 software will soon power all Nokia phones, effectively making the global cell phone market a "three horse race" between the Apple iPhone OS, Google's Android, and Microsoft-Nokia. Still, in the US, Windows Phone –– even with the Mango upgrade –– has some catching up to do before it can topple market leader Android.

Windows Phone user? Interested in upgrading to Mango? Drop us a line in the comments section. In the meantime, for more tech news, sign up for the free Innovation newsletter, which is emailed out every Wednesday.

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