What a great week in Atlanta at TechEd 2011. As you made have heard, we disclosed a number of new capabilities this week that will become available in next version of Windows Phone, codenamed Mango. Of the new capabilities and enhancements that were announced, I think the integration with Microsoft cloud platforms and services, specifically Office 365, is important news. If you have not considered Office 365, I encourage you to sign up for a beta account and give it a try at www.office365.com.
Here is an overview of what we disclosed at TechEd. I will be updating the technical articles on the Download Center in the next month to reflect some of the new functionality.
Outlook Mobile will support conversation views and the ability to organize email automatically by conversation, using the real conversation ID from Exchange Server. Doing it this way, and not just simply sorting on the subject line, has the advantage that conversation rules in Outlook on the PC also apply to Outlook Mobile on Windows Phone. You cannot set them on the phone, though; you need a version of Exchange Server that supports this, either Exchange 2010 or Exchange Online in Office 365. This capability will make reading and managing conversations a lot easier.
Individual Outlook folders will be pinnable to the Start screen for quick access. So if you have a folder for a specific project that stores all email related to that project, you can easily access it directly from the Start screen. If new email arrives, the Start screen tile will let you know at a glance. 🙂
Server search will also be available so users will be able to search in the server for email messages that are no longer in their phones.
There will be Information Rights Management (IRM) support for both email and documents in Outlook Mobile and Office Mobile. This is a big subject, so I will write a separate blog on this and an article, too.
We have added complex password support, with associated Exchange ActiveSync policies, so organizations can implement this if they choose to.
We’ve also added built-in Office 365 auto discovery and auto provisioning capabilities, which will make it simple and easy to connect to Office 365 Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync services. We demonstrated Lync Mobile for Windows Phone for the first time. This Lync client will enhance Unified Communications with instant messaging and presence on the phone later this year. And did you know you can manage all the EAS policies in Office 365?
There were lots of Windows Phone activities at the conference. The Windows Phone booth in the expo received a lot of traffic, and there were demos and all the latest Windows Phone devices so attendees could give them a try. The Windows Phone educational sessions were well attended, and there were also many developer workshops. If you wanted to give app development a try, “From 0 to a Windows Phone App in Two Hours” was the best option. Windows Phone session information can be downloaded from the Microsoft TechEd North America website.
On the application platform side of Mango we also introduced “targeted distribution,” which will allow a developer to submit a Windows Phone app as “hidden.” As a result, the app will not be discoverable in Windows Phone Marketplace. The developer can then distribute a deep link to a targeted group of users, say employees of a company, and have them install the app using the deep link. This approach will give organizations the option to upload business-focused apps and get them to their employees.
Windows Phone is the smart choice for businesses. It integrates with existing Windows infrastructures and Office 365, apps can be developed quickly, and the most recent announcements lay a foundation for new productivity and collaboration possibilities powered by Office 365.
For more information, check out the following links: