Microsoft Unveils Windows Phone Update 'Mango'

Mango will be available for free to existing Windows Phone 7 customers.

Microsoft unveiled the latest version of its mobile phone software Tuesday as it seeks to claw back market share from Apple and Google.

The Redmond, Washington-based software powerhouse said the latest version of its Windows Phone operating system, code-named "Mango," offers more than 500 new features.

Mango will be available for free to existing Windows Phone 7 customers and will ship on new phones this fall from Samsung, LG and HTC and new partners Acer, Fujitsu and ZTE.

Microsoft said it is also working on Mango handsets with new partner Nokia, the Finnish mobile phone titan which announced in February that it would begin using Microsoft's software as its smartphone operating system.

Mango comes seven months after the release of the first smartphones running Windows Phone 7, which were well received by analysts but failed to catch on with the public.

Mango uses Internet Explorer 9 as the phone's Web browser and attempts to simplify the smartphone experience.

Microsoft said Mango organizes information "around the person or group people want to interact with, not the app they have to use."

It allows users to switch between text, Facebook chat and Windows Live Messenger and integrates Twitter and LinkedIn feeds.

Mango also includes "built-in Facebook check-ins and new face detection software that makes it easier to quickly tag photos and post to the Web," Microsoft said.

Technology research company Gartner said last month that Google's Android mobile operating system will power nearly half of the smartphones worldwide by the end of next year with a 49.2% market share.

The market share for Apple's iPhone's was forecast to remain relatively stable at 18.9% in 2012.

Microsoft's Windows mobile operating system will account for 5.6% of the smartphone market at the end of 2011 but will rise to 10.8% in 2012, according to Gartner.

Copyright by Agence France-Presse, 2011

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