WPCentral notes that Microsoft's Partner Network website may have accidentally leaked the official name for Windows Phone 7's first major update -- codenamed "Mango" -- which was first shown at MWC in February. A section on the site called "Preview the new Windows Phone OS 7.5" was just noticed late last week, the second time Microsoft documentation has referenced it by that version number (the first being an alleged mistake on a slide at MIX11 earlier this month). That section header is now gone -- it just reads "Preview the Next Version of Windows Phone" at this point -- so it's clear this isn't intended to be public knowledge yet. Of course, 7.5 could still be an internal placeholder while the company decides on a final go-to-market name; either way, it's an interesting indication of how Redmond's positioning this update in the grand scheme of things.
Let's assume for a moment that the 7.5 name makes it to retail. In that event, it's safe to say that Microsoft wouldn't plan to rely on a software branding message to give the platform the kickstart it so desperately needs: 7.5 just doesn't sound "different enough" from 7, and you'd have trouble convincing consumers otherwise with advertising. Over 15 years of disparate desktop Windows branding drives that point home. To me, that'd be an indication that Nokia's hardware could factor very prominently into the platform's second wave of retail attacks. Communicating the value of a refined version of your operating system that makes good on a bunch of year-old shortcomings is tough; showing that operating system running on some beautiful new hardware from a well-known manufacturer, though, is a lot less tricky.