Microsoft demonstrated the next revision of the firm’s Windows Phone smartphone operating system codenamed Mango.
Steve Ballmer had earlier told a developer conference in Japan that Mango would feature 500 new features in the update due to roll out to Windows Phone devices in the ‘fall’.
At a New York launch event on Tuesday morning, one of the themes of the upgrade was shown to be greater integration between the OS and applications with Microsoft mobile boss Andrew Lees saying: "We’re blurring the line between search and applications."
Describing the decidedly behind-the-times monotasking approach of the current Windows Phone OS, Lees admitted users were forced to "go app by app by app" and that it was "as if every time you wanted to go from the living room to the dining room, you had to go through the front door."
Unsurprisingly, then, Windows Phone is set to gain ‘threads’ which Microsoft said would make switching between text, Facebook chat and Windows Messenger possible in the same conversation. A feature not likely to draw envious looks from owners of rivals OS smartphones, iOS and Android.
Microsoft also signalled the incorporation of a raft of features which have also been available on rival smartphones but via third-party applications. The software giant appeared intent on pushing Microsoft services out to the phone through greater integration with Bing search functions including hands free voice search and music recognition.
The firm also announced the arrival of a ‘full version’ of the Internet Explorer 9 web browser which the firm claims will be the fastest mobile web browser. The recent acquisition of voice and video chat giant Skype is widely expected to also result in deep integration within Windows Phone but it seems the deal was too soon for Microsoft to go into detail.
That said Microsoft announced that the company is planning to unveil more details of Mango in the coming months and it seems a safe bet that chief among those will be Skype integration.