The next major release of Windows Phone, internal codenamed “Mango” was Released To Manufacturing (RTM’d) earlier today. This milestone marks a major step in the process of Microsoft’s evolution in the smartphone marketplace, by adding in hundreds of new features and functions to the Windows Phone platform. What’s coming you ask? I put together a previous blog post covering some of the notable features and you can expect more details soon. My man Terry Myerson, the former lead of the Exchange Team, now running all aspects of Windows Phone Development, made the official announcement on the Windows Team blog which you can find here.
Updates for current Windows Phone devices will take place this fall after carriers (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, etc.) have gone through their testing process on their handsets and networks. This process typically takes ~90 days depending on your carrier, but there typically are no timelines for updates announced until official support for your handset becomes available which generally happens on a handset by handset basis.
As an aside, I got a chance to use a near-RTM version of Windows Phone Mango on a Samsung Focus device this past weekend and was truly amazed at the speed and usefulness of the embedded Internet Explorer 9 browser alone. The browser experience was faster an different than any other mobile device I’ve used before as it takes advantage of hardware acceleration and HTML5. Truly the best phone based browser experience I’ve seen and I’ve seen the competition in market and once you see the side-by-side comparison, I’m sure you’ll agree.