updated 04:05 pm EDT, Tue July 26, 2011
Windows Phone 7 Mango officially RTM
After a possible quiet completion, Microsoft on Tuesday confirmed that Windows Phone 7's Mango update had been finished. The new mobile OS has reached its Release to Manufacturing (RTM) stage and is being sent off to phone makers for production-level hardware. Carriers also use the RTM build to make sure the OS doesn't create problems on their networks.
Actual shipping products may take some time to ship. The late July release could support talk of a Fujitsu model arriving as soon as August.
Much is riding on the new OS for Microsoft. The OS should bring Microsoft much more up to par with rivals with multitasking, an IE9-based web engine with proper HTML5 support, Twitter integration, possibly front facing cameras, and other features others have had for awhile or are getting at the same time. Mango also significantly expands Microsoft's reach to touch on important areas like southeast Asia and on phone makers that it has previously never had support from, including its new close partner Nokia.
WP7 market share on the original release and its update, NoDo, has so far been poor. Microsoft admitted that its share had gone "from very small to very small" as even heavy advertising wasn't enough to offset both small distribution and the higher profiles of Android and the iPhone. The firm has often been secretive about its actual numbers and has left actual numbers to analysts, which in the spring said WP7 partners had shipped just 1.6 million phones in the winter.
Nokia is expected to ship its first Windows Phone in the fall and may give Microsoft its biggest boost at the time. Most others should be ready by September.