Though it’s not launching for several more months, Microsoft is getting its first major Windows Phone update — codenamed “Mango” — out in front of developers and media way early, just as it did with the Windows Phone 7 kickoff a year ago. As a refresher, this is the update that Redmond first teased at Mobile World Congress back in February, but it wasn’t until a press event in New York about a month ago that we really got a deep dive on what Mango brings to the table. All told, they’re claiming a total of around 500 real, actual, customer-facing improvements, particularly focused on contact management, multitasking, and Bing — but there are tweaks spread throughout the entire platform.

There’s no new hardware to talk about — yet — but we’ve got a Samsung Focus here with Mango loaded, so it’s time to dig in and see what’s changed, what’s good, and what needs improvement. Remember: this isn’t a final build, and pretty much everything you read here is subject to change (hopefully for the better) by the time you’ve got a retail Mango device in your hands. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s have a look at how far we’ve come since 7.0.