Microsoft’s popular mail service, Hotmail, was rebranded today. The mail site has been renamed Outlook.com and it has been designed with Apple’s iPhone and iPad in mind.
You can sign into the service if you have an account through Microsoft’s Hotmail, SkyDrive, or Xbox LIVE services, or you can create an entirely new account with the @outlook moniker.
I signed up for a new address to test the service on my iPad, which was a simple process. I was able to immediately begin receiving mail, which was easy to do with the simple, straightforward layout of the mobile site.
All emails are stored in a main menu, and you can tap arrows to reveal the entirety of the message, replying from the same menu. Searching is done at the bottom of the screen, and all in all, it’s a simplistic email site.
Due to the lack of a side navigation bar on the default iPad layout, such as the one that is used by Google web mail, it’s not quite as intuitive to use, but it isn’t tough to get the hang of it. It works well with the iPad, and usage is quick, though it could have incorporated better use of touch gestures.
The service has the standard archiving features, allowing you to mark mail as read or as junk, and move it to other folders for storage. There are also options to turn on forwarding, junk email filtering, and vacation auto replies. Sorting mail is easy, because you can send it into different emails. Notes from contacts can go in a separate folder than social networking updates.
There is immediate access to SkyDrive, Office Web Apps (Windows) with online versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote) Live Messenger, Contacts, Calendar, and Groups, making this app quite similar in functionality to both Google’s Gmail and Yahoo Mail.
You can import messages from other email accounts, and choose a theme to alter the top bar and the color scheme of the mail site, and Outlook.com accounts can be synchronized across many devices thanks to integration with Facebook,Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google.
Once linked, you can receive messages and notifications from the social networking sites right within Outlook.com. Get your friends’ tweets and status updates in your inbox, right along with your other mail.
If you’ve been fed up with Gmail, or want to try something new, Microsoft’s new Outlook.com service might just be what you’re looking for. This isn’t Hotmail anymore, guys.
Want to check it out? You can sign up for your own @Outlook.com email address (or use an existing email) by visiting the Outlook.com website on your computer, iPad, or iPhone.