Microsoft officials are acknowledging that they are planning to add ActiveSync support to Hotmail on August 30.
The new capability will let Hotmail users get push e-mail on cell phones and other devices (even if they aren't trying to sync with an Exchange Server on the back-end), company execs told News.com on August 26. The ActiveSync addition also will allow Hotmail users to sync contacts and calendars across their iPhones, iPod Touch devices, Android phones and (once they are available) their Windows Phone 7 devices.
Update: ZDNet UK has a good overview of their tests of ActiveSync on Hotmail on Windows Mobile, Android and other smartphones.
LiveSide.net noted back in June 2010 that Microsoft was testing ActiveSync for Hotmail, and that a number of users had it working. In mid-August -- shortly after Microsoft announced it had completed rolling out the new Hotmail Wave 4 release to all of its Hotmail users -- LiveSide reported that some users were able to access ActiveSync for Hotmail, but some were not. Earlier this week, LiveSide noted that it seemed as though Microsoft was planning to offer ActiveSync for Hotmail more broadly.
I'm unclear whether Microsoft will simply turn on the ActiveSync support for all existing Hotmail users on Monday the 30th or if the company will begin rolling out this capability to its hundreds of millions of Hotmail users starting then. I've asked for clarification, but no word back yet from the Softies.
I've also asked whether Microsoft will be rolling out any other new features or fixes next week, given that a number of Hotmail users have been reporting problems accessing their Hotmail and contacts since Microsoft did the Wave 4 Hotmail rollout. (I'm still getting mail from folks having Hotmail problems, asking for help.) No word back on that yet, either.
Update No. 2: Microsoft isn't answering any questions until Monday -- not even whether this is the start of a progressive rollout or whether everyone will get ActiveSync come Monday. Here's the official (non) comment from a company spokesperson:
“We can confirm that Exchange Active Sync will be available on Monday as part of the ongoing Windows Live updates for consumers. We will provide additional details on the Inside Windows Live blog when we release this on Monday.”