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Windows Phone 7 mark 2

Poor old Windows Phone 7. It got good reviews when it launched in the autumn, with bloggy types praising its striking looks and innovative 'hub'-based design. But it hasn't caught fire in the eyes of consumers. According to the latest sales figures from analysts Gartner, Microsoft actually sold more phones using the old Windows Mobile software last quarter than they did phones using Windows Phone 7.

What's to be done? Well, Microsoft is hoping a big update to the software, due this autumn, will kick-start interest. And they just showed off the update in a big press-conference-preview-junket-thing.

According to CNET, Windows Phone 7.1 will offer improvements across the board. On the communications side, the update 'will see a multi-network chat feature that gets conversations going among Facebook Chat, Windows Live Messenger, and text messages within the same thread. Windows Phone 7 will also natively support Twitter, which will appear within a contact record. In addition, there will be a new group messaging feature for text and e-mail. Microsoft will also adopt the unified e-mail inbox.'

There'll be advanced support for third-party apps, which will be able to do things that apps on the iPhone and Android phones can't, like pop up in the browser if you search for relevant information. And there's the long-awaited coming of multitasking:

Looks pretty neat. But will it be enough to challenge the might of iOS? We'll find out in autumn when 'Mango', as the update is nicknamed, appears this autumn.

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