Microsoft has big plans for its Windows Phone 7 Mango update, all in the name of productivity.
Paul Bryan, a Windows Phone senior director, revealed a litany of new features coming to Windows Phone 7 in a blog post today, many of which are “designed to help you stay productive on the go.” For instance, building on the existing ability to bring Office documents together through the Office Hub, Mango will allow users to save and share Office documents through Office 365 and Windows live SkyDrive.
Other new features include the ability to pin specific email folders to the user’s live-tile home screen and, taking a leaf out of Google’s book, conversation view in email. This means that emails in the inbox will be organized by conversation, and threads can be viewed in their entirety rather than having each response separated into its own email (which is how Outlook currently handles email threads).
And for those emails that are so buried that they’re no longer even stored on the phone, Mango will allow users to do server searches for specific messages. In essence, users will now have access to all of their emails, regardless of whether or not they are stored locally.
With the update, there will also be the release of a free Lync Mobile app, bringing Unified Communications abilities to Windows Phone, which includes instant messaging and “the ability to see the presence of your co-workers.”
Capabilities for IT will have their moment in the sun as well, including support for complex (alpha-numeric) passwords, Information Rights Management support, and support for access to hidden corporate Wi-Fi networks.
With the arrival of Mango, users should see a stronger proliferation of apps for the Windows Phone platform as the update will introduce new capabilities and support for developers, including HTML 5 and Targeted Distribution of apps. Microsoft estimates that the number of apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace will exceed 16,000 this week and, when Mango drops later this year, that number will hopefully be even larger.