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Windows Phone Mango adds dancing Xbox Live avatars in new Games Hub

Microsoft has given us a taste of the revamped Games Hub in the Windows Phone Mango update, adding dancing avatars and improved Xbox Live features.

Microsoft has given us a taste of the revamped Games Hub in the Windows Phone Mango update. Mango adds dancing avatars and improved Xbox Live features.

The new Games Hub absorbs a number of features previously only found in the Xbox Live Extras app, so you can edit your main profile from your phone, connect with friends and compare achievements. It also features animated 3D avatars.

Your avatar waves at you, yawns if it's bored, hides behind other parts of the screen, and lashes out if you bother it too much. Shake your phone and the avatar dances, or possibly faints.

Messaging has been improved, and avatar faces will mimic emoticons in messages. Receive a message with a :D in it, and you'll see your avatar's face light up in delight.

The streamlined interface uses the clean 'Metro' styling that Microsoft is using across its Windows Phone and new Windows desktop software. You'll see an improved list of your games, with large icons on the left. A new 'recent' category lists the last three games you've played, for quick access to the titles you're currently into.

Mango also improves Bing search, with features like Bing Audio searching for music you hear as you go about your day. Like Google Goggles, Bing Vision turns the phone's camera into a search engine. Multitasking is now built-in, and the colourful live tiles on the home screen will show more information.

Windows Phone is set to appear on phones from HTC, Sony Ericsson and Nokia. In the meantime, take a bite out of Mango by ogling our Windows Phone Mango hands-on video.