Windows Phone 7 Mango review: First Look

Microsoft has unveiled its Mango update to Windows Phone 7 and we take a sneak peek at some of its new features.

Security conscious IT administrators who use Exchange 2007 or 2010 servers will be pleased by the ability to enforce rights management controls. So, for example, users could be prevented from forwarding emails to users outside the company and from saving attachments locally to their phone.

The Office Hub now has the ability to work with documents stored on SkyDrive and Office 365, as well as SharePoints. It's unlikely though that Microsoft will add the ability to work directly with third-party cloud storage services such as Dropbox.

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Internet Explorer has been updated to version 9, matching its desktop counterpart. Microsoft claims the mobile browser shares much of the same code as its bigger cousin, which should make life easier for web developers and should help pages look more consistent for users. The browser should now be HTML5 compatible too, so websites should be able to take advantage of a phone's hardware such GPS and accelerometers.

Microsoft also claims significantly increased HTML5 rendering speeds over the iPhone 4. In an onstage demonstration a pre-production Windows Phone Mango handset managed 25fps in a rendering speed test compared to just 2fps on an iPhone 4.

The Bing Local Scout feature in Windows Phone Mango

The Local Scout feature presents Bing search results in a much more useful way than a results list

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One of the most interesting Mango features is its integration with Bing, such as the Local Scout feature. After keyword searching the web using Bing, simply swipe to the Local tab and a list of nearby businesses, such as restaurants or shops, will be listed. Tap on the name of a business and a summary of basic information, such as phone number and opening hours, will be presented.

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So what are our first impressions?

Verdict

The new email and calendar features are undoubtedly the most impressive additions in Windows Phone Mango. They will not only appeal to business users, but also show that Windows Phone is at its best when working with other Microsoft products and services. The other new features, especially multitasking and the Local Scout Bing integration, are welcome but they're not different enough from other smartphone operating systems. Existing Windows Phone 7 users will get Mango for free when it's released in the autumn. Users tempted to switch may be better off waiting for details of the anticipated iOS 5, almost certainly due to be revealed in the next few weeks, and Android Ice Cream Sandwich before making a decision.

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