Device operating systems

Mango Is a Go

4:30 PM -- Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s Mango harvesting is complete in time for a fall debut. The software maker updated its software development kit (SDK) for Windows Phone to "release candidate" status on Tuesday, meaning it's ready for handset makers to integrate the software and ship. (See Microsoft Tangos With Mango and Microsoft Debuts Mango OS Update.)

Microsoft also said Tuesday that there are now 30,000 mobile apps available to Windows Phone users, up from 11,500 in March. It's nowhere near Android's 200,000 or iPhone's 425,000 apps, but it's growth. And, as Microsoft says, "it's quality over quantity, people!" Microsoft is now taking Mango app submissions as well. (See OS Watch: Developers Take a Bite Out of Mango.)

Microsoft's fruity little OS includes some 500 updates, but there's a few I'm most interested in seeing executed. First, Microsoft's cloud voice-to-text service, TellMe, becomes really helpful on Mango. It's fully integrated with the OS, and Mango adds in navigation transcriptions, search and voice commands for nearly all of the phone's functions. (See Microsoft's Other 497 Updates.)

Second, Skype Ltd. just acquired group chat app GroupMe, and Microsoft is acquiring Skype. Ergo, Microsoft will soon own GroupMe, which will make texting with a group of friends across any platform easier. It's a simple feature, but an important one from an ease-of-use standpoint. (See Microsoft to Buy Skype.)

And let's not forget how important Skype will be to the OS. Microsoft has the opportunity to merge the two into an easy-to-use and low-cost video and voice-calling service like no one else can. (See Microsoft Plans a WP7 Skype Soiree.)

Microsoft may be busy this week going after Motorola Mobility LLC in the courtroom and reminding handset makers it's more independent than Android, but it looks like it's not sitting idly on the OS innovation front either. A three-horse race is shaping up. (See Microsoft Takes Moto Back to Court.)

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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