We got a look at Windows Phone Mango--now also known as Windows Phone 7.5--before Microsoft's OS update rolls out this fall. Apps gain new life outside of the Marketplace in Mango, also showing up as search result suggestions for relative searches for movies, businesses, and products.
You'll also be able to find relevant apps in a new section in the Music + Video and Photo hubs, so long as the publishers have enabled the feature on their end. It may take time to see the list populate after Mango's launch.
Windows Phone Marketplace gets some enhancements as well, including new search suggestions as you start to type. Music matches predominate, but you can also reduce your typing when searching for games, apps, and podcasts.
A neat idea with unfortunately inconsistent results, Bing Vision can scan bar codes, QR codes, Microsoft tags, covers of books, CDs, DVDs, magazines, and posters for deeper searching. It will also attempt to translate text.
Internet Explorer 9 gets some back-end changes to speed performance and protect privacy, but what users will immediately notice is the newfound ability to upload Web links to social networking sites, such as Facebook, for instance.
Though we weren't able to try this feature out, Windows Phone 7.5 will bring Twitter and LinkedIn integration to the People hub. Tweets and status updates will show up in the What's new pane, just like in Facebook.
E-mail threads are now grouped together, so you no longer have to scroll through every single message trying to find a response. Each thread is clearly marked and can be easily expanded and collapsed with a tap of the screen.
One of our favorite things about Windows Phone is the Zune integration, and it only gets better with Mango. A new feature called Smart DJ creates playlists using the content on your phone (or the Marketplace if you're a Zune Pass subscriber) based on what you're currently listening to.
Currently on Windows Phone 7, you have to download an extra app from the Marketplace to customize your 3D avatar, view your achievements, and connect your friends. However, this will be standard out of the box with the Mango update.