Newton Mail finally comes to Windows for a cross-platform email experience

Newton Mail, a multi-platform email app that’s been available on Mac, iOS, and Android, is finally reaching the last major platform it had yet to be offered on: Windows 10.

Aside from, you know, being offered on Windows, there’s not much else new in the announcement. Newton Mail for Windows offers most of the enhanced features as it does on other platforms, including read receipts and additional sender profile features, while others, like the ability to automatically organize your emails will be coming soon. It’s compatible with the same slew of email providers, too: Gmail, Exchange, Yahoo Mail, Outlook, iCloud, Google Apps, Office 365, and IMAP accounts will all work with Newton.

The biggest caveat, though, is cost. Newton Mail may have grown out of the free CloudMagic app, but it costs $50 per year to use. That price is for all platforms, though, so if you’re already a Newton subscriber, you’ll be able to simply install the Windows app and go about your day on your PC with all your existing accounts. But despite the advanced features and cross-platform functionality, you really have to consider if the cost is worth it for your inbox.

Correction: Some Newton Mail features, like Tidy Inbox, aren’t available on Windows yet, but will be coming soon.


Microsoft’s app strategy is finally heading in the right direction

Microsoft’s app strategy has been picking up steam recently. The latest development came at Facebook’s F8 conference, which was held this week, and will allow developers to build apps for Windows with greater ease.

Up until last week, the strategy could have been described as a shambles and had created problems for Microsoft right across the board. The biggest one, or at least the one that has gotten the most attention, was Windows Phone — now Windows 10 Mobile — which struggled to get popular apps, like Snapchat, onto the platform.

Versions of Windows Phone barely had any popular apps, like Instagram, which lead to a community that regularly had to rely on third-party alternatives, which were usually developed on a shoe-string budget. These apps, while good, would often get shut down or the developer would run out of money.

It’s unfair to say that Windows Phone failed entirely because of this problem, but it was definitely a contributory factor. People tried all three operating systems — Windows, iOS, and Android — but found that only two had the apps they wanted (or needed, in some cases).

The app problem lead to a sales problem which, in turn, lead to the problem of fewer apps. No developer, especially an indie developer, was going to spend time making an app for a platform that had, at times, less than 2% global marketshare and, thanks to low-end phones, users that were less likely to spend money than iOS.

Microsoft evidently thought long and hard about this problem and came up with a solution: One app for all platforms. These platforms include PC, Xbox (which, naturally, brings in big-name games), Internet of Things devices, and phones. Now, developers have a different choice: Instead of having to build a separate app for Windows phones, they just build one for Windows 10.

This was, and still is, a big boost for Microsoft’s phones and offers something that no other platform can offer developers. While Apple has been working on building phone features into the desktop — things like Launchpad, for example — it has never presented a unified app strategy, much to the annoyance of developers.

Google, too, has never worked that hard at letting Android apps work on Chrome OS and, besides, the operating system has never been as popular as Windows (or OS X), except in schools, which mainly rely on the browser or a word processor.

Microsoft had, in one move, created a unique selling point for its platform, which it calls the Universal Windows Platform, and has been rolling with it ever since.

However, it’s still unclear if the strategy will work, but there are signs that it could be. The latest one, as I said, coming from Facebook.

Essentially, what Facebook has done is expand its set of tools, which it calls React Native, to Windows 10. This means that over 250,000 developers will now be able to easily port apps to Windows 10 which, thanks to the Universal Windows Platform, means that PCs, the Xbox, Windows phones, and even your IoT-powered fridge can benefit from them.

This coincides with a big push from other developers, like Uber, into the Windows world. While there are few people who would choose Windows because of Uber, it does demonstrate the advantage that a universal platform brings Microsoft. The app works on your desktop, which is perfect for ordering a taxi from your home, just as well as it works from a phone.

As I have argued before, Microsoft’s best chance of making something out of Windows 10 Mobile, and its assorted devices, would be to focus on its enterprise customers, pitching it as a cheaper (and easier) alternative to managing iPhones and Android phones from a system administrators point of view.

Thanks to UWP, Microsoft can get all of the apps it needs — boosted, in part, by the high adoption rate of Windows 10 — and then pitch phone customers off the back of that.

This strategy is very long tail — businesses tend to adopt technologies at a far slower pace than consumers — but it may eventually be a big bonus for Windows, and Microsoft, as developers start building apps for the platform.

The support for Facebook, which was initially sceptical about Windows, is an especially big deal. According to an analysis of user’s habits, people initially download many apps but then only use about five regularly and one of those is Facebook. (Others, like Snapchat, are not available on Windows phones.)

The developers behind The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal, Netflix, Shazam, and more, are all bringing apps out on Windows 10, which are then available on Windows phones, and can be used to attract users.

Beyond this, Microsoft has also been working on making apps that are currently available on iOS and Android available on Windows. Xamarin, the company Microsoft bought earlier this year, offers developers the ability to build cross-platform apps and the company announced at Build that its software is now open source.

The “bridge” projects have also been moving forward — except the Android version — and could lead to more developers bringing iPhone-ready apps to Windows, although it’s not yet clear how successful this plan will be.

All in all, it seems like one of Microsoft’s biggest problems — a lack of apps on Windows, across all device classes — may be slowly coming to an end. The excitement around Windows 10, which now has almost 300 million users, is palpable and Microsoft has never been in a better position, both strategically and directionally, to realise its objectives.


[Source:- Winbeta]

Windows 10’s Edge browser finally gets add-ons

Edge with add ons4

Microsoft yesterday updated its Windows 10 preview, adding support for extensions to the default Edge browser, finally fulfilling a promise it made last year that was itself a delay on a pledge to boost the browser’s functionality.

As part of Windows 10 build 14291 — the latest in a series of test versions fed to participants in Microsoft’s Windows Insider program — Edge can now run one or more of the three extensions the Redmond, Wash. company currently offers.

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“The Windows Insider build will include three preview extensions: Microsoft Translator, an extension that automatically translates pages in over 50 different languages, a Mouse Gestures extension, and an early preview version of the popular Reddit Enhancement Suite (RES),” said Drew DeBruyne, Edge’s general manager, in a post to a company blog late Thursday. “Later this year customers will find popular extensions from partners like AdBlock, Adblock Plus, Amazon, LastPass, Evernote and more.”

DeBruyne said Edge add-ons would “ultimately” reach the production version of Windows 10, but gave no timeline. Microsoft is expected to update 10 this year, most likely in mid-summer — around the one-year anniversary of the OS’s debut.

Microsoft has had to recast its browser extension model for Edge because it ditched its ActiveX proprietary add-on technology — core to Internet Explorer (IE) for two decades — and went with an approach that relied on HTML5 and JavaScript. Microsoft has boasted that extensions written for Google’s Chrome will take little if any work to revamp for Edge.

Microsoft has essentially dead-ended IE by relegating it to legacy support. Although it has promised to support IE11 through Windows 7’s January 2020 retirement, it has demanded that customers abandon most older versions of IE. The mandate caused a dramatic decline in Microsoft’s share of the browser market.

Under Microsoft’s original plan, add-ons were to make it into Edge last year, but five months ago the company acknowledged it would not make that deadline. The lack of add-ons has been a sticking point with users, many of whom have cited the omission as the reason why they set Edge aside and went with another browser, primarily Chrome.

Edge has not succeeded in holding a majority of Windows 10 users, according to several metrics sources. Depending on the data, Edge accounted for between 13% and 31% of the browsers run by Windows 10 users in February. U.S. users have been more likely to run Edge than the global average.

Currently, Edge users download add-ons directly from Microsoft, but when the browser is included with the next Windows 10 production build, extensions will be available from the Windows Store, analogous to Google’s practice of limiting add-on distribution to the Chrome Web Store.

Build 14291 and the preliminary Edge add-ons are available only to Insiders who have selected the “Fast” release track.


[Source:- Computerworld]