Mango: The latest Windows Phone 7 OS ships to manufacturers

Mango, the latest iteration of the Windows Phone 7 OS, is expected to arrive on phones this fall.

Mango, a.k.a. Windows Phone OS 7.5, is set to hit the market sometimes this fall. But a Mango development kit has already been sent out to manufacturers. Here, a giant mango, of the fruit variety.

Mango! It has arrived. Not for most of us – that won't happen until later this year – but for the manufacturers who will be loading up the latest Windows mobile OS on their shiny new handsets. In a post on the Windows Phone blog, Microsoft exec Terry Myerson confirmed the development team had signed off on a Mango RTM kit – release to manufacturers, in geek patois – and said the OS will be officially rolled out sometime in the autumn.

"This marks the point in the development process where we hand code to our handset and mobile operator partners to optimize Mango for their specific phone and network configurations," Myerson announced. "Here on the Windows Phone team, we now turn to preparing for the update process. The Mango update for current Windows Phone handsets will be ready this fall, and of course will come pre-installed on new Windows Phones."

Myerson kept the details on Mango to a minimum, but he did tick down a few of his favorite features, including app multi-tasking; Internet Explorer 9 capability; a "conversation view," which allows users to "efficiently participate in long email discussions with my friends and co-workers"; and something called "Threads," which groups together posts and updates from various social media platforms.

As we noted back in May, when Mango was first unveiled, this is very much a social media-centric operating system. Consider the initial press release, which argued that the smartphone experience was too often a "sea" of disconnected apps. "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," Microsoft reps wrote.

Fair enough: Windows Phone is certainly ascendent. According to IDC, an analytics firm based in Massachusetts, 450 million smartphones will be shipped globally in 2011, a big leap over the 303.4 million smartphone units shipped in 2010. And as the market surges forward, one of the big winners will be Microsoft, which IDC expects to be the second most popular mobile OS in the world by 2015.

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