According to a reports via BGR and DigiTimes, the next versions for the Windows Phone operating system following the "Mango" release are code-named "Tango" and "Apollo." There is almost no information on what those operating system updates will contain, outside of this sneaky photo of a unwiped whiteboard at Microsoft Research. Here, there are hints about protocols, input methods and something called an "inspiration engine." What the heck is that?

This photo, courtesy of WMPowerUser.com, shows a whiteboard behind Dr. Victor Bahl, Director of Mobile Computing Research at Microsoft Research (MSR), the R&D group behind many of Microsoft's most innovative projects and services like Bing's social search, Kinect, StreetSide, portions of Windows Phone, plus other Microsoft operating systems and even Microsoft hardware.

Future WP Features?

So what's MSR doing with Windows Phone?

According to the transcription of the whiteboard:

  • TIPC/S (Mango)
  • Localization (Apollo)
  • Inspiration Engine (Apollo)
  • One-handed input and next generation software keyboard (Apollo)
  • Voice Typing
  • Context Engine (Beyond Apollo)

TIPC is a network communication protocol, and the alternative input systems sound great - especially that one-handed software keyboard! But what really piqued our interest is this "inspiration engine" concept. What on earth could that be?

Inspiration Engine?

One of the commenters on WMPoweruser's post found that inspirationengine.com leads to a company website that gathers feedback using emotional cues and facial expressions to determine how users' feel in order to predict their behavior. One of their products, known as "e.mote," lets customers share feedback with companies.

Is this the "inspiration engine" MSR is referring to though, or just a happy coincidence? Let the speculation begin!

Keep in mind that none of this is any confirmation of officially planned Windows Phone features - MSR works on a lot of projects, only some of which are later transferred to commercial products.