Microsoft lets slip new features in Windows Phone 7.5

Microsoft today sent out their regular developer communication newsletter to the community and let slip of a few features we haven't previously heard of for Windows Phone.

We recently discovered that Windows Phone 7 OS "Mango" is to be called Windows Phone OS 7.5 officially, and would be coming with multitasking support, IE9 + full HTML5 support as well as Twitter integration and massive improvements for developers. In the email today, Microsoft added that Mango would also bring "support for real time communication and messaging and a broader connectivity to Skydrive." We aren't clear what this is, but it sounds like Microsoft will be implementing OS-wide chat (this could be Windows Live Messenger or even Facebook Chat as we've previously reported), as well as utilizing the "Messaging" hub for all aspects of communication rather than just text messaging. The update also is likely to implement better support for accessing files already stored in Skydrive. 

On top of this, the email states that "the new Windows Phone Marketplace experience will include an improved design with panes and more panoramas, a better search experience with autocomplete queries and search results grouped by app, music, or games sections. A new jump list and a soft-search button will make it easier to find installed apps on Windows phones." This implies that the menu system for applications may be overhauled, and the marketplace will see a design refresh in the latest release.

Finally, Microsoft said in the email that the Windows Phone Marketplace will extend from 16 to 35 countries in the new release, including Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, India, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and Taiwan. 

According to Microsoft, the latest version of the Windows Phone developer tools (which includes Mango support) will be available sometime in May. Exciting times ahead for Windows Phone owners!

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