The apps are part of a new "MeshPack," and were apparently announced late last month at Microsoft's Professional Developer's Conference (PDC). The MeshPack includes a collaborative crossword puzzle, a shared bulletin board, a collaborative list application and a group polling tool called "CrowdVote," according to Foley.
The MeshPack was produced by Microsoft Startup Labs, which creates prototypes and product concepts on various platforms, including Live Mesh, according to the lab's blog. Right now, access to the MeshPack seems to depend on having a PDC code.
The PDC event also was the venue in which Microsoft announced that Live Mesh had advanced from a Community Technology Preview (CTP) release to Beta release. Previously, Microsoft had limited the number of participants in the Live Mesh CTP. However, with the Beta release, people worldwide can now sign up to use it.
The Live Mesh Beta features additional device support. Users of the Beta version can now sync data to hardware devices running Mac OS X (versions 10.5 and higher on Intel processors) and Windows Mobile (versions 6.0 and 6.1).
The Beta provides only a "Limited Mac Tech Preview," according to a Microsoft blog. When fixed number of Mac clients is exceeded, new sign-ups won't be able to join the Mac preview. Likewise, the Beta restricts Windows Mobile device access to just U.S. or U.K. residents.
The Live Mesh Beta includes some new features. It now permits WAP-based mobile phone access. You can now establish "roles" to control folder access permissions by other users. Additionally, users can drag multiple files to Live Desktop folders, instead of just one at a time. Users can store of up to 5 gigabytes of data in the cloud using Live Mesh.
Live Mesh originally had its debut in April, way before Microsoft's unveiling of its Windows Azure "operating system in the cloud," which was the big announcement at last month's PDC. However, Microsoft actually considers Live Mesh to be part of the Windows Azure platform. It's part of Azure's Live Services component.
The main portal to sign up for the Live Mesh Beta, which requires a Windows Live ID, is located here.
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