posted by Thom Holwerda on Mon 4th Jul 2011 17:05 UTC
IconA few days ago, Microsoft released Windows Phone 7.5, also known as Mango, to its developers for testing their applications. It didn't take long for the hacking community (in the form of Windows HoneHacker.com) to come up with a clever solution to enable the phones of non-developers to upgrade to Mango - and guess what, I did just that. Here are a few thoughts.

Upgrading your non-developer phone to Mango is incredibly easy, but there are a few key concerns you have to think about. First of all, this is a legal grey area, and while Microsoft so far seems to have taken a rather relaxed approach to hacking about Windows Phone 7 - you have been warned. Of course, the usual disclaimers apply: do this at your own risk, you may brick your device, this is not supported by Microsoft, nor they nor I nor WindowsPhoneHacker.com is responsible if this kills your unicorn.

The gist of this 'hack' is that it closely resembles the steps registered developers have to take to upgrade their phones to the Mango beta. First, you need to back up your phone, and move this backup to a safe location. The reason for this is that the Mango beta won't be upgradeable to the final release, so you'll beed the pre-Mango beta backup to restore your phone before upgrading to Mango final.

Then, your phone will be made eligible to receive beta updates. Your phone will need to be updated to NoDo or beyond, but does not require a developer unlock. You need to install the Windows Phone Support Tool first (32bit, 64bit). WindowsPhoneHacker.com has created a simple tool which will backup your phone, move the backup to a safe location (c:PreMangoState), and make your phone eligible for beta updates. You need to close the Zune program before running Update.bat!

When the process is complete (and this can take a while), you'll hopefully be running the Mango beta. The first thing you'll notice is just how damn fast Mango really is compared to NoDo. Applications launch and close instanty, and everything seems just a little bit more responsive. It all adds up though, making the whole feel so much faster.

The new Internet Explorer is also included, and it certainly is a hell of a lot faster than the version included with Windows Phone 7.0. The interface has also been redone, and you now finally have access to the url field in landscape mode. I'm still finding rendering a bit 'eh', but maybe it's simply not yet done. It's beta, after all.

The multitasking user interface is basically that of webOS but less useful (no grouping, no swipe up to close, and, oh yeah, no true multitasking), and since this is only the first time developers get a taste of Mango, no application supports it yet, turning it into a glorifed recently used applications list.

There's a lot more stuff in there, but what I like the most are the performance improvements and littl changes and refinements all over the place, which makes using Windows Phone just that little bit more pleasant.

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