This week Microsoft rolled out more user-friendly versions of its Mail, Calendar, and People apps for Windows 8 and RT. In addition, the company delivered some bad news to users who rely on Google Calendar to manage their schedule.
Mail now features client-side folder management, which includes the ability to create, rename, and delete folders and subfolders across all accounts. The new version of the app also makes it easier to manage emails with bulk actions, a convenient print button, and the option to flag messages as important, unread or spam. Mail should have shipped with these capabilities on launch, but it’s better late than never.
Calendar has gotten easier on the eyes thanks to a number of color and font adjustments, and a new “Work week” view that only displays workdays. These long overdue interface changes are good news for everyone, but they don’t make up for the fact that the app can no longer be synced with Google’s calendar app. The reason behind this is the search giant’s decision to end support for Exchange ActiveSync as a part of a broader campaign to pull the carpet from under Microsoft.com.
Last but not least is People. The contact management app now features a toolbar that makes navigating the app less clunky, and improved social media integration lets you post to contacts’ walls or respond to Tweets by clicking on their names.
The changes to these three core apps are highly relevant for both PC and Surface Pro users who run Windows 8. Less momentous but equally notable is Windows Blue, an upcoming update to the operating system itself that will make Windows 8 and SkyDrive a lot more customizable than they are now.
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