Today, Microsoft gave the world a preview of the new Windows Phone 7.1 on several Nokia devices. Dubbed “Mango” (what is it with smartphones and their edible names?), the new Windows 7 update boasts of 500 new features that enhance the smartphone experience, especially in apps, communication, and Internet use. For instance, Microsoft will be introducing conversation threads that will seamless transition between SMS, Facebook messaging, and MSN messenger chats so you can keep talking to the same person regardless of what communication platform you’re using. There will also be new contact group tiles that allow users to send quick IMs or emails to groups, and the dynamic information display of the revamped Live Tiles makes multitasking more smooth and efficient. Social network junkies will be delighted to find out that LinkedIn and Twitter will be integrated into contact cards, and that Mango will have built-in Facebook check-ins and a facial recognition software for easier tagging. In the internet browsing front, Mango will be equipped with Internet Explorer 9 and Bing. A more relevant, localized experience can be expected through features like Local Scout for restaurant and shopping recommendations, and Quick Card if you want to search for a movie, event, or product.
Mango is expected to ship on new phones this fall, while Windows Phone 7 customers can enjoy Mango for free. Between today and Mango’s release date, Microsoft will be adding support for additional language, expand to new markets through partnerships with OEMs, and launch Windows Phone Marketplace in new countries.