New Hotmail/Outlook Sucks on iOS & Android & Why That's Good for Microsoft

Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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New Hotmail/Outlook Sucks on iOS & Android & Why That's Good for Microsoft

So the big news today is the revamped Hotmail, which is a dramatic improvement over the old version in terms of design aesthetics as well as usability. Sporting a Metro-like UI it is quite apparent that Microsoft is dedicating serious resources on a unified user interface that is the same no matter if you're using a laptop/PC, Windows Phone, Xbox 360, or Windows 8 tablet. This investment could pay long dividends for Microsoft. Who wouldn't want a consistent UI across multiple devices? It lessens the learning curve, builds instant familiarity, and a strong emotional attachment.

The new Hotmail is being offered on Outlook.com, though you can upgrade your existing Hotmail email address as well. But for new users you have the option of choosing a @outlook.com address. The close Microsoft / Facebook relationship is paying off since the new Hotmail features direct Facebook chatting, importing of Facebook friends' email addresses, pulls pictures, etc.

Of course, once I heard about the new look for Hotmail, I immediately logged into my rarely used Hotmail account to try it out. I upgraded it to the new version and played with it on my desktop. Naturally, I wanted to see if this new UI would work on my Apple iPhone 4S.
microsoft-hotmail-outlook-apple-ios.PNG

Unfortunately, it only partially works. Yes, you can type a contact's name, but it won't auto-search and match your contacts - so you have to type the entire email address manually. Not so good. Next, you can click the Subject field and enter a Subject. Ok, looking good. Then I clicked the Rich Text Editor (RTE) field and no keyboard popped up. I touched the field again - nothing. I couldn't type into the message body. I even clicked Options and chose Plain Text, thinking maybe if I disable the RTE, that might work. Nope, it keeps RTE and doesn't allow me to switch. I was able to send the email with my Subject text, but no message body.

Next, I tried Android - using a Samsung Galaxy Note. It too wouldn't allow me to type in the message body. cry_smile I'm sure if I tried a tablet like my iPad or an Android tablet I'd have the same problem. So what does this mean? Well for one, it means I have to stick with the mobile version of Hotmail/Outlook. While the mobile interface is OK, I want the full features sported by Outlook, which Microsoft has said will support Skype calling at some point as seen here:

outlook-inbox-skype-integration.jpg

Because both iOS and Android are "limiting" in offering FULL Windows app support, some browser plugins, Silverlight, Adobe Flash (iOS only), I truly believe the Microsoft Surface tablet will be an iPad and Android tablet killer. If I was using a Windows 8 tablet I'm sure the RTE editor would work just fine. I also believe that is why Samsung is working hard on a Windows 8 tablet themselves, because even Samsung sees the potential behind a full touch-enabled version of Windows with no limitations. Apple iOS and Android aren't bad operating systems, but they only get me 90% there. I want the remaining 10% features.
Call me a Microsoft fanboy, but Windows 8 tablets for the win! love-hearts

(Note: I own an iPad & iPhone 4S)


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