I have a Samsung Blackjack that I recently upgraded to Windows Mobile 6. I like it a lot and I want to use it for more stuff. I also have a pretty nice Windows Live mail address that is 10 characters long including all the @'s and .'s which was a pretty good trick I thought and it is a good enough e-mail address that I'd actually like to hold on to it for as long as possible and heck, you know, make use of it on my phone. Since Windows Mobile and Windows Live both got major releases\udates last year there was a good opportunity for some collaboration between the Live Services folks and the Windows Mobile folks to get something like "Push Mail for Hotmail" working and my understanding all along is that once I got WM6 running I could dive in and get cool integrated stuff, easy as pie.
To be fair to the Windows Mobile and Live Services guys they seem to have delivered what I'm looking for. You get this wonderfully integrated client with the WM6 platform called Windows Live for Mobile. As you'd expect you enter your credentials into it and you have Search, Mail, IM and maybe more all working hyper snappy because the client is designed to deliver content perfectly on small screen devices over relatively low bandwidth links. Apparently, I believe. I can't say whether it actually does or not because my Windows Mobile 6 device doesn't include this helper app and that appears to be a common problem, at least with AT&T supplied devices. Because of the way the WM platform is engineered and the fact that OEM's and Telecom Carriers get to decide what is actually included in the package many of the WM6 devices that end users are buying have specific Microsoft supplied components removed. To make this even more of a pain you can't (easily* or legally**) get a copy of the missing bits and install them yourself manually. If optional OS components are not delivered by your Carrier\OEM then tough luck, you just ain't getting them buddy.
What's worse is that I can't even use POP\IMAP to sync Live Mail with the built in e-mail client on my phone because I don't have a premium account. The only option available to me on my phone is to use the http://mobile.live.com interface over Pocket-IE. That works and it's a pretty well streamlined web app optimised effectively for mobile phone use but it's nowhere near as slick as a native e-mail client would be.
In stark contrast to this I am able to set up and configure my Gmail account to work with Windows Mobile's built in e-mail client. The process even has an automated setup where the Windows Mobile E-Mail client automatically handles all the nasty POP\IMAP\SMTP server configuration stuff and the result works perfectly well me.
I understand that Microsoft has an operational strategy for Live.com that has led to the limitations on POP\IMAP access so that only paying subscribers get access to offline mail through third party app's and I understand that Windows Mobile has had to allow OEM's (and Cellular Telco's in particular) to remove some features they see as competing with products of their own. However the end result is the absolute lunacy of a situation where this degraded Windows Mobile 6 mail client provides me with a (far) better service from Gmail on Windows Mobile than I do from Microsoft's own Windows Live product.
I'm not without resources as far as the Windows Mobile Platform is concerned and since I got a bit irritated as I finished that last paragraph I decided to see how hard it would be to fix this. I pulled a copy of the relevant files from a WM6 platform setup which gave me the "Windows Live for Mobile" installation bits. I was able to install it on my phone just like any other app and now I have a the nice compact Windows Live client with my Live Mail configured. Configuration is just as it should be - username and password only and off you go. So it would be possible for Microsoft to provide a one shot installer and config utility for any (application unlocked***) WM6 phones if someone was to really want to do it.
Anyway I have it working after a little work (and it works excellently) but I can't help but think that this is not a good way to go about increasing market share.
- * For your average punter - clearly if you know about *-developer.com it will be fairly easy for you.
- ** See above, it might be pretty easy but it's certainly legally suspect and in breach of someone's TOS
- *** Most are these days by default but if not the net provides sufficient info on how to unlock most that aren't.