Last Updated on Sunday, 20 May 2012 05:39 Published on Sunday, 20 May 2012 05:39
Never let it be said that Microsoft fails to tell you when you need to upgrade. A blog post from Microsoft’s director of program management Mazhar Mohammed is aimed at getting Windows mobile users to upgrade to the latest version, Windows Phone 7.5, in order to be able to buy, download or update apps from the Marketplace portal via the phone or the Web. The upgrade requirement is tied to overall improvements on the Marketplace portal, he explained.
“We’re now doing the final work needed to turn on this new requirement, so I thought it would be a good time for another friendly reminder,” Mohammed wrote. “The key takeaway is that if you like apps and games, you’ll soon need Windows Phone 7.5 installed to continue using Marketplace. Most of you already do.”
In order to get the update, Windows Phone users can connect the handset to a computer and use Zune software or Windows Phone 7 Connector for Mac to see if a software update is available for download. The update incorporates several new features, including the ability to make custom ringtones using MP3 and Windows Media Audio (WMA) files, a visual voice mail feature, a battery saver that shuts down features on the phone to squeeze out extra battery life and voice-based text messaging.
In addition, Facebook Chat, Twitter and LinkedIn have now been built into the phone, and a new conversation view for simplifying emails allows users to group emails by subject. The update includes a wide range of improvements geared toward social networking as well as the ability to use several apps simultaneously, improved maps and driving directions, video sharing, picture tagging, and improvements to Office Mobile, Excel, Office 365 integration and an expanded Office hub.
Microsoft has already begun the process of removing the Windows Phone apps option from the Zune software on its Windows PCs as part of the Marketplace improvement effort, as the company has realized most Windows Phone owners download apps directly from their handsets. “By the way, the Zune software is still important for things like installing Windows Phone software updates and making backup copies of photos and videos stored on your handset,” Mohammed explained in an earlier blog post. “And, of course, many people use it to play and buy music.”
Last month, Microsoft announced plans to retire mainstream support for the much-maligned Vista operating system this week as well as for Office 2007, and said it would offer extended support for both systems until 2017, but is making the effort to get users to buy Windows 7. The company also reminded users that on April 8, 2014, it would also officially end support for the even older Windows XP—first launched in 2001—and Office 2003. [eweek]