A developer preview of the next major release of Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system has been released for Australian developers overnight.
Windows Phone 7 ‘Mango’ is the first major upgrade to Microsoft’s mobile operating system which competes in the increasingly competitive space with Google’s open source Android OS, Apple’s iOS software which runs on iPhones, iPod Touches and iPad devices, and Research in Motions (RIM) Blackberry OS.
Features of the update which will be released free of charge for Windows Phone owners later this year include a completely re-written web browser based off Internet Explorer 9, a new unified messaging approach which combines text, Facebook chat and Windows Live Messenger, voice-to-text and text-to-voice support and more support for social networks including Twitter and LinkedIn.
Australia is one of 23 other countries to gain “fully supported” access to the preview edition of the operating system including the United States, New Zealand, Great Britain, Ireland, France and Canada, with local developers expected to begin being invited to the preview which is being provisioned via the Microsoft Connect site over the coming days.
“We know that one of the most impactful things we can do for developers is to help them get their hands on the actual product. For Mango, that starts today with an early access program for developers,” Brandon Watson, Senior Director for Windows Phone said in a post today.
“We’re still working out some final kinks in the distribution and support infrastructure for delivering Mango to all of our registered developers around the world, but are inviting the most eager developers to come get Mango today, for their retail devices, as part of our early access program!”
The company is urging developers to download for free an updated edition of the Windows Phone 7 beta SDK toolkit from their website in order to prepare their apps and development environment for the ‘Mango’ release.
Invites to the preview program on Microsoft Connect will be slowly sent out from today to registered Windows Phone 7 developers, with the final release for consumers expected to be Spring 2011 in Australia.