Microsoft Gets Ready To Unveil Mango Update

Starting Tuesday Windows Mobile phones will start to receive a software update, and while it won’t be a major update it is still better than nothing. Microsoft will show off these new features from the update called Mango that will be coming to Windows Phone 7 operating systems at an event in New York.

At this moment Microsoft’s mobile software is falling way behind that of Apple and Google. How Microsoft keeps staying with their Windows mobile phones is a mystery and shareholders have complained has been flat for over the last ten years.

Analyst at Gleacher & Co. in New York, Yun Kim said, “The two obvious overhangs on the stock that investors are focusing on are its lack of offering in the tablet market, which is the hottest trend in the consumer market, and smartphones. They are late to the game and trying to gain traction against iPhone.”

Aside from the tablet issue, Microsoft is expected to address these issues at a September developer conference along with the company’s partnership with one of the world’s largest phone makers, Nokia, which offers the most hope for its smartphone efforts.

The Windows Phone 7, which is a mobile operating system Microsoft sells to phone makers, has been available on phones for over seven months. Until Thursday, Microsoft couldn’t even say a Windows Phone is available on all the major U.S. wireless carriers.

AT&T Wireless and T-Mobile USA were the first carriers to start carrying the phone in the U.S., and Sprint just recently started selling one in February. Verizon Wireless, on the other hand, said they will start selling the phone online starting Thursday and in stores by June 2.

Angry Birds was due to be released for Windows Phone 7 Wednesday but unfortunately has been delayed until the 29th of June.

The last time Microsoft gave any sales figures for Windows Phone 7 was back in January. After the holiday shopping season was over, Microsoft said that over 2 million copies of Windows Phone software had been bought by phone makers. The phone makers then in turn sell the phones to the carriers, which sell them to the consumers.

However, instead of discussing Windows Phone sales, Microsoft has instead been publicly proclaiming the numbers have racked up by another device it makes, the Xbox Kinect, which has sold more than 10 million units.  Windows Phones clearly are not the Microsoft’s fastest selling device.

Gartner had said Thursday it estimates 1.6 million Windows Phones were sold during the first quarter of this year, which is only considered modest.

In comparison, Google stated that last week more than 400,000 people are buying an Android device, and there are now more than 100 million Android devices in use. Google has been offering Android, its operating system, to phone makers free.

In the first quarter, Android was installed on over 35 percent of smartphones that were shipped to wireless carriers, Nokia’s Symbian has 27 percent; Apple iPhone’s iOS  has 17 percent, RIM’s BlackBerry has 13 percent, while Microsoft has only 3 percent, according to the report from Gartner.

According to the research firm IDC has said that Nokia will give Microsoft’s chances look better over the next few years. If Microsoft can possible deliver a solid lineup on Nokia phones they could expect a fast growth by 2012 and also the potential for Windows Phone to get in second place behind Google’s Android operating system, which will be a first for them in four years.

Microsoft has said that they will be adding features in the update that is code named Mango. Back in February, Chief Executive Steve Ballmer said Twitter integration with the phone’s address book is coming, along with multi-tasking features and a mobile version of Internet Explorer 9. He also showed off a demo of the phone being used as a controller for the Xbox Kinect game.

Last month, the company said developers could build apps that can animate tiles on the phone’s home screen, along with adding that Bing’s search engine would be able to search not all websites but also through applications.

Recently, Microsoft had sent out an update that added basic copy and paste features along with improvements to the software’s speed. Owners complained however, that the update was late and Microsoft was slow to explain what exactly was going on. Eventually, they acknowledged that the update process had not gone the best and had apologized both online and also at the MIX developer conference.

“I would have to think the bigger thing that is hurting them is all this discussion about updating and problems,” said Michael Cherryan analyst at Directions on Microsoft, an independent research firm in Kirkland. “If they can roll out the next incremental improvement — well, if they can do it smoothly — it’s the thing people are asking for that could have a driving factor” in sales.


Seattle Times