Windows Phone “Mango” concepts that never made the cut

Microsoft revealed to the world the next iteration of their Windows Phone OS codenamed "Mango" just last week at the VIP press conference, and demoed the latest testing build of their "Mango" OS in press events worldwide. We were specifically told that the OS being demoed wasn’t final, and indeed when we compare various "Mango" demo videos around the web (or even compare them against the build in the Windows Phone 7.1 emulator), we would’ve noticed some subtle differences. For example, the Bing Scout feature was moved from a top "explore [location]" bar to a metro-looking button on the bottom of the Bing search hub. There were many more, but recently the Microsoft Japan Windows Phone "Mango" homepage posted a few screenshots which looked somewhat "different" from what we’ve seen:

Group-Calendar-Event-Invitation_thumb Mobile Group Calendar Event Invitation
The screenshot on the left shows the new contact groups feature in the People hub. On the bottom of the screenshot, we can clearly see an action item for "schedule an event".

If you look back at the "Mango" demos shown during the VIP press conference, you would’ve noticed that only the items "send email" or "send message" are available. What happened to allowing users to send a group calendar invite?

Messaging-Switch-Button_thumb Mobile Messaging Hub – Location Context
As you may have already noticed on the left, which shows the new Messaging "threads" feature in Mango, the "switch" icon was originally designed to be placed on the left of the text input field. The newer builds we’ve seen in demos shows that the "switch" icon is now placed on the bottom tasks bar.

The screenshot also reveals that the original design seems to let the user know which PC/device the contact is currently logged into on Windows Live Messenger, giving the user more context as to where the contact is at or what is he or she doing. As shown in the screenshot, this particular contact is currently logged into Messenger on the PC, rather than on a mobile device or Xbox 360 (for example).

Messaging-Switch-To_thumb Mobile Messaging Hub – Switch to phone?
There’s probably a good reason why they made this change. The screenshot on the left shows that you can switch messaging mediums to "home phone" and "work phone", something not seen in the newer builds demoed at the VIP events. But given that you can’t exactly message a landline phone, it was probably a good idea to drop these two items from the "Switch To" menu.
Email-Conversation-View_thumb Mobile Email Conversation View
This is also another change which we think the newer implementation we’ve seen in the demos are better. The screenshot on the left seems to suggest that the original design was to use the "+" symbol to indicate that an email is part of a conversation and can be further expanded. In the newer implementation, this symbol is now indicated by three vertical dots, which in our opinion works a bit better and seems more intuitive. What do you think?
Pinned-Tiles_thumb Mobile Pinned Tiles on Start Screen
Last but not least, the screenshot of the Start Screen also shows something quite interesting. From the screenshot, it looks like things like Smart DJ playlists and "Places" from Bing Maps can be pinned as a Live Tile too. The "Places" tile will also show how far you’re away from that particular location, which seems pretty cool. We’re not sure if these are already supported in the current builds, but we certainly hope they are!

We’re guessing that the screenshots posted by Microsoft Japan were either from an older build, or are design concept mock-ups made by the Windows Phone team. Nevertheless, there are some pretty cool features in there which seem to have been dropped in the current builds, perhaps due to concerns with performance and battery life. Anyway, as promised by Microsoft during the VIP press conference, expect more news to be coming soon for Windows Phone "Mango". Stay tuned!