OS-Wide Chat Coming to Windows Phone 7.5?
In a regular developer communication newsletter, it seems Microsoft may have mentioned a few new features of Windows Phone 7.5 that we haven’t heard about before. The newsletter mentions “support for real time communication and messaging and a broader connectivity to Skydrive.” Neowin thinks the real-time communication and messaging thing might mean a fully integrated Windows Live Messenger feature, possibly to include Facebook chat like the desktop version of Windows Live Messenger (as well as the iPhone and Zune HD versions). It could also mean integration with Microsoft’s corporate messaging and meeting service called Lync. Neowin also suggests that there might be a “Messaging Hub” that would centralize messaging communications rather than just text messaging.
The “broader connectivity to Skydrive” part most likely refers to being able to access more types of Office documents stored on SkyDrive. Right now you can only sync OneNote notebooks and pictures with SkyDrive. Hopefully we’ll see support extended to all Office documents as well as Windows Live Videos/Video messages and maybe even 3rd party things like PDFs.
The email states that “the new Windows Phone Marketplace experience will include an improved design with panes and more panoramas, a better search experience with autocomplete queries and search results grouped by app, music, or games sections. A new jump list and a soft-search button will make it easier to find installed apps on Windows phones.” We already saw at MIX that the Marketplace search would have pivot tabs for the different content types, just like the Zune HD, so that’s good. Currently there are only panorama designs in the top-level Marketplace, Apps, and Music sections. Once you dig deeper, it goes to regular list views, so more panoramic designs might be nice to have as well.
The new developer tools with support for creating apps that make use of Windows Phone 7.5 “Mango” features should be released some time in May, so we’ll likely see more information by then.
Are you excited about what these vague phrases in the developer newsletter might mean for future Windows Phone features?