Microsoft pushes WP7 Mango to "Christmas"

Microsoft originally used the word “fall” to describe when the huge update to its Windows Phone platform would arrive.

But now, it seems the ambiguous release window has been replaced with the word “Christmas.”

At least, that’s how Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer referred to the target launch of Windows Phone Mango, also known as Windows Phone 7.5, at a recent company event.

“We have the second generation of our phones coming out this Christmas, and people are starting to do things they had never imagined before,” Ballmer said, as quoted in an official statement on Microsoft’s press site.

While not admitting there was any delay in the development of the platform, that seems to be pushing back a bit from when Microsoft originally unveiled Mango in May. Back then, company representatives said it would be available in the fall, which technically runs from September 22 to December 21. A “Christmas” (~December 25) launch would be outside that window.

When we heard Microsoft promise that fall release date, we were already a bit skeptical, given the company’s early track record with Windows Phone. It took an inordinate amount of time – and failed target dates – just to release a minor functional update to the platform earlier this year.

Mango is a massive, game-changing update that totally re-works the way the operating system functions. It would be something of a miracle for Microsoft to release it on time.

Nevertheless, the always enthusiastic Ballmer is quite excited about Windows Phone’s future. “You know, a year ago we didn’t have a phone in the market. Now, we’re charging forward with Nokia,” he said. “I love the applications that I saw for the Windows Phone … and the way [developers are] pushing that device, and using that device. It was really exciting for me.”