|IE9 Portait Browser
|In this second to last installment of Mango Mania, I’ll be discussing the new internet explorer 9 browser. So here we go!
The new browser has had quite a few changes, some useful, others taking away from the usefulness in my experience. First of all, the new browser is pretty fast, web pages load up immediately. The look of the browser has under gone some changes too. In portrait mode, gone are the add to favorites, favorites, and tabs buttons, for better or for worse, as it does give you a nice amount of screen real estate, but now to access your other tabs, you have to tap the familiar elipses, which brings up a slew of options, such as:
Tabs-View your other open tabs.
Recent-In the new IE9 browser you can revisit your closed pages.
Favorites-View your Favorite web pages.
Add to Favorites-Pretty self explanatory.
Share Page-Share the interesting article your reading to others via email, and text messaging.
Pin to Start-Pin a website you visit constantly to avoid typing it in everyday.
Settings-From here you can choose to “Allow cookies”, “Get suggestions from Bing as you type”, “allow internet explorer to collect my browsing history”. You can also choose your website preference from desktop and mobile, and delete your history.
You also now have the address bar that you’ve wanted in land scape orientation, with the elipses to access those same options listed above.
|IE9 Land Scape Browser
All in all the IE9 browser has seen a nice improvement, especially in speed, but it seems like it’s also lost some productivity, mainly by losing the tabs button. Just to view any open tabs you have running, you’ll now have to make three taps, as opposed to the 2 in Nodo. You have to tap the elipses, tap the tabs section, then select which tab you’d like to run, although Im gonna miss being able to just tap the tabs icon, but this is also subject to change as this is a beta.
|Market Place Search
This latest installment is very short, but the next one will be longer, I’ll be discussing the new market place additions, so lets jump right in.
First of all, the market place now has a much better search function, in NoDo, you had to press the search button, and risked your phone switching to the Bing search page, or if it did search for something, you would just get a giant list of music and apps without any kind of filter. In mango, you get a simple search icon as soon as you enter the market place, and now have different search filters, such as apps+games,music, and podcasts. This makes the whole search feature much more accurate and productive, along with a new suggestions as you type feature.
So today I noticed a few people on twitter talking about a zune hd firmware update, I immediately checked my local forum, and saw people talking about it on there to, then started thinking”OMG! New FW FTW!” all that good stuff, but unfortunately, according to a tweet posted by Dave Mclauchlan, the man who has a lot of dealings in working with zune, the update is simply a bug fix(Proof:http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/advisory/2524375.mspx), although it is still nice to know that the HD did get one more FW update, its last being in april 2010.
The Modified Now Playing Screen
I’ll be discussing the redesign of the Zune(music+videos) hub is more productive what with the new features that have been added, such as making playlists on the go, the smart DJ playlists, and especially the OTA(over the air) downloading of podcasts.
Starting with the new now playing screen,
you now have the previous, pause/play, and next buttons at the top of the screen instead of the bottom, and instead of having to tap the album artwork to reveal the favorite, shuffle, and repeat options, they are now on the side of the album artwork. You also now have the option to show the artist your listening to on the lock screen, as seen below.
Artist On Lock Screen Feature
Another new addition to Mango is downloading podcasts on your device via WiFi or 3g. My phone doesn’t have service, so there’s no 3g, but I did download some podcasts over WiFi, and had no problems with it. After selecting the podcast to download, you can then choose if you want to subscribe to it, and from there can choose how many episodes you want to download, along with a helpful only download over WiFi option, so as not to use your data plan up.
The Added playlist functionality is also useful for those of you who like to make playlists on the go. What ever tracks your listening to, all you have to do is tap the elipses in the now playing screen and select ‘Save as playlist’. Easy and quick, and the Smart Dj mix is even easier. All you do is hold down on one artist you like, and a drop down menu appears with the options ‘add to now playing’, ‘play smart dj mix’, and ‘pin to start’. All you do is tap play smart dj mix, and the phone does the rest for you, although it did give me a message on lesser known artists. For one it said, ‘we cant create a smart dj mix for you because we’re not sure who this is.’ but for the most part this feature worked just fine.
All in all the redesign and added features have pretty much satisfied me in the area of Media on Mango.
The games hub has been redesigned very well in Mango. We now have 3d avatars, that’s pretty cool, along with much more integration. On Nodo You have to make an extra tap on your avatar to sign into Xbox live and see any friend requests, achievements, etc. In mango, you have your profile, achievements and avatar editor right there in the games hub, next to your fully animated 3d avatar. Tap him/her to get them to do something, or don’t tap it and it will act on its own, if your playing music, your avatar will actually dance to it, shake your phone and it will trip, sometimes it will actually pull the gaming section over your current section. Swipe to the right to see a seperate section for requests, another swipe takes you to the “Spotlight” section, where you’ll see the deal of the week,articles on the newest games, and gamer spotlights. The next swipe will take you the new games collection section. The games collection is more productive now. You view all of your apps from a zoomed out view, where your XBL games are separated by a divider, and your other games are in alphabetical order, although it’s upsetting how there are no blocks that indicate which letter your on like in the music section, but hopefully that will be rectified by its official release date. I cant really say whether the performance of the games have improved for me, as I never had a problem playing the apps on the NoDo update.
Avatar’s can fall,dance and be as silly as they want, right on your phone!
So I’ve been running the Mango beta update for my Lg Quantum as of late. Today I wanted to touch on “Multi Tasking” the reason for those quotes on “Multi Tasking” is because multi tasking is supposed to be used to increase efficiency, but in Wp7’s case, its the opposite. To be fair, you can switch between apps efficiently, the trouble comes when you attempts close the tasks running. When I saw how this was demoed online, I was confused on how to close the apps, I think Microsoft should take a page out of apples book here and have a red X to close running apps or even switching to another app and pressing the home button, but instead you have to press the back button, which would be fine if it immediately took you back to the homepage, but instead you have to cycle through everything you had done previously. For instance, if i was playing angry birds and switched over to play Pixel Man Zero, another great retro styled platformer for wp7, and then went back to angry birds and wanted to back out, the first back tap would pause it, the next tap would take you the main menu, then the next tap would take you the home screen. Wasnt Windows whole Motto to “Get In And Out” on your phone? it seems like their straying from their mantra with this problem. I’ve found myself constantly pressing the windows button to get back to the homescreen, thinking i’ve exited the app, only to find it is still open later on! Although I am still slightly holding onto hope that this problem will be fixed by the time the official mango comes out.
Mango Beta First Impressions
Multi tasking is confusing and unproductive
New ie9 browser is MUCH faster than previous one
3D avatars are kinda cool
New much needed Zune player features and redesign was done well
Twitter integration not active with this build
Market place loads much faster with much better filters for apps,music,and podcasts
The new office can save your documents to your SkyDrive.
More to Come In My Actual Review
Working on a review right now of this great software!
Ringing in Mango
According To the link above, which is the official windows phone blog, Wp7 will feature custom ringtones in the next big update code named ‘Mango’, although there are a few expected rules here:
To qualify as a ringtone, a sound file must be:
- 39 seconds or shorter
- smaller than 1 megabyte (MB)
- saved in MP3 or WMA format
- not copy-protected (i.e. DRM free)
The post also explains how simple it is to install a ringtone, as listed below:
In short, custom ringtones can be installed using the Zune software on your PC. Once you’ve created an audio file that meets the ringtone requirements, find it in your Zune music collection, right-click the file, and change the Genre field to Ringtone. Then just sync the file to your phone like you would any music track.
Looks like Mango just gets riper and riper, and all Wp7 users cant wait to harvest it soon.