MSN to Begin Charging for Hotmail Wireless Access

MSN to Begin Charging for Hotmail Wireless Access
I’ve been waiting to see what the details of “Pocket MSN” would be. The main feature being mobile wireless access to Hotmail via the Inbox on my Pocket PC Phone Edition.

I recently decided to make Hotmail my primary personal email address, since I have had it for about 5 years. However, it’s not the easiest thing in the world to access Hotmail on my PPCPE. There’s the MSN Mobile web portal, formatted for the Pocket PC screen, with a version of Hotmail that works great on the PPC screen, when it works. I have about a 10% success rate when checking my Hotmail in Pocket IE over GPRS. Usually, there’s some kind of timeout during the Passport authentication process. I’m told this happens with all Windows Mobile 2003 devices.

I also bought a little program called Pocket Hotmail. It is supposed to add Hotmail as an account type in Pocket Inbox (along with POP3 and IMAP), so you can add your Hotmail account in Inbox, and access mail message that way. Unfortunately, it says on the author’s page that it doesn’t work with T-Mobile GPRS (why?). And, I discovered, it doesn’t work at all under Windows Mobile 2003. So that was a dead end.

Currently, I’ve set up MSN Alerts to send an SMS notification to my PPCPE when I get a new message in my Inbox. However, because of the aforementioned problems, if I want to actually read or respond to the message, I have to do it on a PC.

I kept hearing about how Pocket MSN was coming, and was going to provide wireless access and synchronization with Hotmail on the Pocket PC. I’m very excited about this possibility, because anything would be better than what I have now.

As far as whether they should charge for it, well… I’m not sure how I feel about that. On the one hand, if they provide full, seamless synchronization with Hotmail on the Pocket PC, they have a right to charge for that service. On the other hand, I already pay $19.99 a year for Extra Storage, and I pay for MSN on my PC as part of my Verizon DSL package. I don’t want to pay an extra $19.99 a year just to be able to use my Hotmail effectively on my Pocket PC, but I have a feeling that if it comes down to it, I probably would.

Here’s to hoping that I won’t have to pay a third time (Extra Storage + MSN + Pocket MSN/mobile Hotmail) for access to my “free” Hotmail account…