Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) Adds Bing, Social Integration

Microsoft's long-expected OS update for Windows Phone (code-named Mango) has been released. Among other major features, users will find deep integration with both social features and a mobile-tuned Bing search.

Microsoft Marries 7.5 with Bing

windows-phone-7-mango-bingThose who love Bing will enjoy the new features of WP OS 7.5, while those who aren't a fan of the Microsoft search engine – well, probably shouldn't have bought a Microsoft-branded phone in the first place. But Bing fans will enjoy further pairing of Bing search and new mobile-specific Bing features in the updated OS.

The Bing features include voice recognition (although it's no match for Siri), music recognition (with a paired audio-based music search), and "Bing Vision" (a feature much akin to Google Goggles but that also gives the option to select text captured in the image).

But the area of greatest emphasis is Bing's revamped Local Scout, which Microsoft described as going "hyper local." The updated tool lets users quickly find top-rated locations, restaurants, attractions, and stores in their area.

Bing has had no shame about promoting its own search engine through its other developments, including Bing features on Windows and Xbox 360.

Mangoes Migrate Across the Social Divide

Computerworld describes the Windows Phone 7 as "a complete, polished operating system rather than a work in progress." Beyond the Bing features and integration emphasized by Microsoft, Gralla states that "Social networking is now woven through the entire Windows Phone experience."

That weave includes improved capabilities for handling the multitasking required by Twitter, Facebook, and other networks; an improved contact screen that imports data from social interactions; the ability to seamlessly switch conversations from Facebook chat to SMS and vice versa; and integration of Facebook events with the WP7 calendar.

Although the WP7 with Mango didn't receive the full 10 points, Computerworld emphasized the great strides Microsoft's shot at mobile has made, concluding that, "[I]f you're looking for a smartphone with a task-based approach rather than an app-based one, you'll find Windows Phone 7.5 Mango to be a solid OS."