WP7 SDK Beta Ready And Mango Phone Is Announced

Microsoft’s WP7 Mango update will feature on the Fujitsu Toshiba IS12T and a refreshed SDK is available now

A day after Microsoft’s Windows Phone “Mango” update reached its Release to Manufacturing milestone, one of the company’s hardware partners revealed its first smartphone running the software.

The IS12T, produced by Fujitsu Toshiba Mobile Communications, will offer a 3.7-inch screen paired to a 13.2-megapixel camera. The phone is water and dust proof and the first release will support CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) networks. It will arrive on Japanese store shelves by September at the earliest, the manufacturer stated.

First To Show But Pipeline Is Loaded

Hardware specs aside, the majority of the early buzz for Fujitsu’s smartphone centres on its Windows Phone software. Mango offers some 500 new tweaks and features, according to Microsoft, including a redesigned Xbox Live Hub, home-screen tiles capable of displaying up-to-the-minute information, the ability to consolidate friends and colleagues into groups, and visual voice mail.

Samsung, HTC, LG Electronics and Nokia have all committed to building new Windows Phone devices preloaded with Mango, while Acer and ZTE have reportedly agreed to produce Windows Phone units for the first time. Release dates have not been announced but September may be significant because it would ensure well-stocked shelves ready for the Christmas market.

Microsoft does not seem to be taking many chances with its Mango update – the latest Windows Phone SDK 7.1 “Beta 2 Refresh”, now available from the Mango Connect Website, involves a tweaked updating process to compensate for two areas of potential trouble.

The refreshed SDK offers some tweaks over the previous Beta 2, including a screenshot capability built into the emulator, and locked-down application platform APIs. It also corresponds with Build 7712, which, oddly enough, is not the Release to Manufacturing build issued on July 26.

Toolkit Targets Pre-RTM Version

“For the folks wondering why we’re not providing the ‘RTM’ version, there are two reasons,” Cliff Simpkins, a product manager for Windows Phone 7, wrote in a posting on The Windows Phone Developer Blog. First, “the phone OS and the tools are two equal parts of the developer toolkit that correspond to one another”. Second, “this OS is close enough to RTM that, as a developer, it’s more than capable to see you through the upcoming [Release Candidate] drop of the tools and app submission”.

According to a previous Windows Blog posting, the Release Candidate tools, which developers can use to finalise their Mango-optimised apps for Microsoft’s App Hub storefront, will drop in late August.

In any case, updating phones to Build 7712 has been adjusted to sidestep some previous Windows Phone issues. “We’ve updated the server logic in the first update (739x -> 7401) to better account for ‘Walshed’ phones and phones that had the support tool run incorrectly on them,” Simpkins added. “Second, the Zune client has been updated to link your updates into a single update run.”

“Walshed” refers to a homebrew solution released last April by Chris Walsh for downloading Windows Phone updates ahead of their official update. Soon afterwards, Microsoft cautioned that devices updated via that method would be unable to update past a certain point. Walsh later warned people to avoid using the program.

In addition, the Zune client will now automatically check for subsequent updates every time it completes an update, sparing users from having to engage in the process more than once.