All new Windows Live

Last week we announced the all new Windows Live, updating some existing services and adding new ones. Windows Live is basically split up in 2 free rich web services (such as Hotmail, Skydrive, …) and also free downloadable software called Windows Live Essentials. The software has been in public beta for some weeks now, but last week we announced the full story including the web services part. To be totally clear, the web services will be rolled out soon, but here’s what they’ll look like.

Together with the folks from CommonCraft they made a little movie – in the known style – to explain it all a bit more.


What it all means? It’s almost there, it looks good and I can finally talk about it :) I’ve been using the full set of services and clients for a while now I find it the best release (this on is called ‘wave 3’ internally) so far. Checking on the blogs after the announcement shows that most bloggers, reviewers, … seem to agree. So that’s even better. Hope you will all like it too, here are some quotes:

”My early reaction is surprisingly positive, and I can’t say that the two earlier Live Waves impressed me. Microsoft had the right concepts, but marginally executed on them. Wave 3 feels different and may follow the old axiom that Microsoft gets things right on the third version. The private beta was very fast—surprisingly so. Response was quicker than running desktop applications in Windows.” Joe Wilcox (Microsoft Watch)

“Microsoft’s software plus services strategy has clearly infiltrated as well as their approach with Office. users can now access a variety of online services like mail, calendar, photos, online storage, etc., as well as downloaded services that include a mail client, instant messaging, Movie Maker, Photo Gallery, the Toolbar and other services. And now it’s also one big social network. The result is an impressive personal productivity suite that makes me almost wish I wasn’t solely a Mac user.” Michael Arrington (Techcrunch)

“This is Big. Overall, these new services represent a major upgrade to the online part of the Windows Live suite. Microsoft is clearly trying to challenge both Yahoo and Google with its new photo application, while the new profiles and groups tie all the Live services together into a very sophisticated social network.” Frederic Lardinois (ReadWriteWeb)

I hope you all take some time to check out what’s available already and check all of it once it’s out there. With the renewed services, more integrated approach, 25G of free storage, social network partner integration, … I really think it’s worth it.


Unusual unboxing

Like I needed more convincing to go and buy the Samsung Omnia right? Even though this video is created by Samsung, it is a refreshing approach to unboxing gadgets like we see so many times on the tech blogs. Job well done! Now tell me when and where I can get it, curious to see if it matches up to the Diamond.

My mobile life

Sometimes I think I live on mobile. If there’s a device I really couldn’t miss it’s my mobile phone. Ask my wife, if on occasion I don’t take my mobile phone with me, she’ll wonder how it’s possible I forgot it. It’s just too odd for me to be without. According to my mom, it’ll grow on my ears one day. Whatever ;)

Anyway, it’s true that mobile is important for me, ever since I got my first mobile phone some 10 years ago. Every year I hope that mobile will really breakthrough, but unfortunately also this year won’t be the year of mobile, just like 2007, 2006 nor 2005 were the year of mobile. It’s that one prediction that I wish it were through, but you know it won’t be.

It’s not even in our hands. I think the devices are there, thinking of the N95, the iPhone and some Windows Mobile devices that are all capable of doing amazing things for such a small device. The iPhone has the interface to love, my HTC is less slick but comes with 3G, built in GPS and all the power of Office and Exchange on mobile. Or the N95 with it’s superb camera. And now I’m not mentioning a ton of other great features these phones have.

Apart from all that greatness, I’ve been a very active user of the mobile web for the last 6 years or so as well. First on WAP on my old Nokia 6310i for instance, later on Vodafone Live with a Sharp GX30. Back then I was still working on Kinepolis‘ new media strategy and we invested in this back then already. Today Kinepolis is still one of the very few Belgian companies with a decent mobile site, for which you got to give them credit. But even outside Belgium, there aren’t many mobile specific sites, which already resulted in a shout-out more than a year ago.

The mobile sites I currently use are: BBC, Bloglines, Gmail, Hotmail, Messenger, Dopplr, Facebook, Google Reader, Live Search, Kinepolis, MSN, Twitter, Technorati, Wapedia, Flickr, Yahoo and WordPress. I don’t really know many more that are of use to me, or that aren’t in a walled garden like Vodafone Live.

I also use client versions like Live Messenger (which you can download for all kinds of devices), the Live Search client as well as the Google Maps client, Yahoo!Go, … as well as apps that run in the Java environment on mobile like Gmail and Opera Mini. On the N95 I also tried the Widsets, but whatever the phone, the browse services still top them all.

Today, with the iPhone’s browsing capabilities, or other mobile browsers that enable better viewing of ‘normal websites’ on mobile we will probably skip the further development of mobile specific sites. With Skyfire for instance (see announcement) or Deepfish I expect to see more ‘regular’ browsing in the future.

Still, the problem remains, now even more than ever I guess. We will have access to every site we want, with great browsers but at what cost? There’s a good explanation why I use so much mobile: I can use it obviously but more important is that I don’t have to pay for it. The day I have to pay for it, I’ll cut back for sure, need or no need. How much I love the Wifi on these phones, that’s not truly mobile for me. It’s when in a taxi, or before checking in a plane, while waiting on someone, … that I love to use all my catching up. Not only in my sofa at home for instance.

So unless operators change their models on data costs, mobile will never really breakthrough and that’s sad. And yes you can discuss devices etc aren’t ready yet either, allow me to say they’re well ahead of the game when you compare them to operator attitudes. And I’m afraid they won’t change that soon either. There’s too much money to be made with TXT messages to allow you to use IM on mobile instead for instance. What’s your take?

PS: Also check out the upcoming FF for Mobile now we’re at it ;)

PPS: And Twitter, for god’s sake, at least add a replies tab to will ya!


Most Contagious 2007

Contagious magazine just released it’s ‘most contagious’ overview for 2007 which you can get here (in PDF), and which is “a round-up of the most intriguing, effective, and downright exciting happenings of the past year from landmarks to gaming, from design to social media”. In the report you’ll find Facebook, the iPhone but also Photosynth, Halo3 and ‘The Bomchickawahwahs’ and much more. Enjoy the read.


I want this

Just about a year ago I wrote a post about the Samsung Blackjack. I saw it first up on Crunchgear and it looked “like the perfect answer to what I want” as I mentioned back then. A couple of months later I received one at MIX07 in Vegas and I’ve been using the Blackjack until about a month ago. I think it’s the best phone I ever had, but there were a few good reasons for switching to something else again. The Blackjack was an unlocked Cingular mobile, and although it was a 3G phone it didn’t work on the European 3G networks. It also didn’t have WIFI and it’s a Windows Mobile 5 phone whereas I need WM6 for some of the demos I do on mobile. That said, I miss the darn phone.

Today I run around with a HTC TyTNII, which is a pretty powerful mobile phone… but it’s a brick. And battery life is pathetic. Especially that last point is a bit of a dilemma. The phone has great capabilities to get work done while on the road (and I’m on the road quite a lot) so doing email, reading RSS feeds, surfing the web, checking word and powerpoint docs, … the TyTNII is quite good at it…. for a few hours. If you use your phone actively for all this it doesn’t survive the day. And that’s bad. During the weekends I mostly use my Nokia N95. I got lucky to get one from Nokia so I could use it to demo the Windows Live for Nokia and I’m especially astonished by the photo/video quality of the phone. I’m having way too much fun filming the kids having fun during the weekend. I could use it for work as well as I can use it with Exchange but I don’t like the whole emailing feature on the Nokia.

And then I saw this, the Samsung i780 or the next generation Blackjack. And I want it. It’s like my original Blackjack with all the functions I had to miss and adding even some more. So Samsung, you can send one my way right now ;)


One thing you can learn from the latest HTC models though, they do a very good job on the home screen (quite a bit better than what is shown here).

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

A blind call

It’s already been a few days – weeks even – since the agency Duval Guillaume sent an email on one of their new campaigns but I didn’t have time to check it out until a few days ago. A blind call is a very nice example of a case where technology really brings value… real value, even if it’s not always on purpose ;)


So what is this about? Haven’t you ever experienced that your cell phone just called one of your friends without you knowing just because the keypad wasn’t locked when putting the phone in your pocket? And who did you call in that case? In many cases that is the first person in your address book. And this is exactly what A blind call is trying to benefit from. The agency created a special number that donates money to the charity organization for blind people for every call that is made to that number and it build a campaign where you (if you live in Belgium) are asked to put this number as the first name in your address book ‘a blind call’ so whenever you make another call without knowing, you might be donating money for a good cause.

I like it a lot. Simple, smart and very efficient.

Windows Live for Nokia

Related to the press release of tonight (it was announced at 1AM my time) I wanted to post some more pictures of the Windows Live Client for Nokia but unfortunately my internet connection died right after I posted the ‘Microsoft and Nokia join forces‘ post. Read that first in case you missed that.

Anyway, here are the pictures that I wanted to show you as well:

nokiamobile      nokiamobile2      nokiamobile3

You can see your online/offline Messenger buddy list, a chat conversation (and some other ones open in the tabs as well) and your contact list. More images can be found here.

Nokia & Microsoft join forces!

I think this is some very exciting news for both Nokia and Microsoft, more specifically for Windows Live. From the press release:

“Starting today Nokia customers in eleven countries with compatible S60 devices can download the new suite enabling access to Windows Live Hotmail, Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Contacts and Windows Live Spaces. Starting next year, customers who purchase compatible Nokia Series 40 handsets will also have access to these popular Windows Live services.”

Here are some screens of the application:

\NOKIA\AALTO\Jun192006_170102_000040.cr2<br /> CaptureSN: 302089.046990<br /> Software: Capture One PRO for Windows<br /> \NOKIA\AALTO\Jun192006_170102_000040.cr2<br /> CaptureSN: 302089.046990<br /> Software: Capture One PRO for Windows<br /> \NOKIA\AALTO\Jun192006_170102_000040.cr2<br /> CaptureSN: 302089.046990<br /> Software: Capture One PRO for Windows<br />

Not only will Nokia add new devices that will get access to these services, more countries will be launching over time as well. For more information on which devices exactly as which 11 countries are included in this release:

“Nokia customers who own the Nokia N73, N80 Internet Edition, N95, N76 and the N93i can get the Windows Live services via the Download! application in the following countries; Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, UK , Sweden, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Customers can visit to learn more, and check if their country is on the availability list. Initially the service will be available as a free trail and then customers in select markets wishing to continue using the service may be asked to pay a monthly fee”

I’ve played a little with the Windows Live client on the Nokia and it’s a very nice experience. Especially the Live Messenger part is a very rich application that allows multiple chats, voice clips (very handy on mobile) and instant photo sharing over IM. And it’s nice to remember that you could already get Live Search on your Nokia for a while.

More information about all this on Phil Holden’s blog.

(disclaimer: I work for Windows Live)

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Now with 5GB

I’ve been a Hotmail user for quite a long time already, long time before I started working at Microsoft. I always found it easy to have this email address that was not linked to your internet provider (remember de ‘free’ dial-up services etc) and later on it became even easier when I got to use Messenger.

Now when thinking about Hotmail about 3 years ago that wasn’t all that good anymore. With the coming of Gmail it became more clear than ever that Hotmail needed work…. and a lot of it. The old interface, advertising, 25MB storage vs Gmail’s 1GB,…

But today we are 3 years further down the line, Gmail has close to 3GB of inbox (and you can buy more if you want) en is still in beta and Hotmail has been renewed completely. The backend, the interface it’s all new. Drag&drop, rightclick, … are only few of the new things and this week they announced some other new updates and some pretty cool ones as well:

  • More storage: Hotmail users will get 5GB of inbox for free and 10GB for the paying Hotmail Plus accounts
  • Contacts de-duplication: This will run each time you try to add a contact but there’s also a wizzard to clean up your existing contacts
  • Forwarding messages: You can forward your account to another Hotmail account if you have more accounts and want to handle things easily, this also works to non-Hotmail accounts if you’re a Hotmail Plus user
  • OOF: Hotmail now as an Out of Office as well, to your contacts only if you wish
  • Turn of the today page: I want to go straight to my inbox so I like that one as well

Remember as well that Hotmail is available on mobile as well for quite a long time ( , and that there’s a desktop client in which you can sync all your Hotmail and other webmail accounts as well, called Windows Live Mail. I use the desktop client and mobile version quite a lot myself.

If you only remember Hotmail from ‘back in the days’ then I think you should check it out again:

And yes, for the xxth time, I work for Microsoft.

After ‘Man bites Dog’…

… Belgium brings you ‘PC bites Man’. Back in 1992 the killer comedy ‘C’est arrivé près de chez vous‘ (US title ‘Man bites Dog’) showed a camera crew that followed a serial killer/thief as he exercises his craft slowly involving the crew into it as it goes. From the comments it looked like people either hated or loved the movie, I found it to be fantastic.

And so today we get ‘PC bites Man’. This time it’s not a movie but an interesting campaign for the N95 that was developed by the Belgian agency These Days. It’s been a while since I saw an interactive campaign that is able to draw attention, is fun and which is still very much in line with the value prop of the product. Many times a viral campaign is fun but you wonder what the link with the product is.


The N95 caries slogans like “What computers have become” (UK) or “The computer re-invented” (BE) so extending that to the idea that ‘regular’ computers are becoming jealous of the N95 is a good one. And, the execution of the idea is brilliant. Just take a look at and check out the shocking footage or the medical pictures from the doctor’s office. Here’s one of the videos:

But the site offers you a lot more than just the funny videos around these accidents. It offers a map with ww victims, camouflage ringtones or the N95 disguise mug that you can order. It also has videos with safety tips that learn you how to deal with jealous computers, like the one below:

Last but not least, These Days makes very good use of the power of wom by offering easy links to share the videos on blogs for instance but also safety posters you can download to hang in the office making it more than only an online piece. And of course you can upload your own experience as well. They also created some personalized video warnings for know influencers in the mobile space. Even if the videos were only personalized to include the name of the influencer, it still is quite remarkable.

Great stuff guys! I love it.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , ,