Following the announcement of the first devices from HTC and Samsung to run Windows Phone Mango, we thought it high time we explored some of the new features on this update.
Clearly, one of the biggest additions that Mango brings to Windows Phone is the ability to enable multitasking. This addition finally brings Windows Phone to the same level as Android and iOS – something many argue should have been here from the start. For developers, this creates an opportunity to build apps that run in the background whilst users are co-ordinating their lives from their devices. This means that for example, if you are on your way to a meeting, you’ll be able to check the latest information about the company you’re about to meet, then jump straight back into Windows Live Messenger to stay in touch with the office, all whilst the navigation software is telling you where you need to go.
At the launch of Windows Phone 7, one of the key differentiators from iOS and Android was the ‘Application Tiles’ interface, providing information to users whenever they glanced at their devices. With Mango, Microsoft has added the ability to have ‘Live Tiles’ where information loops via the Tiles flipping periodically. This is more than a bit of fanciful GUI, however. This interface allows users to have a far more engaging experience with their phones, accessing all of the information they need quickly and easily without needing to jump between apps.
These developments also feed into the ways push notifications can be delivered, as the new system means that developers can make Tiles update through the use of a notification. For example, when users update their Facebook profile photo, this updates their social tile on the homepage. Or if there is breaking news, users can be alerted via the news tile. This all makes Windows Phone even more personalised, but also opens up development opportunities regarding how best to update tiles.
This is the first article of a series of three looking at what Windows Phone 7 Mango is bringing to the table. The next one will be published tomorrow.