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28

Turn-by-Turn directions, Voice to text, Bing Audio/Vision all coming to WP7 Mango

We kept emphasizing at MIX11 that the information revealed there was geared for developers, not so much consumers and that we expected more details to come forward over time. Combined with the fact that Mango/WP7.5 is not yet finished nor finalized, it's feature-set is still in motion but becoming more solid as we get closer to it going 'Gold'.

On the Windows Phone Developer Podcast, a plethora of new features were announced that will really bring Windows Phone up to par with the competition:

  • Bing Audio: Think Shazam, but built into Bing and we bet of course Zune Marketplace. Country support is initially limited to the U.S., Great Britain, France, Italy, Spain and Germany.
  • Bing Vision: A full blown image scanner using your camera. It can detect, identify and search using barcodes, Microsoft Tags, QR Codes, CD’s, DVDs, Books, and text using OCR (see here for history)
  • Turn-by-turn navigation: “voice guidance during driving directions” (we heard about this awhile ago)
  • SMS Dictation: Using Microsoft's TellMe service, you can use voice-to-text for SMS messages by tapping a microphone near the bottom

According to Paul Thurrott, who detailed the above, there's a lot more to the podcast, so take a listen. And your thoughts in comments: does this change things?

Update: See info regarding Windows Live Messenger, Skydrive & more in WP7.5 here

Source: Windows Phone Dev Podcast; via Windows Phone Secrets

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Comments

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PhilR8 says:

Sounds great. Doesn't change things, since all of those features are already available for iOS and Android - and have been for some time. I think Google Navigation has been available for 18 months or so, and I was using barcode scanners on my Evo when I got it a year ago - barcode scanners that blow away anything you can currently find on the WP7 marketplace.Not that I'm complaining too much - I knew all of the above when I switched to the Arrive last month. I love WP7, but does this change things? No. Microsoft is catching up, which is great - but it's still playing catch-up. When they start to surpass the other mobile OSs - if that ever even happens - then that will change things. I'm hoping the Nokia agreement will help facilitate that.

Two points: at least compared to Android, the music search/Zune duo on WP7 blows it away. Android is poor at media management and having a simple, unified system for getting new music, especially on the go. Even Apple doesn't fare as well here.Barcode scanners on the Marketplace do not "blow away" anything. The only one that does is LGs software because it live scans and does all the above. What software IDs DVDs in the marketplace by scanning its image?And yes, in many way it's catch up, but MS's solutions are often much more elegant than Androids. Even Androids' Gmail client has the worst UI I have ever used, luckily it's very powerful.

PhilR8 says:

Hey, I'm with you, man. My Evo is sold and my Arrive is getting every day use. I agree wholeheartedly about Zune on WP7 - it's a joy to use and it's better than anything out there for Android.As far as barcode scanners go, I'm not sure I follow you. I'm pretty sure Google Goggles for Android would ID DVDs pretty easily, and the standard barcode app in the Android Marketplace is way better than anything I've tried on WP7. Although I guess I should say what app I'm using - it's ShopSavvy, and it does a good job. It's just not better than Android offerings that I tried. I'd love to know if there are better apps on the WP7 marketplace, though.I also agree about WP7's elegance vs Android and even iOS. That's why I love the Arrive. But here's one thing that I haven't read about - why can't I open the dialpad and start dialing a number and have WP7 show me which contacts contain that number or text string? I kind of hate having to open a contact list, even though it's very easy to navigate contacts. It's just an extra step or two that I don't want to do.The point still stands, though: the update will be great and necessary but this is what we've all been expecting anyway - a competent and elegant catch-up plan. I'm liking what I'm seeing. But we all knew it was coming - the only thing that would have changed things would be if these updates were NOT forthcoming.

SeNiLe911 says:

Not sure you calculated the steps required between opening the dialpad vs navigating contacts.Tap Phone tile > Tap number pad icon > dial 1 > 2 > 3 > 4 >... and so on until contact is found if was possible > Tap number to call. Lets say 7 taps.vsTap People Hub > Tap a > Tap letter of contact > tap contact found under said letter > Tap phone icon to call. 5 Taps!To me the People Hub is the quicker way...Or the absolute quickest way to call someone is to hold down the Start button until it prompts you that "TellMe" is Listening... > Say, "Call so-and-so" OR "Call 999-999-9999", BAM!! Call is made... One long hold and speak!!!This works with calling, opening apps, searching, and on and on.

PhilR8 says:

You're right, but to be honest, I don't know why the Phone Tile just doesn't go straight to the dialer and then allow you to type numbers or letters to call a contact.

surge48 says:

I agree! If I want to call someone I usually go to the phone, not people hub. What's the point of putting the letters on the number pad if you won't be using them? I guess I am just used to searching for people in the phone hub!

says:

I'm still not seeing your point. How does gaining new features not change anything? By definition, catching up changes things. It means you're gaining on something, getting closer. Increasing the featureset increases the appeal, which should increase mindshare and marketshare.

PhilR8 says:

These are great additions that look to be integrated very elegantly into the existing OS and I welcome them and am eagerly anticipating Mango.But again: these were expected feature additions, no? Maybe this doesn't change anything for me personally, since I was under the impression that this sort of stuff was widely known to be coming with Mango. Perhaps I mistook a previous rumor for fact, and these details are just now coming to light. Even so, any decent mobile prognosticator could have told you that Microsoft would be adding features to reach parity with other mobile OSs. The fact that these features come as official Bing services and not third-party apps is notable, I guess. It's good for Bing.It's also important to remember that for consumers, these features are still six months away. Google I/O is next week, and even though the new iPhone isn't being released until fall, it's still 99% likely that the iPhone 5 will be in consumers' hands before Mango WP7 is. What will Google I/O and iOS 5 bring? WP7 is getting closer, sure. It's catching up, it's in it for the long haul, it's not cutting corners or implementing half **** solutions just to reach parity as quick as possible. I approve of this plan for moving forward. All I'm saying is: in a crowded marketplace, the features revealed in this post don't change anything because they're already available on other platforms and because they're six months away from being in the hands of consumers. We all knew Mango would go a long way towards bridging the gap: Microsoft is staying the course that we all knew they were on. This does not change things.

SeNiLe911 says:

You gotta catch up first before you can surpass anyone. I'm looking forward to them catching up!

@PhilR8: It's not clear at all to me how you believe that the Nokia agreement will help facilitate the feature set for WP7 catching up or even surpassing the competition. Maybe I'm looking too narrowly at things but isn't the Nokia agreement is all about bringing fresh hardware (potentially with advanced capabilities) to the Windows Phone experience? To me, "catching up" chiefly involves Microsoft, since it is they who must deliver on advancing the OS platform and development tools.That said, if Microsoft can deliver on their end, does it matter which hardware developer (HTC, Samsung, Nokia, etc.) brings their best to the table? Does Nokia, as a result of the agreement, somehow have an edge on helping Microsoft "catch up"?

MaulerX says:

Uh... The Nokia agreement isn't just: "all about bringing fresh hardware".Read: http://www.mobiledevproonline.com/article/paul-thurrotts-wininfo/microso...""Nokia services heading to the Windows Phone ecosystem. Nokia will provide its mapping, navigation, and certain location-based services to the Windows Phone ecosystem, meaning that these services will be provided to all Windows Phone users, even those who don't purchase Nokia devices. Microsoft intends to monetize Nokia's "navigation assets" (currently a free perk on existing Nokia handsets) via "completely new forms of advertising revenue.""I can't believe you are downplaying Nokia's superior Ovi Maps implemented into the OS itself, for ALL to enjoy.

PhilR8 says:

This is exactly what I mean - thanks for summing it up with a great response to VZW Hopeful. Ovi Maps > Bing Maps, nuff said. And this agreement doesn't only mean mobile:"Nokia Maps would be a core part of Microsoft’s mapping services. For example, Maps would be integrated with Microsoft’s Bing search engine and adCenter advertising platform to form a unique local search and advertising experience."http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2011/feb11/02-11partnership.mspxThis would extend to the desktop, as well as iterations of Bing for Android, iOS, etc. But as far as WP7 goes, yeah, it's a Big Deal.

Well I read the Paul Thurrott article (which evidently quotes a Microsoft press release. Nokia Maps, Bing integration, "certain location based services"... Should I conclude that Microsoft feels that Nokia's mapping tools are better than Bing? Not clear to me. The Bing integration sounds ordinary -- would have to see what actually comes of it. It all sounds so vague, it's difficult to tell if it will be innovative or not. I will remain hopeful but skeptical until I see something concrete. Thanks for the links.

PhilR8 says:

Yes, you should think that Microsoft thinks Nokia's mapping tools are better than Bing, since Nokia owns Navteq, the GIS outfit that provides basemap information to every online and GPS service outside of Google, Apple, and TomTom. Nokia bought Navteq for $8 B-b-b-billion a few years ago. It's a pretty deep well for Microsoft to tap.

Winterfang says:

There's not thing I don't like about this news. I want more, more! papa needs it's juice.

simbadogg says:

you can say that the update doesn't bring much to the table in terms of whats already available in the market. but i really dont understand how anyone could say that 1 platform going from a deficit of features to matching the competition "doesn't change things". That changes things a **** of a lot. anyone that would be squeamish about making the move from iOS/Android because wp7 doesn't have _____ would definitely feel a bit more relieved that in terms of features the platforms are more on par...and can simply make a decision on the UI/UX and execution. This is a huge change.

jimski says:

Putting catching up aside for a moment, I think WP has a few things that are already ahead of the curve; Zune Music, XBox Live, Live Tiles (and getting better), a new and fresh UI, a spunky OS without the need for battery burning processors, integrated Cloud services, and so on. So who is catching up with whom.

john729 says:

This helps because it tones down what Wp7 doesn't have. I got the Arrive and it did not have all of the features the Evo had but was such a better experience. HTC Sense had a nice screen with the weather and clock but it was clunky and not refined. Nothing comes close to the Zune and Microsoft is on the right path.. I switched to At&t and got the Surround and the experience is the same... keep it up

HeyCori says:

Mango is looking so good that I'm highly considering giving my Focus to the GF and then buying a new WP7 with Mango pre-installed. Hey Nokia, how about releasing some of those sleek looking concept phones sometime before the year's up? ;)

Paul Acevedo says:

I will probably end up doing something similar. I want new hardware, baby.

dtboos says:

This is only part of what Mango will have on the consumer end. MS will not be letting it all out just yet. I am pretty excited to see what they have in store. The turn by turn voice nav was a little surprising; I did not expect that until Ovi Maps was announced!

deadwrong03 says:

cant wait til Verizon releases the trophy so i can join the wp7 club. Im loving all these new features for Mango, i just want 2 key features that i havent heard them say anything about and thats allowing a USB **** Storage Mode, and allowing us to d/l any file type from the browser like a zip folder full of mp3's and allowing us to update the zune library without using a computer after that id be fine from there.i hope on the next batch of devices removable storage is supported as well. Mango is shaping up to be very interesting

SeNiLe911 says:

You can download zip files to the WP7, you just can't access them with ease once you download them that I know of. The only way I found was to bookmark the ZIP file location before downloading it. From your bookmarks you can bring up the zip file anytime. That said, you can download MP3's in a ZIP file and play them on the WP7. I just tested it.

deadwrong03 says:

but can u add them to the zune library on the phone without connecting to the computer? that would be perfect if they let us do that in mango thats one of my biggest concernssame with a drop box app if we have mp3 files in the drop box folder onthe computer let us copy those files directly over to the phone and update our library like u can do on android

GP07 says:

I've been saying this since March or so, but it is easier and takes less time for MS to "catch up" to iOS and Android than it does for those two to "stay ahead". People seem to think that iOS5 and Android 2.4 (or w/e the version is going to be) will somehow have a load of innovation and push them way out ahead. That's anything but the case the way I see it. A few small things probably, but I don't expect anything groundbreaking, so the whole "the other two aren't standing still" argument is overblown since those mobile OS's are already mature. WP isn't, and once MS adds in the stuff the others have that it's missing then it's own individual strong points like Xbox, Zune, Live Tiles and the freash new UI will let it stand out after this.Come next year it'll be hard to argue agenst bying a WP device because honestly I don't see the OS lacking anything the others will have, even on their newest versions.

TKETZ196 says:

I can see how some people on here do say they are playing catch up and rightfully so. My Windows Mobile phone (HTC Fuze) already had it with the Bing app and I use Mobile-Tag Reader for the barcode scanner. It is nice to see MSFT take it a step further as far as the barcode scanner to a OCR scanner too. Its great that this will all be integrated into the OS rather than be separate apps or even just one app suite. I only wished TellMe worked on my phone, since i am using AT&T. Too bad they block that. Having the latest hardware for me is not the big issue, but Mango has to play nice with the current generation hardware. I think that would be the biggest issue (aside from wireless carrier(s) blocking this update too). I am torn if I should get a phone now or wait til after Mango and get a newer device. I am itching to get a Samsung Focus but if I see newer devices with Mango already baked in I may wait. There are a few things I would like to see: USB **** storage support, a native system wide file explorer system, and proper support for all types of zip files like .rar, .zip, .7z, etc. I think if i did upgrade i would really miss having these features. I am used to the PC-like setting Windows Mobile provides and I feel like I would be more restricted in regards to these features.

Well, Mango should make 2012 somewhat exciting.