Microsoft showed off the latest iteration of Windows Phone 7 today. The build, codenamed "Mango," claims to bring over 500 new features to the platform, which go beyond the previously-reported enterprise solutions (which, on their own, were pretty substantial already).
Notable changes include:
Internet Explorer 9. Mango gets a new mobile version of the desktop staple, featuring HTML5 support, full hardware acceleration and Silverlight 4 support, among others.
Web search integration. The release adds services like Local Scout (for hyperlocal search results and establishment recommendation), even tighter Bing integration (Vision, Music and Voice), app connection into search results, and Quick Cards (product, movie, event and place search).
Messaging improvements. Text message, Facebook chat and Live Messenger chat exchanges can now be grouped under the same conversation thread. Other new additions include a linked inbox for grouping multiple email accounts, hands-free text and chat, and tighter native integration for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Improved Live tiles. You can now show real-time information from apps and contacts just from the tiles themselves, which are now more dynamic and capable of holding more information.
Multitasking. Apps can now be run in the background with minimal impact to both battery life and performance.
Microsoft says that Mango (which will officially be Windows Phone 7.1) will be available free to all Windows Phone users. It will begin shipping with all new phones released in the fall. Additionally, the Mango rollout will also mark the expansion of the Windows Phone Marketplace into 18 new countries, including Brazil, Russia, South Africa, Japan and Korea.