Windows Phone 7 may have received favourable reviews upon its release last year, but there was no doubt that plenty of work remained.
The first major software update, NoDo, brought with it the obligatory copy-and-paste feature, while also bringing an array of other tweaks to the table. However, it's the Mango update, set to hit in September, that promises to bring Windows Phone 7 into the big time.
Developers already have access to Mango, but I managed to load the latest build onto my Microsoft-issued Samsung Omnia 7, spending a week or two with it.
The emphasis on communication and social media is one of the key tenets of Windows Phone 7 – and Mango looks to take this a step further.
The platform already has deep integration with Facebook, with the People hub serving up Facebook updates and general contact information. It's also possible to add telephone numbers and other info to your Facebook contacts, giving you a one-stop contact card for communications.
The social aspect also extends to content-sharing, with users able to effortlessly share photo snaps with the network (Mango also gives users the ability to share video clips). These Facebook features aren't anything new though.
What is new, however, is the Groups functionality, allowing you to select up to twenty Facebook contacts and create a group for them. It's an ingenious way of trimming the fat, so to speak, serving up updates from the people you care about.
Facebook groups also make use of Windows Phone's live tile system, allowing you to see the latest status update at a glance. It's a smart feature, echoing the Circles feature of Google Plus.
Another neat Facebook addition is the linking of your phone and Facebook calendars, with Facebook events being integrated with your calendar. It's also possible to respond to those events within your phone calendar, giving you a quick way to deal with invitations.
The Microsoft team has also stepped up to the plate with two more social additions in the form of Twitter and LinkedIn.
The Twitter integration wasn't present in the previous Mango build, but the latest software includes it. The service is well-implemented, allowing you to view your feed, send tweets, retweet and more.
Much like Facebook, it's possible to quickly share your camera snaps on Twitter, with Microsoft's Skydrive storage service being used.
The other social network to make an appearance is LinkedIn, also boasting deep integration.
The Me tile, which is traditionally reserved for all Facebook posts made by you as well as notifications, now also reflects your Twitter and LinkedIn activities.
Messaging and email
Another new feature is the threaded conversation system. This nifty feature allows you to keep track of your conversation over multiple networks, such as text messages and Facebook Chat.
The idea behind this was for users to seamlessly switch between various formats and it works well in practice. Whether it's the fact that each messaging protocol is clearly represented or the variety of colours used, it's a great addition.
On the email side of things, it's now possible to create a unified email inbox, featuring all of your email addresses in one. It's a simple process, with users needing to enter the inbox and then choose the "linked inboxes" option.
Mango also included a tabbed view of sorts for emails, grouping messages sent from the same address into one field. It's another convenient feature, saving you from having to scroll through endless mails from the same person.
Page two: Music recognition, voice dictation and more.