Microsoft has been horribly squandering their Hotmail service for years. They have promised change for ages but things have gotten so bad that I no longer know anyone who actually uses an @Hotmail.com address as their email. (Its almost as bad as an @AOL.com address) It looks like Microsoft has finally wised up and released something actually competitive with their new Outlook Preview. This new preview sort of looks like their new Outlook 365 for enterprise and is a nice clean interface without the blaring advertisements and horrid UI found in Hotmail.
This new Outlook preview is available now and Outlook is gunning for their users back from Gmail. They are offering features like Gmail contact sync and simplified instructions for migrating from Gmail. Along with that there is tight integration with Skydrive and features like Exchange ActiveSync for PlayBook users. Oddly they do not have support for IMAP which is a real bummer for some users who prefer that format. On the other hand they are making a point of stacking themselves up against Gmail feature-wise. (Their own comparison)
I have tested an Outlook.com account on both my 9900 and PlayBook and it seems to work OK. I really see no reason to switch from Gmail unless you have something against them philosophically. On the other hand if you are a hotmail user I HIGHLY recommend trying out the new Outlook Preview free at www.outlook.com. Hopefully Microsoft does not place arbitrary limits on it like requiring a monthly fee for ActiveSync access. You can read more about the preview at www.outlookpreview.com or watch their intro video below:
PS: Does anyone else see the irony in Microsoft asking “Why have our expectations become so low?” when it comes to email? Thankfully they woke up and smelled the coffee.