Outlook.com a boon to iPhone, iPad users

Outlook.com a boon to iPhone, iPad users

Summary: Microsoft’s newly launched Outlook.com offers iPhone, iPad users ability to sync their contacts with modern Web-based e-mail service.

TOPICS: Microsoft

Microsoft on Tuesday launched the preview of Outlook.com, a new Web e-mail service touted as designed for "the next billion mailboxes".

Partially a marketing exercise to create a new brand unencumbered by the established but old Hotmail, the Microsoft team was able to put 15 years of experience running and tweaking Hotmail into building a new Web mail system built from the ground up.

This is significant as Microsoft is loosened from the restrictions and kludge of what must be an ancient codebase. Starting from a completely clean slate, the company can focus on incorporating the best tried-and-tested features and tailored for the latest browsers.

Following in Gmail's footsteps, one of Outlook.com's features include a minimalist aesthetic that has 60 percent fewer pixels in the header, with 30 percent more messages visible in the inbox from the Webmail client. Perhaps more importantly, the service has no display advertisement while the search box is aligned to the left to further reduce space wastage.

Another feature that caught my attention was the full support for Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) found on Outlook.com. Previously, Android smartphone users who want to sync or back up their contact information with a cloud service will in all likelihood choose Gmail devices. Unfortunately, the ability to sync contact data with Gmail is conspicuously absent on the iOS platform.

The launch of iCloud filled this gap, but left the backup data inaccessible from non-iOS mobile platforms and the PC.

With its launch, Outlook.com has now become an alternative destination with which to sync contact information--and one that also sports a modern Webmail interface.

You can read more about Outlook.com here.

Topic: Microsoft

Paul Mah

About Paul Mah

Paul is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. He enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones and networking devices.

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  • Are you sure Gmail EAS on iOS doesn't support Contact sync?

    Outlook.com looks loads better than Hotmail but you're not particularly good at your research.

    Outlook.com is hardly built from the "ground up", the feature set with Hotmail is identical (except for Skype, which isn't live yet) and you can see in the address bar Outlook is run on top of Windows Live, as Hotmail is.

    Microsoft have created a new, fresh user interface but the the infrastructure is clearly the same.

    As to Gmail contact sync, this link shows a picture of Gmail using Exchange ActiveSync on iOS and offering Contact sync:


    Besides Hotmail on iOS3/iOS4 (choose Exhange enter m.hotmail.com in the server field) or iOS5 (choose Hotmail) already offers everything Outlook.com does. Namely: Mail, Calendar, Contacts.

    Outlook.com doesn't add anything Hotmail was/is already doing.

    You even choose Exchange or Hotmail when setting up Outlook.com on iOS. Outlook.com uses the same Windows Live infrastructure Hotmail does.
    • Agree with bradavon

      Gmail contact sync has definitely been available on iOS for as long as I've owned an iPhone (which is since my iPhone 3G).

      And agree that outlook.com is not a complete rebuild of Hotmail. It's a new coat of paint with a new name, that's it.

      The only time Hotmail has ever been completely rebuilt from the ground up would probably be the release of Windows Live Hotmail in 2007 (I think it was), where it was switched from the plain old HTML interface to the swifty AJAX interface.