Microsoft® just deployed the latest update for Windows Live Hotmail, the ActiveSync synchronization possibility, which enables users to sync their e-mails, contacts, calendar and tasks with the Hotmail servers. The great part about Windows Live, for those who don’t want to invest in a professional, enterprise solution such as Microsoft® Exchange Online (or the complete Business Productivity Online Suite), is that Microsoft® has Windows Live Admin, where administrators can add their domain names to be linked to a Windows Live ID, formally known as a .NET Password.Starting August 30, Hotmail users can use the following settings on their smartphones to enable push e-mail and calendar, tasks and contacts sync:
Server URL: m.hotmail.com
Username: full name with domain info, e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Domain: leave blank
Certificate: accept the SSL certificate when prompted
Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Tasks: all can be enabled
To see a list of all options and limitations, please click here.
For those of you who use Hotmail’s Outlook Connector or Windows Live Mail, you may keep using them, as these programs use MAPI to connect to the server and synchronizes the data for you, on your desktop PC or laptop. If you rather use the POP3 or SMTP protocols to read your Hotmail e-mails (and remember that you can never sync your contacts, calendar or tasks via POP3 and SMTP), you may still use these settings:
POP server: pop3.live.com
POP SSL required: yes
User name: your Windows Live ID, for example firstname.lastname@example.org
Password: the password you usually use to sign in to Hotmail or Windows Live
SMTP server: smtp.live.com
Authentication required: yes (this matches your POP username and password)
TLS/SSL required: yes
Today, ActiveSync is supported by over 300 million mobile devices worldwide, including some of the most popular Windows, Nokia, and Palm smartphones, as well as the iPhone and iPad. Android is not yet supported, but Microsoft® promised to work on the Android support and deploy the update in a few months. So, sorry Google lovers. 😛
Hotmail’s ActiveSync is based on the same version as the old Exchange 2003 with Service Pack 2, which is 2.5. The 2.5 version, has all the needed specifications, yet not the HTML e-mail support, so although your smartphone or Pocket PC supports HTML formatted e-mails, you won’t get any from Windows Live Hotmail’s ActiveSync, just plain text. If you rather have HTML e-mails (and many other functions and options), switch over to Microsoft® BPOS.
There is no filter to select what contacts to sync and what contacts to keep out of sync, so now, with the Facebook and MySpace service integration, you’ll end up with as many contacts as you have in your Windows Live Contacts, Facebook friends list plus MySpace friends list, which in many cases can add up to hundreds. The good part is that Microsoft® is constantly working to improve and fix the issues users find, based on a constant feedback stream from any user.
Good and Free
So, if you like to have push e-mail, contact, calendar and tasks synchronization on your mobile device and to keep up with your digital life from basically anywhere, you can use Hotmail with ActiveSync for free, but if you need a powerful and secure enterprise solution, switch to Microsoft® BPOS. The two services are not even comparable.
All the best,
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