I was pretty critical of Apple's MobileMe service when it arrived in 2008 because it was too expensive (i.e. "not free") and, like many Apple products, offered more to Mac users than it did to Windows users. These issues still exist two years later. But MobileMe has been updated and refined over this time period--again, as is typical of Apple products, let's give them that--and now a new beta version of the service is being tested. I've had a MobileMe account since it was called iTools years and years ago (and then ".Mac") and I maintain this expense so I can keep an eye on the competition.

And what the heck, it's pretty nice looking:

MobileMe Beta

With that in mind, I'd like to explore a series of articles this summer comparing the capabilities of the new Hotmail (see my review), Gmail, and the new MobileMe (and, if there's interest, hosted Exchange and possibly Yahoo!'s solutions, though I understand these things all hit slightly/vastly different markets). This is timely for me because I've been using the new Hotmail for a few weeks after several years as a Gmail users and I'm seriously considering just switching for good. I'm comparing things anyway, so what the heck.

So. For me, the important bits here are access interoperability (in this case, the ability to access the mail, contacts, and calendar data from any web browser on any platform, or from the rich Windows application of choice), device interoperability (the ability to seamlessly connect via push mechanisms to mail, contacts, and calendar from modern smart phone platforms like iPhone and Android), functionality (security, usability, actual features, etc.), and performance (across all the access points). That's off the top of my head anyway.

My question to you is: Is this of interest, and what other factors should be considered? In other words, what matters to you when you think about these types of email, contacts, and calendar solutions?