Microsoft has never had a unified approach to online storage and sync, but it appears as though this is finally going to change. In the latest beta release of Windows Live Essentials 2011 Microsoft released a utility called Live Sync to help users manage folders across more than one PC, but this is going to be renamed yet again to Live Mesh before the final release later in the year. Just in case you’re having a hard time following the name changes, and we wouldn’t blame you if you did, Live Sync and Mesh until recently were two very different approaches to the common problem of maintaining folder sync across the Internet.
The indecision within Microsoft over which product would end up being their long term sync solution drove many users such as myself into the arms of Dropbox, but perhaps this official show of commitment will be enough to convince others like me to give it another try. It sounds as though the original concept for Mesh will remain intact, but it will be receiving a storage bump up to 5GB along with various performance enhancements.
Oddly enough Mesh.com still sports a full page ad advising users to go checkout Live Sync, but I suppose we can’t expect them to get their act together overnight now can we?
Everyone knows Apple charges a bit of a “price premium” for its hardware, but just how much do you ask? Well if you consult Dell’s handy new Apples to Apples comparison chart Mac customers are paying over $1,249 more when buying a high end laptop. The chart doesn’t really point out anything we didn’t know already, but it does a pretty good job of summarizing why Apple stock has sent investors into a buying frenzy over the last few years and why Dell is in a free fall.
Nobody will argue that Apple doesn’t deserve to cash in on the niche they carved out for themselves on the high end through superior marketing, but those with an ounce of tech savvy have always known the PC is an all-around better value. The comparison case between the Mac and a PC is stronger now than ever before with widespread consumer acceptance of Windows Live Essentials as a replacement for Apple’s iLife. Tools like Windows Movie Maker and Live Photo Gallery arguably do a better job than iMovie or iPhoto, while apps such as Live Writer for blogging have no equal in the Apple realm.
You often hear people claim they are moving to the Mac because of higher quality hardware / software, and while that argument is pretty flimsy in the Windows 7 era, we would remind them they could probably keep 2-3 spare PC’s on the shelf just in case they run into problems for less than the price of a single Mac.
Windows Live Essentials 2011, now available in a public beta, is the local client component of Microsoft Windows Live, a collection of programs and web services. WLE 2011’s components include photo editing and organization (WL Photo Gallery), video editing (WL Movie Maker), email and calendar (WL Mail), instant messaging and social media (WL Messenger), blogging (WL Writer), cross-platform file synchronization and Windows remote access (WL Sync), and web and IM filtering (WL Family Safety). Before the public beta was released in late June, Windows Live Essentials 2011 was known as Windows Live Essentials Wave 4. In this article, you’ll learn what new and improved features the latest WLE wave brings with it.
After revealing tantalizing details of its new release of Windows Live Essentials for Windows 7 (and Vista) earlier this month, Microsoft took the wraps off the public beta today.
Windows Live Essentials is a free collection of web-enabled programs for blogging (Writer), photo editing and management (Photo Gallery), video editing (Movie Maker), instant messaging (Messenger), email client (Mail), parental controls (Family Safety), and a new component for file synchronization and remote access (Sync). In this new version, originally known as Windows Live Essentials Wave 4, Windows Live Essentials loses Windows XP compatibility, but gains new features and better usability. For more screen shots and information, join us after the jump.
At tonight's CES Microsoft keynote speech, Steve Ballmer talked a lot about the shape of things to come in the Windows community. Fortunately, he also made a couple announcements that are about the here and now. One such announcement was that Windows Live Essentials, a suite of free, fundamental communications software for Windows is out of beta.
The suite includes Messenger, an email utility, photo management software, and Writer, a blogging program. Movie Maker is also available for free, though it is technically still a beta release. The programs can be downloaded for free here (although something tells us most of our Maximum PC readers already have favorite programs that accomplish the Essential tasks), and will come pre-installed on most Dell PCs.
Additionally, Windows Live Essentials can integrate with certain "web activities" such as Facebook, allowing you to synchronize data on those services with data on your home computer.
So, what does everyone think of Windows Live Essentials? Is this the start of a iLife-esque unified Windows experience, or is it not enough? Hit the break and leave us a comment.