Ina Fried

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Microsoft Packs in a Few Treats as Mango Ripens

Owners of Windows Phone 7 devices will start to get the new Mango release as early as today, Microsoft is confirming.

The software maker will start making the operating system update available to Windows Phone 7 devices on Tuesday, though it will take a matter of weeks to become available for all devices, Microsoft said. The company said most users should have it by the end of October.

Meanwhile, Redmond is also detailing a couple of Mango features that it hadn’t previously mentioned. The new software will support visual voicemail as well as acting as an Internet hotspot for up to five devices. Although Mango will support the new features it will be up to both hardware makers and carriers to decide whether and how to enable those features.

Microsoft has high hopes for Mango, counting on the new release, along with support from Nokia to make some of the market share inroads that the software maker failed to make with the first version.

“This combined with new platform capability is really going to help get us to critical mass,” Microsoft’s Greg Sullivan said in a telephone interview. With Mango, Microsoft is now supporting 21 languages, up from five in the first Windows Phone release.

CEO Steve Ballmer conceded earlier this month that sales of devices running Windows Phone have been less than he was hoping for. For his part, Sullivan said that the software has met some other key goals.

“We’re very happy with the product momentum,” Sullivan said. “Our strategy was to build a great product that we were proud of and people will love.”

Also on Tuesday, HTC offered more details on the Radar, a Windows Phone Mango device headed to T-Mobile in time for the holidays. AT&T has already announced plans to carry Mango devices from HTC and Samsung.

Update: Those wondering when their device might get Mango can check out a chart Microsoft has posted on its Web site.

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