Microsoft Releases 'Mango' Windows Phone Update To Handset Makers

The next release of Microsoft's Windows Phone mobile operating system is complete and is being sent to the company's handset manufacturing partners for inclusion in their smartphones sometime this fall.

The big question is whether Microsoft has laid the groundwork for a smoother upgrade for customers using the current Windows Phone release, compared to a problematic upgrade some customers experienced earlier this year.

On Tuesday, Microsoft announced the release to manufacturing of the "Mango" version of Windows Phone. RTM means Microsoft has signed off on the final product and the code is being sent to handset manufacturers and mobile operator partners who will optimize the software for their specific phones and network configurations.

"Here on the Windows Phone team, we now turn to preparing for the update process," said Terry Myerson, corporate vice president, Windows Phone, in a blog posting. The Mango update for current Windows Phone handset owners will be ready this fall, the same time it begins appearing pre-installed on new handsets, Myerson said.

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Microsoft officially debuted Mango and its new features in May. Those capabilities include the e-mail "conversation view" for managing long e-mail discussions, application multitasking, support for Internet Explorer 9, and the "threads" capability that let's users switch between text, Windows Live Messenger and Facebook chat within the same conversation.

Microsoft executives are likely keeping their fingers crossed that this update will go more smoothly than a Windows Phone update in February that caused major problems for owners of Samsung Omnia 7 and Focus smartphones, rendering some of those devices inoperable. Microsoft at the time said one purpose of that update was to improve the software update process.