Hard to believe it’s been a year since Windows Phone 7 was launched in the US. Microsoft’s partners certainly haven’t been releasing new devices at an Android-like pace, but there are several new devices launching with Mango on both AT&T and T-Mobile. In addition to all of the new features that Mango brings to existing hardware there are some additional upgrades you will only notice if using one of these newly launched devices. One of the most welcome upgrades is support for front-facing cameras. We have to admit that we are rather surprised that the first video-calling app for Windows Phone isn’t Skype, but Tango for Windows Phone definitely brings some attractive functionality to the platform.
Tango is billed first and foremost as a service for mobile devices, offering clients for iOS, Android, and now Windows Phone. For those wondering, the application will install and run on devices without a front facing camera (we tested it on our Samsung Focus on AT&T) but you’re obviously not going to get the full experience without new hardware. Registration with Tango is required when you first run the app, but surprisingly no username or password is created, only an association between your phone number and email address. The downside to this is the need to re-submit your phone number and email address on any other devices you register with the service.
The Tango app is simplicity itself. Tango integrates with your contact list and indicates which of your friends are using a Tango app and which would need to be invited. Once a call is initiated you have the ability to enable video, or simply use your voice. Other in-call options include the ability to switch cameras or mute the call for privacy.
Tango is a free application available from the Windows Phone Marketplace. Be aware that some device manufacturers, HTC and Samsung for example, also have the Tango app listed in their private areas of the Marketplace on your device. These may be a better choice for hardware and driver compatibility reasons.