Getting to Know Microsoft Windows Phone 7.5
Microsoft and its Windows Phone platform have been relatively quiet over the past year, though that's about to change in the months to come. The Windows Phone 7.5 update, otherwise known as Mango, will be touching down anytime soon on your Windows Phone device. Our earlier hands-on session with the Mango update gave us a better idea of what Microsoft will bring to the table for the mobile OS.
Besides the various updates, developers have also been working closely with Microsoft to update their apps. These Mango-optimized apps tap into the basic features of the Windows Phone 7 such as Live Tiles; and with new features such as App Connect, they offer a much deeper integration into the OS mainframe. If you're interested to learn more about these updated apps, do check out our recent App Attack and gain some perspective to what the Mango update means to apps and their developers.
By now, you should be quite familiar with what Windows Phone 7.5 Mango is all about. Thus, we'll be skipping the introductions, and dive straight into the finer points of the Mango update. In particular, here are some pointers for you to familiarize yourself with the various new features on your Windows Phone, starting with a brief video summary, followed by our guide to the new features of Windows Phone 7.5 Mango.
As we've explained in our earlier hands-on, app multi-tasking is a major feature of the Mango update. To activate this feature, press and hold the Back button to bring up a thumbnail view of your recent apps. However, we realize that this feature acts more like putting an app to sleep, and resuming it when you wish to. While there are apps that will run in the background, most of the standard apps we've seen on the Mango firmware behave in the sleep-and-wake mode.
To activate multi-tasking, press and hold the Back button.
While this feature has been implemented since Windows Phone 7 was launched, we would like to re-iterate it. Pressing and holding onto the camera button, even when the device is locked, will bring up the camera app. This instant access cuts down on two unnecessary steps to reach the camera feature: unlocking the screen and clicking on the camera app.
If you're worried that this feature will unlock your device, fret not. A password-protected device will only limit the access to the camera, until the password has been entered. Also, if you're worried about accidentally pressing the camera button, which will unlock the phone without password protection, you can switch off this feature by going to Settings > Applications > Pictures + Camera, and select "Prevent accidental camera launch when phone is locked".
When the device is locked, press and hold the camera button to activate the camera.
Go to Settings > Applications > Pictures + Camera and select "Prevent accidental camera launch when phone is locked" to toggle this feature.
There are various sub-menus hidden within the Windows Phone 7.5 interface. Typically, there are two methods to bring up the sub-menu. Click and hold onto an app to either pin it to the Start page, or unpin it by clicking and holding onto the app within the Start page, and click on the unpin icon.
Within an app, you can usually spot some smaller icons at the bottom of the screen. If you're not too familiar with the function of these shortcuts, you can find the sub-menu by clicking on the lower right corner of the screen. At times, the sub-menu also brings up more options for you to choose from, such as the settings of that particular app.
Click and hold onto an app to bring up the sub-menu on the Start and Menu pages.
Click at the bottom right of the screen to bring up the sub-menu within the app.