Windows Phone 7.5 “Mango” Update – Hidden features

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So Mango has finally shipped, and I’ve been able to install it on my phone. I’m loving a bunch of the new features, especially:

  • Unified messaging interface. Lets you seamlessly switch between Facebook chat, text, etc — in a single conversation.
  • Linked inboxes, and conversation aggregation. You can view multiple email accounts from a single tile, and emails belonging to a conversation are grouped together. Very, very useful.
  • Enhanced voice recognition. I just wrote a text to my girlfriend without touching the screen. Not to mention the fact that it nailed my (albeit simple) message body perfectly, first time.
  • Local Scout. While apps like Yelp were already useful for this sort of thing, having a “guide” to local eateries and attractions built right into the Maps is great.
  • Multi-tasking! Enough said.

All of these (and many more features) are great, but what I’m especially loving is how many of my little “niggles” have been dealt to, without me even asking! Here’s a list of some of the smaller changes that I’ve noticed so far, but that probably wouldn’t make it into a press release:

  • Snoozing an alarm now snoozes for 10 minutes instead of 5. This is a lifesaver… Can’t see any way to configure the timeout myself, though.
  • You can now switch off the camera shutter sound from the audio settings. That pervasive fake shutter noise is one of the most annoying things in the world — glad to be rid of it on my phone.
  • Music + Videos hub now opens right up to the “zune” section, ready for you to select music, videos, radio, etc — instead of the “history” section that it used to default to.
  • I use a PIN on my lock screen. You can now configure a “timeout”, whereby if you have already entered your PIN recently (say in the last 5 minutes), it won’t prompt you for the PIN for a second unlock within that period. Another great little feature — and one that I don’t see reproduced on other devices.

This is a fantastic update that tackles a variety of problems with the original platform — both large and small.

However, even after all these great updates, I am still left with just one question; Why, oh why aren’t there bus directions in Maps?! I can get walking and car directions, but no bus. The ONE TIME I typically want to catch a bus is when I’m out and about, and only have my phone available. This is a HUGE oversight, and I was disappointed to not see it fixed in Mango.