Microsoft has finally laid the rumors and speculation to rest in a blog post, which states that its Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) update will be dropping within the next couple of weeks.
Eric Hautala, Microsoft’s General Manager in Customer Experience Engineering, also took the opportunity to warn consumers not to download and install bootleg versions of Mango, since handset manufacturers will also add their own software – which has been “painstakingly tuned” for each different device – during the update process. He said that those who download unofficial leaks run the risk of certain apps and features malfunctioning, adding, “since your phone requires the proper firmware to function as designed, my advice is simple: steer clear of bootleg updates and homebrew tools.”
Those looking to upgrade when Microsoft finally releases it will need the recently updated Windows Phone 7 connector for Mac or the Zune Software for PCs, links of which can be found at the bottom of this post. Both contain update-related improvements which not only make the whole process faster, but give users more in terms of options when backing the device up.
In spite of the two week forecast, different sources note that carriers have appeared to suggest that some of those firmware updates are still incomplete, and could potentially take as long as four weeks to complete – something which could leave users with certain providers waiting even once Mango is released.
Microsoft indicated last week that the Mango update was arriving very soon, and urged developers to begin pushing their Mango-friendly apps to the Marketplace, which has already begun.
Amongst the droves of new and improved features, Mango allows users to create contact groups, view various types of messages (e-mail, SMS etc.) in one unified inbox, as well as easily switch between multitasked apps. Microsoft Exchange support has also been improved to allow users to search for their e-mails on server.
The Redmond-based outfit has sought to endorse and incorporate Skype into all of its ventures since the highly publicized $8.5 billion acquisition of the telecommunications software company a few months ago. The Mango update is no exception, and will support Skype calling, so expect many, if not all future Windows Phone handsets to sport a front-facing camera.