Windows

Will Mango put Microsoft back in the smartphone game?

Deb Shinder highlights some of the major improvements to Microsoft's first major update to Windows Phone 7 code-named Mango. Two features have not been addressed that she considers deal breakers.

Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 (WP7) OS garnered good reviews upon introduction, but thus far, WP7 phones made by HTC, Samsung, LG, and Dell haven't sold very well. Some speculate that's because of poor marketing and/or lack of enthusiasm on the part of the wireless carriers. Others think potential buyers are waiting for the first WP7 phones from Nokia, which has committed to making Windows Phone its principal platform. While these are undoubtedly factors, many of us have held back on adopting WP7 because of all the features, considered standard on Android, iPhone, and other platforms (and even on its own predecessor, Windows Mobile) that are missing in action in WP7 v1.

Recently the company unveiled its first major update, code-named Mango. Which of these critical deficiencies will it fix? Will it be enough to pep up sales? And which important shortcomings does it fail to address?

What Mango brings to the table

Mango is still in the testing stages and won't be available on phones for at least a few more months. A launch date hasn't been announced but most industry pundits are predicting an autumn release date to compete with the iPhone 5 (expected to be out in September) and Android holiday offerings. According to Steve Ballmer, Mango includes more than 500 new features. But how many of those really matter to users?

The user interface

The distinguishing feature of the WP7 interface -- which is being carried over to the next version of the Windows desktop operating system -- is Live Tiles. These are more useful than icons because they can provide updated information about the apps they represent. Tiles have been improved in Mango, with tile notifications now supporting two-sided application and secondary tiles. Tiles pinned to the start screen flip periodically, making them more animated and more informative, and an app can have more than one tile pinned to the start screen (for example, if you want a tiles for weather information in two locations).

Multitasking at last

Mango does address one of the most often criticized shortcomings of WP7 by adding multitasking support. Multitasking, along with the ability to copy and paste, were two basic "missing" features that Microsoft absolutely had to include as quickly as possible in order to be competitive. (Copy and paste was added to WP7 via its first minor update, "NoDo," released in March).

Even though the first version of the iPhone didn't multitask, either, WP7 came out of the gate competing with iOS 4, which supports multitasking. Android users already had the feature, and perhaps more important, those coming to WP7 from Windows Mobile were used to having it. And even though some would argue that multitasking doesn't matter on a handheld device, and even that it causes more trouble than it's worth, it was important for Windows phones to be able to check off that box in a features comparison list of the major phone platforms. The challenge was to be able to implement multitasking without draining the battery and using up all the memory. Here's a video that explains how multitasking works in Mango.

What does it mean to the user? You can now run audio apps in the background, with music continuing to play when you launch other apps, or start a file download that continues after you navigate away to a different app.

Email improvements

In my opinion, the email client was already one of the most impressive things about WP7. Its version of Mobile Outlook is clean and easy to read and navigate. I like the one-line preview of the message below the subject line, the large font used for the sender's name, and the ease with which you can switch from all contents of the Inbox to unread, flagged, or urgent messages. The WP7 mail client is shown in Figure A on the left, in comparison with the HTC Droid Incredible's email client on the right. Figure A

Mango makes WP7's already good email client even better.

Mango adds several improvements to the email experience:

  • The Inbox shows mail from multiple accounts on one page (universal Inbox).
  • You can view conversation threads, like you do in Outlook 2010, and expand or collapse them.
  • You can view all communications between you and a particular contact, including not just email but also SMS, Windows Live, and Facebook communications.
  • Text-to-speech feature that reads incoming messages and speech-to-text for composing or replying to messages.
  • You can set up two tiles, one for your work email account and one for your personal account.

All of these features will make it much easier for on-the-go professionals to use email more quickly and effectively. I'm excited about the speech recognition integration, which helps solve the problems that arise from the small size of the keyboard and screen on a phone.

A better browsing experience

WP7 shipped with the mobile version of Internet Explorer 7. Mango adds IE 9, which will offer some of the same benefits as the desktop version of IE 9, including HTML5 and CSS 3 support, as well as hardware acceleration for graphics that will enhance performance. In fact, tests have shown Mango's IE 9 outperforming Safari in iOS 4 and possibly iOS 5 as well. It reportedly doesn't have Flash and Silverlight support (at least, at this time).

Mango changes the look of the browser, moving the address box from the top of the page to the bottom. The three soft buttons that were at the bottom of the browser window (Add Favorite, Favorites, and Tabs) are gone, giving you more room for the display of the web page. The address box no longer disappears when you switch to landscape orientation, so you can still enter addresses when you're in landscape mode.

Brian Klug over on AnandTech put the mobile IE 9 browser through its paces and shares the results of performance and standards compliance testing in this article. His conclusion: IE 9 makes big improvements to the web browsing experience.

Developers, developers, developers

The added features and functionality discussed above are aimed at enhancing the user experience, but the success of Windows Phone will ultimately be closely tied to the apps available for the platform, and that means Microsoft has to woo developers. No matter how much users want a particular app, developers can't deliver it without the necessary APIs. Mango adds new APIs that will allow for development of additional types of apps:

  • VoIP and video chat apps that need direct access to the network.
  • Apps that need local SQL CE databases.
  • Apps that need direct access to the camera or gyro.
  • Apps that need (read-only) access to contacts and calendar information.

See this MSDN article for a list of new namespaces and classes.

The Windows Phone 7.1 Developer Tools provide for a great deal of new functionality. Apps will be able to use TCP and UDP protocols to communicate over sockets, enabling two-way communications with cloud services or multi-player gaming. Developers can also use Silverlight and XNA in a single app instead of choosing one or the other, and Visual Basic is available for both Silverlight and XNA Framework apps. Cryptography APIs allow apps to store login credentials in encrypted form so that users don't have to log in every time they use the app.

Developers will also be happy to know that apps that work on Windows Phone 7.0 will continue to work on Windows Phone 7.1 devices.

How to make it even better

We all have our own priorities and private wish lists for features we'd like to see added to Mango (or the following update). Even though I'm impressed with some of the improvements, I'm disappointed that a couple of deal-breaking problems still haven't been addressed. Before I can commit to a Windows Phone as my primary handheld device, it must have:

  • Tethering capability. This is vital. When I travel -- or on the rare occasions that my home Internet connection goes down -- I need to be able to connect my laptop and/or tablet to the Internet using my phone's data connection. There's no compromising on this one.
  • Access to the full file system from my computer. I hate the requirement to use Zune to transfer files between phone and PC, just as the requirement to iTunes was a deal-killer for me when I considered an iPhone. I can plug my Android phone into the computer via USB and access its files in Windows Explorer. I could do it with my old WinMo device, too. That's what I want -- no, that's what I require -- from a Windows phone.

There are other features that would be very nice to have, but those are the biggies. Once we get that out of the way, we can focus on making a pretty and usable interface even more so. Many of the things I'd like to see wouldn't be difficult at all to do. Why do we have so few (and such ugly) color choices for the tiles? Why in the world can't we set a background picture behind the tiles? Heck, some folks would even like to see the Aero UI on Windows phone, and a couple of things I really miss a lot when going from a Droid to a Windows phone are the notification bar at the top and the all-important fourth button (the menu button). Take a look at how one creative high school student envisions a more attractive look for Windows phone.

Summary

Microsoft has a reputation for not really getting any product right until the third try: Windows 3.x, IE 3, and many more. Progress is made incrementally, but it's not until that magical v3 that things really come together. In one sense, Mango is v2 of Windows Phone (as opposed to Windows Mobile). It's the first major update to the completely redesigned OS. It goes a long way toward making Windows Phone more competitive with iPhone and Android, but it doesn't go quite far enough to win me (and many other Windows fan) over. I'm hoping the third time will be a charm, and the next major update -- running on slick new Nokia hardware -- will have all my "musts" and more so I can finally say I'm "all in" with Windows Phone.

Do you think Mango will put Microsoft back in the smartphone game? Post your thoughts in the discussion.

Additional resources on Mango

About

Debra Littlejohn Shinder, MCSE, MVP is a technology consultant, trainer, and writer who has authored a number of books on computer operating systems, networking, and security. Deb is a tech editor, developmental editor, and contributor to over 20 add...

76 comments
algreig
algreig

MS is the punter and Nokia is the hooker. Pretty sad when you have to pay $1,000.000,000 just so someone will put your OS in their phones. Even sadder when you advertise that you're "back in the game" when you weren't a serious player anyway. WM6.5 spent most of its time on the bench - charging the battery. WM6 and 6.5 killed Palm, maybe it will be the end of Nokia as well.

kprince
kprince

This isn't a viable platform without multi-tasking - why you may ask. Purely because a screenreader or a magnification app have to be able to run at the same time as I make calls or email. If not then the phone is not accessible period.

Computer_Magus
Computer_Magus

I bought two of the WP7's in December and was so disappointed that I decided to give one to my son and take to Droid plunge. I have been an avid WinMo since way back when and was extremely disappointed with the loss of sync to my Outlook desktop. I don't do Exchange so WP7 became a major headache. I definitely gave WP7 my all with my docs and spreadsheets and onenotes but even MS's cloud could not sync the LIVE account docs with the phone - very disappointing!!! How is it this phone was even allowed to go live when LIVE has difficulties connecting with it's own product. Now ZUNE?! Wow!!! What a flop!!!!!! Why would a tech company even consider following a platform that is more eye candy and proprietary like iOS? Smartphones and tablets have brought more tech to users and the general public than any computer will. Startrek NG has arrived. We need to be able to browse the files in the portable computers instead of only launching files that were opened by the app. What was MS thinking? A computer/phone that doesn't have "Copy and Paste" WOW! In summary MS needs to pay attention or they will fall by the wayside like so many others...

pranaytechrepub
pranaytechrepub

IE9 was just introduced as an upcoming feature for Windows Phone, presumably in the 'Mango' update.This is quite interesting about WP7, but the question is about using FlashPlayer on it.

Peconet Tietokoneet
Peconet Tietokoneet

A mobile phone to me is just that, NOT a mobile computer. What is happening these days? If you want a mobile computer there are many to choose from, a phone will not give you this/these option(s) but a mobile computer can and with ample memory. With my big fingers why would i need a phone to replace my computer. Two things happening here, Everyone is thinking they need a phone to access their computer programs when it will not (at least not yet). Everyone is thinking (or is made to think by the mobile phone companies) that it is in their own interest to purchase a phone because it does this and that but in truth they (mobile phones) do not even come close to what people expect the phones to do. In truth, do you/we want these phones to be our mini mini computers? I just want to be contactable when i am out not slogging away with Excel/Word.

jaciii
jaciii

Give me a good selection (not just one, and nothing from LG) of Windows Phone 7 from Verizon and I'll be there that day.

wanderson
wanderson

It seems that several of the commenters mis-read my comments about Windows Mobile 7. Let me be clear - Windows mobile 7 - even as unreleased or "early" released platform has a worse record on reliability as compared to Android and iOS. Furthermore, it has a much worse record on security than the other two mobile OS that the commenters did not even address. I could not care less what platform is more popular or what commenters "like" more as a platfor or development environment. These have no bearing on credible reports. If they dispute any assertion that Microsoft is not their Messiah OS, then these two sample articles - corroborated elsewhere show the difference. http://www.zdnet.com/blog/bott/microsoft-versus-microsoft-ie9-busts-msdn-for-a-security-gaffe/3468?tag=nl.e589 http://www.daniweb.com/hardware-and-software/microsoft-windows/windows-nt-2000-xp/news/296911 In first ref. the IE problem applies to Mobile browser as well. In the second, the Security organizations have reported similar rise in attacks o mobile 7, which far surpasses attaches and intrusions on Android or iOS. Please refer to Cert reports for details on security issues on Microsoft Mobile 7.

inventif
inventif

I am a heavy user of the Outlook Tasks and not having tasks in the Office version under WP7 is a definite deal breaker for me. My work depends on the prioritisation system (MYN by Michael Linenberger) which is tightly knit with tasks. Without tasks, for me, WP7 is a kiddie-game system.

wolferl91m
wolferl91m

After being abandoned in my WM5 pocketpc by this company's monopoly and never made a update your a minibrowser WM5 and I had to replace it with OPERA, and the total oblivion with the hotmail pre-installed by their super-slower web page of windows live...NO thanks... I switch to Android.

LarsDennert
LarsDennert

7! Version 7! Not 3! Still a joke. Does it support multiple exchange accounts? They'll never get it right.

wanderson
wanderson

The article author, along with most other Microsoft pundits misses at least two very important points in regard the features of "new" Windows mobile platform. Windows Mobile Operating Systems (OS), including Mobile 7 have not proven to be any more reliable - meaning proven unreliable, as well insecure as compared to competitive platform OS, and thus cannot be trusted to perform at acceptable levels, no matter how many bells and whistles are added. Unless and until these truths are addressed by Ms. Shinder and others, the reporting is nothing less than Microsoft propaganda.

sabza
sabza

I would like to believe so, otherwise they would never catch-up. I think they are aware of the pressure that could arise if people are not impressed by the final product.

Shadeburst
Shadeburst

In Pashto, the language of most Taliban adherents, the word mango means "death." (Source Ahmed Rashid, author of "Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia.") Sort of like the old Chevy Nova. To speakers of Spanish, Nova means "No Go." Needless to say the Nova didn't sell well south of the Rio Grande.

randallizm
randallizm

The tech is lacking in these phones, making my other devices I have had in the past more practical and more affordable since I already have them. I would not go to these phones unless they start carrying things that the companies know we need, take a look into the past and figure it out. I won't go into the units, but you understand what I am saying if you have them and are not dazzled by all the hype. I want to keep working not play with a new gadget until I am convinced that it isn't for me and I wasted money.

theodat
theodat

WP7 already has tethering capability via USB... I've been using it since day 1 (http://bit.ly/dn5Ikk). Regarding the file system, although very much like this feature in WM, it is not a deal breaker since I'm using SP. The feature that is a must is to be able to attach documents (doc, xls, pdf, etc.) in an email... Not only pics!

EzyMedia
EzyMedia

The list of the missing bits MS lobotimized when they rushed the WP7 onto the market to meet the 2010 Xmas market goes on and on... enough to start a blog on the schmuks and really push upgrades. Seems these days all the competitors have the basics but WP7 is the obese elephant in the room. So many forums, so many disappointed/angry customers, and I'm one. Forget Windows Phone 7 - they haven't even implemented their own instant messaging software... You know what's really bizzarre... they own Skype and their's is the only smartpone that doesn't have it! What a crock!!!!! Expletive expletive etc etc. Don't waste your money, or your time waiting for them to deliver their half-arsed upgraded.

sysop-dr
sysop-dr

These things have good processors now so how about docking and using a full sized monitor with keyboard and mouse? Androids can do this why not WP? And don't stop at 1.2 gig processors the 1.6 are out adn 2.0's are coming soon. For some people this could be all the computer they need. My wife for instance. Glad to know I'm not the only one who refuses to use WP7 because it doesn't do as well as WM6.

fhrivers
fhrivers

All of you Windows Mobile junkies need not apply. If Microsoft catered to all of your wishes, WP7 would be the same bloated, slow and buggy OS that WM 6.1 is. As for tethering, someone could release an app to support this. If it's built in, that's one more way for cellphone providers to track it and charge you for tethering.

theodat
theodat

I have to agree with you o one point: In December, the software was far from ready... However, we are now in July my friend... Copy/Paste has been included since February (need to update your son's WP7...). I really don't understand your point on "I don't do Exchange so WP7 became a major headache." You can get your emails from any protocol or account... So whether or not you "do" Exchange or not should not be a problem to access your email. You are taking about StarTrek NG but you still want to plug in your phone - like in the 90' to synchronize your mails and or docs... Quite bizarre but anyways... Regarding Zune, I think it is a matter or preference when you compare to the competition... If I were you, I'll try a Zune Pass for a month and then, consider if it is a flop or not. Bottom line, you were a early adopter and disappointed back in December... So, go update your phone, read or try the Mango update and come back with concrete and current complaint.

bitcrazed
bitcrazed

This is because Adobe needs to fix their colossally resource-hungry codec and rendering engine. Running flash on a phone is a horrible experience because it drains so much power from the battery so very quickly.

bitcrazed
bitcrazed

... go buy a feature phone and be happy. I, on the other hand, am FAR more productive when I can be contactable via phone/sms/IM/work-email/personal-email(s), etc. and easily get access to my OneNote(s), docs, spreadsheets, etc. If you spend 90% of your time sat at the same desk, then you probably don't need a smartphone. If, on the other hand, you have to spend quite a lot of your time travelling, visiting clients, while working with many people around the globe in different time-zones, then you need a smartphone.

SoundLogic
SoundLogic

sorry but I'm pretty sure you have no clue what you're talking about which is abundantly clear from the links you cited (which have nothing to do with Windows Phone 7) and your lack of any valid points or evidence. I'm open to hearing you out, but please bring some real facts...don't cite articles and think people won't read them. Otherwise you're wasting our time and yours.

theodat
theodat

you have a to-do list in Mango (go in you calandar/swipe to the left) that sync with outlook. Have you tried Mango yet?

marvin
marvin

It is a mystery as to why Microsoft keeps killing off good useful apps such as Tasks. I to use it and want it synced to my WIN Phone 7. It seems that Microsoft's PC Outlook developers and Phone Outlook developers are on two different planets. They have the basis of a home run product with the WIN phone 7 and should be able to compete with Apple and Google. But they need to get their entire team working together to make that happen.

SoundLogic
SoundLogic

I find it unfortunate you were let down by previous models. That was the past, but I think it's important to remember that Microsoft was in uncharted territory with the smartphone and the tablet pc - they were the pioneers and it was Apple who improved upon their model. I have much respect for what Apple's doing in the smartphone market and I say this as a programmer who primarily works on the .NET stack. I also believe, however, that Microsoft is doing a brilliant job with Silverlight and their App model is much better and much more controlled than Android's. I picked up an Asus Transformer to test out during my trip to Boulder this weekend. One of the big things I noticed after finding many applications failed to install or the install experience seemed very sketchy (even for marketplace recommended applications)... the Android marketplace is a mess. I knew that already but I thought it was more due to viruses and a poorly controlled marketplace in that there was little or no code review, but I didn't realize it was so fragmented across devices and operating system versions. When I Google'd why there was no support for Netflix or Hulu, the first article I found said: It seems that the number of Android devices is causing the issue, due to a lack of ???standard streaming-playback features that the Netflix application can use to gain broad penetration across all available Android phones,??? said Netflix. The post continued, ???In the absence of standardization, we have to test each individual handset and launch only on those that can support playback.??? Meanwhile .apk eBooks don't work on at least the Honeycomb 3.1 OS (at least for the Asus Transformer) - epub support is much better. When I went to purchase the tablet, I was looking at other models with Android 3.0 and the salesperson said 3.1 would be available soon on the manufacturers developed a compatible release. You can't just upgrade. Major failure. I see Microsoft and Apple being the major players within the next few years. Google still has to figure out a mobile strategy because currently they have a big problem - they're not getting any advertising revenue from their mobile products. It will be interesting to see what happens with Google+. One of the things I've noticed Google seems pretty good at is getting biased articles out there that are completely one sided. At the end of the day, Google is a company just like Microsoft and Apple - they are not open source like they pretend to be...they are open source when it is beneficial to their business as we learned from their failure to release the Honeycomb source code. It was ASUS who released the source code and there is no indication they did so with Google's consent, but rather with a somewhat defensive statement that they did this legally under the terms of the license. It seems Google employees or supporters like to call everything Microsoft does "FUD" yet they can't back up their claims as indicated by Greg Gregman's inability to defend his statements or response to my comment here: http://bit.ly/oaCxVp (Greg claims to be a Google developer working on the WebGL project) I'll admit I primarily develop with a .NET stack, but I'm also using HTML5, javascript, etc... I like .NET and C# a lot, but I would use another framework or language if it more appropriately fit the requirements for whatever project I'm working on. I may play into the rivalry between Microsoft and Apple every once in a while, but at the end of the day I'm not afraid to admit that I admire much of what Apple's doing and I think Microsoft has learned from their model and followed suit. My point is, I'm trying to be reasonable here, but I can't buy in to this continued front Google wants to put on. Today, I noticed a barrage of articles supporting Google+ and talking about how great it supposedly is...it's been a while since many were given the "opportunity" to participate in the Google+ beta trials, so I'm wondering why sooo many articles were released on the same day...it almost seems planned...not something that would be hard to do for a company that controls what I'm pretty sure is the most popular gateway to the rest of the internet. As much as Google and Google fans try to play it off, there's likely a legitimate reason Google is under scrutiny once again, "...and the question is if they are using their monopoly to suppress competition," says Carr & Ferrell attorney Gary Reback. (http://usat.ly/qqu49u) Google states they're being victimized, but it seems like a P.R. front to me...it seems more like a defensive reaction - like they have something to hide - I don't think a multi-billion dollar empire would otherwise want to appear so weak that they would be vexed by something they are supposedly not guilty of.

theodat
theodat

Actually, WP7 supports multiple exchange account... since 1st lauch! No need for the Mango update for that... Have you used a WP7 yet?

sperry532
sperry532

"Not proven more reliable" does not mean "proven unreliable". It means "not proven more reliable". Period. Also, what is it supposed to be more reliable than? Android? iOS? Win 7? Win XP? OSX?

fcepeda99
fcepeda99

Shadeburst... Mango is a delicius fruit in Latinoamerica, also NOVA doesnot mean what you say, "No va" it??s "no go"... see the space? Nova is a kind of star!!!!

bitcrazed
bitcrazed

Where is the tech lacking? I have never experienced a slow-down on my (very heavily used) WP7 Samsung Focus, so don't tell me that a smartphone HAS to have a dual-core 2GHz processor ... at least not today. New Mango phones will have front-facing cameras and hardware gyro's. They're also likely to have more modern cores that run a little more quickly, but which, more importantly, consume LESS power.

bitcrazed
bitcrazed

Microsoft doesn't own Skype. Yet. They're awaiting regulatory approval before the purchase can complete. Once that's done, the legal and financial processes must complete. Then they have to do a bunch of work to integrate the businesses (to a greater or lesser degree). Then they have to work out a business strategy, product strategy and then build, test and ship product. This isn't going to happen overnight. So, now that NoDo is out, what are the many missing features you're waiting for? I use a WP7 daily and even without NoDo or Mango, it was an enormously immersive and powerful phone experience that leaves the iOS/Droid "app-launcher shell" far behind. NoDo added a couple of nice-to have features. Mango is a major step forward and truly eliminates 99% of the remaining gaps and issues.

bitcrazed
bitcrazed

... how are you attaching your WP6 device to a keyboard, mouse and full-sized screen? Precisely. The scenario you describe above is a niche scenario today that I expect will become more mainstream with time. Windows8 will run on desktops, laptops and on tablets too. It's likely it'll also run future versions of Windows Phone too. When this happens, you'll have a common UI across all devices.

elvisfan0108
elvisfan0108

I did not even have a problem with the old WM apps not working. However, It has to be able to sync locally with Outlook and Office. It is after all, Microsoft Outlook and Office.

elvisfan0108
elvisfan0108

We like being able to sync locally, without going to the cloud. At least give us the choice. Right now there is no choice. Just because it is old technology doesn't make it bad. I had cars with AntiLock brakes in the late 80s. We still use them.

marvin
marvin

Many excellent improvements, but still a few empty holes to fill. (see previous discussions on Outlook, the Cloud.

Chief Bottle Washer
Chief Bottle Washer

to work on your punctuation. The ideas/solutions you suggest are delivered as "run on" sentences.

bitcrazed
bitcrazed

"It has to be able to sync locally with Outlook and Office". WHY? Oulook just caches a copy of your mailboxes that are stored at your own Exchange / your employer's Exchange / Hotmail / Gmail / YahooMail / etc. If you're using email, you're already using the cloud!

bitcrazed
bitcrazed

Name these gaping issues. Seriously. And don't reel-off a list of edge-cases that'd only ever affect < 1% of general phone users.

Chief Bottle Washer
Chief Bottle Washer

It's automatic and you don't have to mess around in the engine compartment.

GWCC
GWCC

You're a moron

elvisfan0108
elvisfan0108

I use Yahoo, but once again, it is not the e-mail that I am concerned about. It is the contacts and calendar. I have seen posts like these get nasty. I just wanted to avoid something like that happening.

bitcrazed
bitcrazed

What email service(s) do you use? Work Exchange? Hotmail? Gmail? YahooMail? Something else? The tin-foil hat comment was meant to be funny. Do I really have to prefix every tongue-in-cheek mildly humorous comment with a :) ;) or :p ? :)

elvisfan0108
elvisfan0108

Unless MS is going in at night and copying my calendar and contents. The only place they are located is on my computer and my phone. I seem to recall a recent incident at Sony Playstation. There has been plenty of hacking at credit card companies also. I just don't want my information out there. I would at least like a choice. You're also starting to get a little personal here. "Take off your tin-foil hats"

bitcrazed
bitcrazed

If you use outlook to manage your mail, contacts and calendar, guess where your email, contacts and calendar are replicated to? Your email provider in theory has access to every mail you ever send to anyone. Period. Take-off your tin-foil hats and subscribe to an email service from a reputable service provider such as Microsoft, Google, etc. They're governed by well published and well-respected security and privacy policies. If companies like McDonalds, most universities and research establishments along with many branches of government are willing to trust all their emails, contacts and calendars to Microsoft, Google. etc., I am pretty sure you can trust yours to them too.

bitcrazed
bitcrazed

The scenario you describe is precisely what practically any modern-day smartphone will do including current Windows Phone 7: It'll sync your email, calendars and contacts from multiple Exchange, Hotmail, IMAP/POP3 accounts. Want your docs avialable from your phone? Windows Phone Mango + Office365 and/or SkyDrive is an unbeatable combination.

marvin
marvin

I hope that the Microsoft development team is tuned into this discussion as tere are some very good points being delivered.

marvin
marvin

to 'bitcrazed', As stated in the reply from 'elvisfan0108', it is not the EMAIL, but rather Contacts and Calendars that are at issue. I do not want a cloud provider or cloud hacker having access to my entire Contact List or my personal Calendar for very obvious reasons. You are correct about the "free" email services as they are all owned by the "cloud" providers and do store EMAILS until they are individually deleted. I am not sure that they are ever permanently deleted. My EMAIL server allows Outlook to determine retention duration an control real permanent deletion.

elvisfan0108
elvisfan0108

I use Outlook for E-mail. However Outlook also contains my contacts and my calendar. I need it to locally sync contacts and Calendar. I also want my Office documents on my phone. If I make a change to a calendar entry on my phone, the next time I do a sync, I expect to see the same entry on my PC. The same thing for certain Office Documents. I don't want that information in the cloud.

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