Smartphone users may have been frustrated by the inability to access their Hotmail accounts using POP3 whilst other services such as Gmail and Yahoo have allowed the use of IMAP and, in the case of Gmail, the use of Exchange ActiveSync technology to synchronise your mail, contacts and calendar and enable the use for push mail.
Fortunately, the wait is nearly over as Microsoft prepares to roll out ActiveSync on Monday (most likely USA time which means we will see it on Tuesday here in Australia). What is disappointing though is Microsoft has lagged behind its competitors in deploying its own technology. I think Microsoft has woken up in the face of competition (which seems to be a running theme in recent years) and is getting a move on in providing a better product.
In the meantime, Microsoft has been trying to supplant Hotmail’s image as a spam haven it has been enabling the use of its live.com domain and variants to clean up its image. That said, I think power users would still be opting for Gmail over Yahoo or Hotmail.
At any rate, ActiveSync will solve the bugbear that has plagued users for a while of not being able to mark mail as being read up in the cloud after being read on a mobile device. With popular smartphones supporting multiple Exchange accounts (including Android and iOS devices), slotting Hotmail into the mix with Gmail and corporate mail should not be too much of a problem.
When available you can setup your account using m.hotmail.com as the server address with your e-mail address and password.