Windows opens beta of Live Mobile portal

Microsoft has opened a beta of Windows Live Mobile Homepage, the Windows Live portal designed for use on mobile handsets.

BetaNews tested the Live Mobile portal on a decidedly out-of-date Windows Mobile 5.0 device on the notably slow T-Mobile Web, yet it still gave a nimble performance.

From mhome.live.com, the user is prompted to sign into his Windows Live account, and given the option to access Windows Live Mail (Hotmail), Messenger, or MSN Mobile. Navigation is assigned to twelve numerical hotkeys (0-9, #, *), and although sites contain images, most text is digested into a single font style and size.

In Spaces, we posted a blog entry testing the various font sizes and colors, and they all were reproduced uniformly on the mobile device's display. The rest of Spaces, however, is mostly intact. The user's home page features a "What's New" feed of friend updates, as well as links to blogs, photos, and friends' profiles. The "lists" feature on Spaces is currently missing, and the message center is limited to viewing the inbox and sent messages.

Windows Live Spaces Mobile

Spaces profile updates and settings changes can be made through the handset, but only through e-mail. Users must set up e-mail publishing before this can be done. Conversely, Live Mail requires no alteration whatsoever, and is a suitable mobile webmail client. While testing this out, our handset automatically switched from standard ABC text entry to predictive text when we entered the message body field. For those who use T9, this is likely a welcome nuance of the system (pun intended).

Though missing access to some of the promising Live portal features -- namely Calendar, Events, and SkyDrive -- Windows Live Mobile Homepage was glitch-free in our tests today.

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