Microsoft finally made available today IMAP (and OAuth) for Outlook.com. Outlook.com already supports Exchange ActiveSync (EAS), which is available on the majority of smartphones and tablets, including Windows Phone, iOS, and Android devices, as well as the Windows 8 Mail app and Outlook 2013.
Although EAS is the most robust protocol for connecting to your email, with syncing in near real time, and superior battery and network efficiency, there are still some devices and apps that haven't made the upgrade to EAS. As an older protocol, IMAP is widely supported on feature phones and other email clients such as those on a Mac.
In addition to offering more complete device connectivity, IMAP (along with OAuth) gives developers opportunities to build third-party clients and services that offer scenarios on top of your Outlook.com email. Microsoft launched the first set of services today that integrate with Outlook.com.
TripIt, Sift, Slice, motley*bunch, Unroll.me, OtherInbox, and Context.IO have taken advantage of Outlook.com's new IMAP capability and are rolling out updates today that allow their apps and services to integrate with your Outlook.com email.
With TripIt, it's now easier for Outlook.com customers to create mobile itineraries that organize travel plans in one place. TripIt can now detect emails with travel confirmations in any Outlook.com inbox, and automatically import them into a TripIt itinerary.
Sift makes it easier to find the products you're already interested in. It uses existing shopping content in your Outlook.com account to discover your favorite stores and products, and then creates a personalized shopping experience.
Slice saves you time and money by automatically keeping track of everything you buy online, including package tracking and more.
When you shop online, motley*bunch takes your purchase emails and organizes them into a personal catalog, making it easy to track all your purchases and shipments (UPS, USPS, FedEx and more) from one place. You'll get push notifications when the status of your package changes, and by syncing your Outlook.com account with motley*bunch, you can search, add notes and analyze your spending--how much you spent when, where & for what--and share information with friends and family.
Unroll.me gives Outlook.com customers one more way to eliminate inbox clutter, allowing you to unsubscribe from hundreds of email subscriptions. For the ones you would like to continue receiving, you can get them all in a once-a-day newsletter.
OtherInbox offers a suite of tools to help keep your Outlook.com inbox clean. Message Finder makes it easy to locate emails on your mobile device in a hurry, while Organizer automatically sorts your mail into folders, and the Unsubscriber tool helps you stop unwanted newsletters.
Context.IO is an email API that makes it easy and fast for developers to build applications that integrate email data. With this update, Context.IO supports Outlook.com.
Outlook.com IMAP supports IMAP version 4 revision 1 as defined by RFC 3501.