Elizabeth Montalbano at InfoWorld:
Two other new test versions for Windows Live services — Windows Live Mail and Windows Live Mail Desktop Beta — will be available in March, the company said.
Windows Live Mail, already in beta, is expected to go live on Friday to a wider audience with new features added at the request of customers, Microsoft said. Those features are the ability to view Windows Live Mail with a Hotmail user interface, and the ability to personalize the service by applying color themes to the user interface. Windows Live Mail eventually will replace MSN Hotmail, an e-mail hosted service Microsoft currently offers.
Microsoft will release the first beta for another service, Windows Live Mail Desktop, in mid-March, the company said. The service is an e-mail client that is similar to Microsoft’s Outlook Express offering and can work in conjunction with Windows Live Mail and other services. Windows Live Mail Desktop will make offline mail, account aggregation and other services available for free to Windows Live Mail users, Microsoft said.
When last we heard, Windows Live Mail (codename Kahuna) was at version M4 and being improved in limited beta, but now the Hotmail team says version “M5″ is ready to rumble:
It’s coming very soon, we promise. But for those who can’t wait, here’s a sneak peak at all the new features for Windows Live Mail Beta “M5” (M5 is geek speak for Milestone 5). If you’re a WL Mail beta tester you won’t have to do anything to get it — your inbox will update automatically. If you aren’t a beta tester, go sign up!
I don’t have space to review all the great features that are already part of Windows Live Mail, you can look over our earlier blog posts for that. This is just all the NEW stuff.
Follow the link to find out about:
- Hotmail Classic View
- Pick your own colors
- New user wizard
- Configurable reading pane
- Outlook-like shortcuts
- and more
As for Windows Live Mail Desktop, Chris at LiveSide scores an interview with Phil Holden, Director of Windows Live, and discusses it (among other topics):
This free desktop client integrates fully with existing Live services, allowing you to access your Live Mail accounts without opening your browser. As well as this, the client provides access to other email accounts via POP and IMAP, integrates with Windows Live Desktop Search and Live Contacts and includes an RSS reader. Despite being ad-supported like Live Mail, Premium users will have an ad-free experience.
Would it be fair to call this Outlook Express Live? Perhaps. However this is definitely something users have been requesting for a long while now. For those who are keen to give this a try, the beta program will start in a few weeks time.
More by following the link including a screen shot and the audio interview.