The Windows Live Wave 4 rumor mill

Microsoft is keeping very quiet about the upcoming release of Windows Live Wave 4, and it’s driving us crazy.  Obviously we were hoping for a release to coincide with the launch of Windows 7, but that deadline has come and gone.  We’re hearing now that Microsoft is keeping the release dates very close to the vest, even within Microsoft, but that the release dates have been changing.  Remember back when Windows Live first started, and those cheeky kids at Red West were going to teach Windows how to ship every 2 months?  Well now Windows Live has moved out of Red West, and they haven’t shipped anything of consequence in over a year.  Well we can hope for a nice big blockbuster new version that will make it all worthwhile, but this wait is killing us.

So while we wait for someone to push Windows Live out the door, we still have wild rumors, Twitter posts, and some sneak peeks to fall back on.  Let’s take a look at what might be coming:

Messenger:

Will this be the release that finally gets tabbed conversations?  A commenter on LiveSino.net claims to have seen just that:

# November 2009 on Tuesday, February 10: 14 pm
I have used M1 version, there is already a tab chat features

Now we’ve seen hints about tabs in previous versions, as the LiveSino post points out, so we’re not getting our hopes up.  Tabbed chatting has to be the #1 feature request  for Messenger, though, so we’ll hold out hope.

Windows Live Writer:

News of Writer’s demise may be exaggerated, at least in the short term.  One Twitter user was quite impressed with what he saw:

The new internal Windows Live build is so awesome that I skipped a beat as I launched Writer.

Documents and Devices:

We told you before about a couple of new tabs we spotted, and it looks like Wave 4 will at least begin to bring Live Mesh and Office Web Apps more firmly into the Windows Live experience.

8547.docdevices_thumb_4326ea0c News  

We’re not expecting to see a full Live Mesh experience in Windows Live this release, but at least some integration is coming

SkyDrive, “Flix”, and a return (of sorts) of Soapbox?

Ok this one is from the TOTALLY WILD RUMOR department, but as it sits right with where we think Windows Live should be heading with user-generated video, we’ll go ahead and leave you with this to mull over:

“Flix” is not intended to compete with YouTube. Will offer granular sharing controls a la WL Photos. Meant for family-sharing etc. Will be powered by Silverlight, and surfaced under the Windows Live Photos brand, WLMM plugin coming soon.
CSP is @Skydrive for all this of course and Skydrive is now managed over a Azure fabric controller. The roadmap right now apparently, is not to officially increase the 25GB cap, but up the per-file upload limit to 100 MB over the web & WLPG, 500 MB through WLMM, while LOE will use delta-sync. When the average usage level goes above a certain percentage of 25GB, Microsoft will bump it up to 50 GB, which is already provisioned but not officially marketed. And yes, ever-increasing storage is free.

Now we checked, and not only is Flix a trademarked name for computer video software, but Google bought the company that owns the trademark, so we doubt even if there is a grain of truth to this that we’ll be seeing the Flix name anytime soon.  That doesn’t rule out Flix as a code name, of course.  We’re planning on hearing a lot more about Azure at PDC in a couple of weeks, and will be snooping around for how Windows Live and Azure fit together.  We’re being told there won’t be much Windows Live news, but you never know (and hey it’s a week in LA for a sun-starved Seattleite!).

Hopefully we’ll have a bit more than wild rumors and speculation soon.  In the meantime, have you heard anything new about Wave 4?