Mango is ripe, can Android can eat it?

6 minute read

There are many websites that have featured what's best in Mango update and the marketing team has described them beautifully on their website (written below). But this wouldn't be just yet another review on the Internet. So you can expect something more than just praises, and as the title suggests the review would have a comparison between Mango, Android and to some extent iOS.

Windows Phone Website:
http://windowsteamblog.com/windows_phone/b/windowsphone/

Mango is ripe, its time to eat!

Mango update has really brought Windows Phone back into competition.  The much awaited release brings in many cool features (which ideally should have been released in the first edition itself) though half-baked, such as :

People hub- A wonderful hub that lists your contacts and displays their updates from social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Windows Live.  It allows you to post a message directly to any of these networks, compose email, call, send text, or even chat with people in your contact list.

Data in People Hub is merely used as data.  You can enter birthday/anniversary date of your contacts in People Hub, but they do not automatically get added as reminders in Calendar.  Not too intelligent yet!

Populate matching names from phone book as you enter phone number would make dialing experience much better.

Email & Conversations -  Like Gmail, iOS and Microsoft Outlook 2010, Windows Phone offers you to view emails as conversations.  All your emails appear grouped by subject making it easier to view the entire mail chain. Your Inbox appears neat and clean with minimal items and you can quickly scroll down to archived mails.  You can now group your emails into Linked Inbox(es) based on your preferences.

Windows Phone has excellent Word, Powerpoint, Excel, and SharePoint (not that all consumers understand it) support.  But, oh dear, Outlook does not have formatting support.  You can compose an email in plain text, but can not do any formatting.

You can add attachments to your emails, but attachments could only be from your Pictures Hub and not from the documents you created using Office/downloaded from other emails.

How many items do we really email photographs taken on our phone?

Multitasking - It was initially frustrating to not be able to save game when receiving a call.  But multitasking was a great relief!  You could now run multiple applications now  in parallel without having to switch them off, or can switch to any running application without loosing the context.

Well you can now view multiple applications running on Windows Phone, but there is no way to close applications running in background unlike you could with Android.

Groups - Like Symbian OS, you can create groups of contacts. But wait!  You can not just send SMS to these groups, but view their activities on social networks, view their pictures, email, write on their wall and a lot more.

Multiple Calendars- Wow, that's great now. Outlook, GMail and other calendars, tasks, Facebook Events all are now visible in one place with different colors.

Facebook events can now be viewed in Calendar, great!  But, not birthdays. Unless you are too popular to mark Facebook events on your calendar, you would not enjoy this feature!  Seems the social integration needs a second leap.  Bring on the birthdays and anniversaries in the calendar too.

Local Scout -  This is 100% unique and by-far the best feature of the Mango release.  This is really good feature for those who love adventure like me.  You don't need to google your post code and find what's happening around you.  Let Local Scout do that for you! This new service finds you events, restaurants, fuel, shopping and entertainment joints around you.

Main Screen & Customization - Windows Phone always had the metro feel with Live Tiles, but with Mango it became even better.  With Mango, applications can create Secondary Tiles and you could not just launch your favourite applications from main screen, but also the favourite actions in those applications.

Unlike Android and Symbian OS Windows Phone does not allow you to change and customize Look & Feel of your main screen using themes, and profiles.  You still can not customize the background screen, the accent colors,  and the font size.

Bluetooth - Bluetooth is not yet mature even after Mango update.

You can only connect to your bluetooth headset, but you can't use Bluetooth to share pictures, data, files and anything else.  Not that many people would definitely use this, but then even a basic phone supports that! Android and iOS do too!

Internet Explorer - With HTML5 support, IE 9 really rocks.  You can view all HTML5 and legacy websites in Internet Explorer.  It is fast and web-browsing is really a great experience.

I would personally like IE 9 supporting Silverlight and Flash

Games - With XBox Live Games, Windows Phone has almost all the famous games Android, iOS, Blackberry platforms have.  The games have fantastic graphics, rarely crash and give you and your family a wonderful time together.
Camera - Mango release offers you to save your camera settings, tap anywhere to click a photograph, switch between 720p to VGA mode, switch on/off the camera shutter sound, and basic imaging features like cropping, contrast, colour balance, shadows and highlights.  The 8MP camera with a flash is not a true HDR camera as it takes single photograph and auto-fixes the picture to make it appear a HD-photo.   You can share the photographs very easily with your friends on Facebook/Twitter or upload it on SkyDrive too!

Battery Optimizer - This has been my saviour many times.  The new battery optimizer stops all the background activities/agents to use lesser battery and survive for 3-4 hours extra. So if you forgot to keep your USB cable with you or do not have a charging point nearby, you can rely on battery optimizer to energize your cell for some more time.

Applications - There is immense support from Microsoft for developing applications on Windows Phone platform.  The number of applications have grown by leaps and bounds (as per WP7applist) and that is really encouraging for a developer like me.  You can download and install the applications from Marketplace.

Oh wait! If you are thinking of trying applications, you will end up with a really looooonng list of applications that you have to scroll. Give us an icon menu, like every phone (I mean every!) does, to ease the navigation.

Navigation - If you own a Windows Phone and are thinking of buying a voice-based GPS navigation system, then you might as well re-think on that.  The Mango release brings to you a fantastic voice-driven navigation system (like Android Maps) using Bing Maps. What makes it really special is its integration with Local Scout that looks into the vicinty of your current position and finds you restaurants, fuel points, shopping, entertainment joints, etc.

A couple of basic features and more integration between its existing features would make Windows Phone more acceptable as a consumer phone.  But then lets face it, Android and iOS have matured over time and they too faced many hiccups when they were launched.  If Microsoft continues taking consumer feedback & releases upgrades to fix these minor issues, I think, over a period of time Windows Phone may give a tough fight to Android and iOS.

All the best to Windows Phone team

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