We all know that Mango is coming, both as a software upgrade for existing Windows Phone 7 devices, as well as pre-loaded on the next wave of new WP7 hardware. What so many of us are wondering, though, is just when we’ll be able to get our hands on some of this Mango action. Microsoft itself may have just accidentally let some news about Mango hardware availability slip, giving us a clue as to when we can expect sales to begin.
Microsoft’s Imagine Cup is a technology competition for students that attracts hundreds of thousands of interested competitors each year. Of those, several hundred will be chosen as finalists and invited to participate in the global showdown. This year, those finals took place in New York City from July 8 through today, the 13th.
As a reward to everyone who made it to the finals, Microsoft will be handing out new Windows Phone Mango smartphones, which obviously aren’t available yet. In a tweet sent out to announce this prize, the company made it clear just when the Mango hardware would be ready to distribute, saying “Each student will get the phone by September!”
Sure, these students may be lucky enough to get some pre-release hardware, but this news has us re-focusing our Mango expectations to cover the weeks of late September and early October. You could read “by September” to mean “before September”, but we’re not going to be quite that optimistic.