Microsoft Adding Free Voice-Guided Navigation to Windows Phone

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Microsoft has revealed that the next update to Windows Phone will add voice-guided navigation and new Bing search integration, among other new features. The company has already announced that this version, code-named “Mango”, will include greater support for multi-tasking.

The new details became available in a recent, official Windows Phone developer podcast, which featured an interview with Microsoft’s Director of Developer Experience Brandon Watson prior to the release of the additional details about the upgrade.

Windows Phone 7.5 with Voice Guided NavTurn-by-Turn Voice Guided Navigation
Possibly the most exciting and useful function that will come in the Mango upgrade is voice-guided, turn-by-turn GPS capability, which will make smartphones running the Windows Phone OS significantly more capable of doubling as a user’s main navigation device.

This is a feature that Google builds into its Android OS via the free Google Maps app. None of the other major smartphone operating systems have it yet, though.

More New Features
Two new methods to search Bing should also be available in the Mango update. The first is called Bing Audio, which will allow users to play a song and have Bing identify/search for that tune. There will also be a feature called Bing Vision, which can be used to scan QR Codes, barcodes, Microsoft Tags, and text, and then search for the image using Bing.

The newest update to Windows Phone will also allow users to speak their text messages and have them transcribed, rather than typing the message. Again, this is a feature that Google pioneered in Android.

Other Details on the Update
News of these updates comes on the heels of other details that were revealed by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at his MWC keynote, and Vice President Joe Belfiore during an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

Between statements made by Ballmer and Belfiore, we can expect Mango to feature greater multi-tasking support, more Twitter integration, support for developers to create live tiles for their apps, to name just some of the already-known planned updates.

A Mango by Any Other Name
While the next version of Windows Phone is currently sporting the moniker Mango, this will not be the official name of the OS. Current speculation points toward it officially being referred to as Windows Phone 7.5.

Whatever the name, the release of this update is by no means imminent, as Microsoft struggles to fully implement and update the current version of the Windows Phone 7 OS.

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