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Microsoft is packing a ton of stuff into the next Windows Phone version, in areas including business communications, search, games, web browsing and underlying support for third-party apps.

That much is clear after the company this morning announced a series of new business features planned for the next major upgrade of Windows Phone, known by the code name “Mango,” set for release later this year. The news follows recent reports on the Windows Phone Dev Podcast disclosing some of the consumer features planned for the Mango release.

What’s not clear is whether Mango will also deliver the type of attention-grabbing new features that would help the company wrestle users away from the iPhone, Android and BlackBerry. The leaks and confirmed features so far are interesting, and there are a lot, but they’re mostly in the realm of incremental improvements and catch-ups.

The real test will come next week, when Microsoft is set to “lift the curtain” on the Mango release during a special event in New York City. In the meantime, here’s some of what has been reported (official, unofficial and rumored).

  • Bing Audio: Shazam-style audio track recognition
  • Multitasking for third-party apps, deeper integration with live tiles
  • An overhauled Live Tile system (Details)
  • Internet Explorer 9, support for HTML 5
  • Bing Vision: Integrated scanning for barcodes, tags, text, etc.
  • Voice recognition for drafting text messages
  • Email folders pinnable to the start screen for quick access
  • Facebook Chat and Windows Live Messenger integration
  • New conversation view for email exchanges
  • Ability to search email servers for archived messages
  • New Lync app for Windows Phone (IM and presence), a likely first step toward Skype integration
  • Support for complex passwords (alphanumeric)
  • Information rights management support for protected emails and documents
  • Ability to access hidden corporate WiFi networks
  • Native podcast search and download in the Windows Phone Marketplace
  • Integrated turn-by-turn directions
  • The ability to send SMS text messages to preset groups of contacts
  • Integration of Office 365 and SkyDrive in the Office hub
  • Overhaul of the Games hub, with an auto-sync feature
  • Twitter integration into the Windows Phone People hub
  • The ability to quickly search for installed apps by keyword
  • Access to motion sensor and camera by third-party apps

Updated at 11 a.m. with a few more bullet points based on feedback in comments and on Twitter. Thanks for the help.

Sources: Microsoft Mix (video), Microsoft Windows Phone Blog, Microsoft at Mobile World CongressPaul Thurrott’s Windows Phone SecretsWindows Phone Dev PodcastWM Power UserMary Jo Foley’s All About Microsoft, WinRumorsWPCentral.

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