Understandably, Microsoft is quite taken by its Metro interface. Be it a complete UI overhaul or a few simple touch-ups, the company hasn’t wasted opportunities to revamp its products using Metro as a template. New “leaked” screenshots suggest Hotmail, Microsoft’s web email service, will be the next off the restyling rank, along with a name change to “Newmail”. Newmail? I’m not so sure.
The images appeared on a site called “LiveSide” and show a cleaner version of Hotmail that’s visually in step with Microsoft’s upcoming OS, Windows 8.
The design, I get. But the name? I’m guessing Newmail is a placeholder — an internal title used for development. The name is likely stored in a single variable that Microsoft can change in an instant once the overhaul goes live.
Let’s not forget the Hotmail brand is pretty much ingrained in the fabric of the internet, along with the likes of Yahoo and Google. Microsoft would have to be mad to dump it so easily, even if the name blatantly screams “pre-2000”.
A good point made in this Reddit thread is that the domain “www.newmail.com” does not look at all like it’s been parked by Microsoft. You’d think if the company was on the cusp of launching a renamed Hotmail, a redirect for this domain would be one of the first things it would secure.
And then there’s the name itself. Newmail? Admittedly, Hotmail isn’t exactly a brilliant name, but then, it was part of the package when Microsoft acquired the service in late-1997, so it’s not really to blame. Gmail isn’t any better and Yahoo Mail is about as generic (but very self-documenting) as you can get. Actually — are their any web mail services with good names?
Call me a sceptic. While I’m convinced we’ll see a Metro-styled Hotmail in the near future, I’m not so sure it’ll appear with this Newmail branding. What do you think?