Mango Smoothie: Microsoft Eases Group Messaging With New Windows Phone

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Microsoft today unveiled Windows Phone 7.1 (aka Mango), which is all about “communication, applications, and the way we use mobile internet,” writes TechCrunch.

Boasting more than 500 (!) new features when it becomes available in “early fall,” the fruity-named mobile OS augments its current Facebook integration with LinkedIn and Twitter apps, and adds  local search and groups functionality that aims to make wireless communication smarter and easier.[more]

Microsoft’s first Mango commercial, which you can watch above, begins:

The phone that changed everything has something to say.

A smarter way to connect and share with the people that matter most.

Threads: Text, Facebook chat and Messenger. (The video shows a screenshot of contacts labeled as “available” or “away” — while the fine print says “Sequences shortened. Screen simulated.”)

Groups: Your social circles, simplified. 

Bringing you the apps you need right when you need them on your Start screen… (The blink-and-you’ll-miss-it fine print: “Apps from Marketplace. Data plan required. Carrier fees apply.” Screen shows ESPN, Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer.) While you’re exploring…  and the background. (Visuals: Bing search for School of Rock and the movie’s IMDB web page)

Browse the web quickly. Explore the world effortlessly. 

IE 9: Faster internet, to go. 

Bing + Local Scout. Live like a local even when you’re not. (The visuals here demonstrating Local Scout’s business search, below, unfortunately show the just-about-to-shutter Woo Lae Oak restaurant in New York’s Soho district.)

Smarter and easier apps, web and communication.

Expect the unexpected. The new Windows Phone. Coming Fall 2011

(Fine print: Features and prices vary by phone, Windows Phone software, carrier and service plan.)

At the Mango press conference, meanwhile, the bigger message that Microsoft wanted to communicate with today’s press unveiling is the ease of flipping between apps, the web, and one-to-one or group communicating.

If a user wants to send a message to someone, Mango will automatically detect if that person is online to the user can select the best method of communication. If the intended recipient is signed into Windows Live, Mango will provide the option to send an instant message. If not, a text is sent instead.

The next release of Windows Phone also lets users group and categorize people, so users can send group texts or IM conversations to entire groups of family, friends, coworkers or other designated clusters.

“Our friends are people – they’re not apps,” Microsoft’s senior mobile product manager Greg Sullivan commented. “Mango makes it super easy to put people first then lets users chose the way they want to communicate.”

For more details, check out Microsoft’s Mango press release.

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