Given the boom of front-facing cameras and their paired video chat software like FaceTime, Skype, GTalk, and Qik, it seems inevitable that Microsoft would want to get in on the trend as soon as possible. Unfortunately, there has been no official word that the next version of WP7, Mango, would support front-facing cameras. Luckily, we don't need official word, when we have leaks from the Mango dev tools.
First, in Mango developer tools Beta 1, there was code found that referred to a "SelfPortraitCamera", which seems like a solid indication of front-facing camera support. Now, from Beta 2 of the Mango dev tools, a screenshot (right) of the WP7 emulator shows a button which looks quite a lot like a button that would switch from a rear-facing camera to front-facing or vice versa. So, it seems likely that not only will Microsoft be putting its Skype acquisition to good use, but 3rd party devs should also be able to use front-facing cameras in their apps.
Of course, the first images of the Nokia Sea Ray
, which is said to be the first phone
running Mango, don't show a front-facing camera. And, given how Microsoft has mandated specific features on handsets so far, it seems likely that if front-facing cameras were to be fully supported in Mango that Microsoft would mandate that all handsets have front-facing cameras. There is still plenty of time for Nokia to add a front camera to the Sea Ray, but right now it still leaves a little bit of doubt as to whether we'll see front-facing camera support in Mango, or if we'll have to wait until Tango.