As the software developer of Outlook, the most popular desktop mail client and general information manager, it is only natural that Microsoft – and of course, Windows, by definition – should focus on the email experience found in their line of mobile phones.
The Windows Phone email supports most of the syncing capabilities of ActiveSync. Both the 6.1 and 6.5 versions of the Windows Phone – Microsoft’s past contributions to the booming smartphone industry – host a number of Exchange ActiveSync functions from past to present versions of the synchronization platform.
Microsoft’s newest brainchild, however – the Windows Phone 7 – does away with half, if not most, of the features in later ActiveSync versions. Still, it seems that its email functionality is well on the right track. Better yet, it holds its own against other smartphones and handheld wireless devices that have dominated the market for the past year.
It might lack of some more comprehensive ActiveSync features, but the Windows Phone 7 nonetheless supports Exchange ActiveSync 14.0. All the vital functions and necessities for Exchange email are intact. There are features like DirectPush, email, calendar, and contacts sync, remote wipe, desktop and Internet sharing, Global Address List (GAL) lookup, and secure SSL encrypted transmission.
The Windows Phone email client is a powerful tool that allows users to sync to an email account or another client altogether. More importantly, it allows for managing multiple items seamlessly. The interface offers a pristine list-type display of received items that feature the sender’s name and subject prominently, and with the time affixed to the right of each entry. Tapping to the left of this list reveals a checkbox for selecting individual and multiple items all at once. Tapping the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen brings up a menu where selected items can be marked as read or unread, flagged or unflagged, moved, completed, and of course, deleted.
There are also multiple options to view messages. From the default view, users can slide the display to the right to get a list of only unread messages. Sliding to the right again brings up flagged messages. A third time brings up urgent messages, while sliding again from this view brings the display back to the default email list.
Composing an email is just as easy as reading or managing one. Pressing the compose key on the menu calls up the email editor that allows for setting the priority and the cc’s and bcc’s of an email – options which are not readily available on other smartphones, even when they’re running on Exchange email clients as well. Users can also attach a photo from their phone gallery to the outgoing message.
As the latest smartphone to hit the market, and with both hardware and software that are still in their beta stages, this kind of comprehensive email capability is quite an accomplishment for this brand new Windows phone.