New Hotmail to Synch with Smartphones

When Microsoft began beta testing the next version of Windows Live Hotmail in mid-June, one feature that had been promised -- synching between Hotmail and smartphones -- was not yet available.

Some savvy readers of the LiveSide.net blog, however, are reporting that they have been able to get Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) Exchange ActiveSync to work.

"A number of commenters (Stefano, Jeroen, and others) seem to have it working already, after having guessed at the address (http://m.hotmail.com -- not too hard to figure out)," LiveSide.net staff writer Kip Kniskern said a post on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Microsoft confirmed that the link between the next version of Hotmail and smartphones that support ActiveSync is planned to be added officially sometime this summer.

"Microsoft’s Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) protocol allows Hotmail users to synchronize their email, contacts, calendars, and to-do lists between their smartphone and PC," a Microsoft spokesperson said in an e-mail to InternetNews.com.

According to a fact sheet posted by Microsoft, there are nearly 300 million mobile phones in use that support ActiveSync, including Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone. Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) also licenses ActiveSync.

Microsoft first showed the upcoming update of Hotmail -- which does not have a specific version number as most other Microsoft products do -- as a preview in mid-May.

In mid-June, Microsoft began rolling the beta out to the 360 million current Hotmail users and, at that time, said it would take several months to roll it out to everyone.

"Hotmail supports push e‐mail on the Web, PC and now also on the mobile phone. Using Exchange ActiveSync, available on nearly 300 million phones, with the new Hotmail you can not only seamlessly synchronize e‐mail between your phone and the Web, but also synchronize your calendar and contacts," said a Microsoft fact sheet posted online.

Although some users can get access to the ActiveSync technology, Microsoft is not ready to roll support for it out just yet. In a message on Twitter, Ryan Burkhardt, who works on the Hotmail team, explained that ActiveSync support will be added separately.

"There will be a separate rollout this summer. It's not part of what you get today. Watch the blog!" Burkhardt's tweet said.

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing writer at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.


Microsoft, Windows Live, Hotmail, Exchange ActiveSync