Microsoft releases Mango to manufacturing

Mobile OS development takes next step, but analyst urges firm to “get a move on.”

Windows Phone 7

The development of Microsoft's latest Windows Phone update, codenamed Mango,' has moved up to Release To Manufacturing (RTM) status.

Announced late yesterday, the RTM status moves the mobile operating system (OS) to a stage where mobile original equipment manufacturing (OEM) partners can optimise its development for upcoming smartphone handsets.

But it has brought Microsoft no closer to confirming a definitive final release for Mango, which would not do the software giant any good in making up ground already lost to rival platforms, like Apple's iOS and Google's Android, according to Quocirca principal analyst Rob Bamforth.

"Despite having a reasonably good platform that shows good promise, particularly as regards to the tablet space, the crucial thing for Microsoft is when will the update hit hardware. They have to get a move on," Bamforth told IT Pro.

"The RTM status is a good next step, but puts the development largely out of Microsoft's control as it's now in the hands of OEM partners."

The likes of HTC, Samsung, LG Electronics and Microsoft

Windows Phone strategic partner Nokia will now be key to the success of Mango, Bamforth said.

"Aligning software engineering cycles of companies as big as Microsoft and Nokia is a challenge," he added.

"I had been hoping Microsoft and Nokia would get their act together faster, because Nokia has a large market share that's going south and Microsoft has a small [mobile] market share that's going nowhere,"

Although rivals continue to eat into its share of the mobile market, Microsoft executives have previously suggested Mango would be finally released sometime this autumn. "But if they miss that window, it's looking very bad indeed," Bamforth said.

Terry Myerson, Microsoft vice president of Windows Phone engineering, who revealed Mango's RTM status in a post on The Windows Blog, wrote: "We now turn to preparing for the update process."

Myers also restated the Windows Phone OS improvements in Mango "that create a smarter and easier approach to communications and apps, while delivering the best web experience."

These new features include new email and thread views that bring together text, instant messaging (IM) and Facebook chat into one conversation, app multitasking, Internet Explorer 9 for fast web browsing and support for new HTML 5 websites.

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