Windows Live Hotmail Set for May US Release
Microsoft is preparing to launch Windows Live Hotmail in the United States by next month, although customers in India and Belgium will begin seeing the updates later this week, the company is expected to announce Tuesday. Other Windows Live product updates are also likely.
Various sources tell BetaNews that the upgrades won't come automatically, but rather in a gradual process over the next several weeks. Testers in France are currently receiving e-mails saying they will receive the update in several days, with a similar e-mail circulating to UK users.
Other smaller markets are likely to receive the updated interface before the US market as the logistics of migrating those accounts are a lot simpler, one source said.
Details of the US launch are scarce, as Microsoft is keeping much tighter wraps on announcements; however, it is said that the company is targeting the first or second week of May to roll out the product here.
Windows Live Hotmail will offer several enhancements over the current user interface and is built upon Microsoft's AJAX platform. It includes right click menus, a paneled interface, and updated search bar. The UI is very similar to that of Outlook, the company's desktop e-mail application.
The product has already been rolled out in Holland, where users were given the option to switch to '@live.nl' addresses. In the states, the company has been offering live.com e-mails since June, although without the new interface.
Windows Live Hotmail's expansion would likely also be accompanied by upgrades to both Spaces and Gallery, although details of the changes were not available as of press time.
It is rumored that another major Windows-Live announcement was planned for Tuesday, but it appears as if that had been pushed back for unknown reasons.