Windows Phone Mango rolls out early as next week

Microsoft blog post foretells the rollout of Windows Phone Mango, the significant software update to the current OS.

Samsung Focus

Taking rumors and speculation about the timing of Windows Phone 7.5 Mango in its own hands, Microsoft announced today that the update to the bold new mobile operating system will hit "in the next week or two."

The word comes from Eric Hautala, general manager for customer experience engineering, in a post on Microsoft's official Windows Phone blog.

Windows Phone Mango won't update all at once, though. Instead, Microsoft plans to roll it out across its various carriers.

Back in June, CNET went hands-on with a preview version of Mango on a Samsung Focus. Among other things, the version 7.5 OS update brings threaded messaging, a unified message in-box, and clever app integration in strategic spots throughout the system. There's also an app-switching function, a neat built-in bar-code scanner, and a browser refresh with IE 9.

In addition to existing phones receiving Mango, like the Samsung Focus and HTC HD7, this fall will bring new phones with Mango already baked in, like the HTC Titan and Radar and the Samsung Focus S and Focus Flash.

Microsoft's fresh take on its mobile OS has been struggling to catch on while many hold out for it to mature. It doesn't help matters that the handsets themselves tend to fall in the higher end of the middle range, leaving very few choices for early adopters who also crave superpremium devices. However, at least some are wondering if Mango is ripe for the picking, according to data released by NPD.

While that's good news for Microsoft, this little nugget is even more telling: almost half (45 percent) of the people NPD polled weren't even familiar with Windows Phone.

With Mango imminent and new devices on the way, Microsoft had better change that.

Updated, 10:50 a.m. PT with more information.