The update isn’t as significant as the WP7.8 package Microsoft announced last week, but that upgrade will not be arriving until later in the year.
Tango features several useful additions to the previous version of Windows Phone. Wi-Fi tethering is now enabled, allowing up to five devices to share a Lumia’s 3G connection. Multiple attachments can be added to messages, and there is a handy flip-to-silence function which allows the user to cut off the phone’s ringer by simply turning it over.
The updates can be installed by connecting the phone to a computer and using Microsoft’s Zune software to search for updates. They’ll then install automatically, although the process can take several hours.
Unfortunately, UK users are not getting the full Tango update package just yet, and will have to wait until July before they can access a new set of features called Nokia Camera Extras which is available in the US and Asia immediately.
These new camera features will eventually be available to users in all territories and echo those already seen on rival devices. One of these sees the camera being able to take several shots in quick succession and allowing the user to choose the best parts of each to create a final, perfect image.
For instance, if a shot of a group of people includes someone who inadvertently closed their eyes, an image of their face can copied from another picture in that batch and pasted in to create an acceptable photo. The function is similar, though not identical, to the time-shift photo feature RIM recently announced as a major part of BB10.
Tango is designed to run on lower specced handsets and is part of a strategy by Microsoft and Nokia to push the Windows Phone platform into markets in the developing world. Previous versions of Windows Phone 7 required 512MB of RAM to run, whereas the Tango update requires only 256MB, making it better for low-end devices.