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Microsoft's Project Cheshire to-do list app reportedly enters private beta

Project Cheshire, the code name for a to-do list app that Microsoft is working on, has reportedly entered private beta testing. According to a report by Thurrott.com's Brad Sams, that app has been polished up since it was first revealed in June, and it now includes both iOS and Android apps in addition to a universal Windows 10 app.

As you'd expect from a to-do list style app, Project Cheshire is said to make it easy to quickly create lists of things or tasks which you can then check off. There's not much else to the app at the moment, but it appears that the simplicity may be part of the app's appeal. As for Wunderlist, another to-do style app that Microsoft acquired in June, it isn't quite clear whether the company intends Project Cheshire to live alongside it or to replace it altogether.

That the app is now in private beta may suggest that it is inching close to a full-fledged release. However, it's unclear when we could expect a full launch to happen. What is clear, however, is that Microsoft is continuing its efforts to launch services on multiple platforms, and Project Cheshire is no exception.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to daniel.thorp-lancaster@futurenet.com.

72 Comments
  • I'd really like to know what is going on here. Wunderlist looks much better than this. Maybe they had to rebuild it for better integration with OneNote or Outlook?
  • After Ms acquisition, notifications are broken
  • Notifications work fine for me on Windows, WM 10, and Android.
  • I'd like to know why I should care about this? Integrating to do lists (to a more usable mean than we have now) into OneNote would prove much more useful than having a whole separate app for this.
  • A separate app is simpler. And I don't think OneNote lets you set reminders and stuff.
  • This app could change that. Could be part of Outlook.com or OWA. Works on Outlook desktop, OneNote, and Mobile. Windows 10 mobile becomes a proper PIM.
  • Question: Why? Who doesn't already use Wunderlist or OneNote?
  • Becaue Microsoft are masters of taking a superior product, buying it then releasing an inferior product of their own which they then have to build from scratch then going on to abandon it later on taking both apps away from users.
  • Microsoft bought OneNote and this app? They are abandoning OneNote? News to me. Oh, I see who posted this comment. Usual FUD from theefman.  While I can understand people questioning why use this instead of OneNote when they could make OneNote better handle TODO lists like this, of course you would just invent reasons to attack that move, too.
  • Clarification - yes, Microsoft bought Wunderlist. Perhaps this is an update and reuse of the tech behind Wunderlist that will create a better app. All companies do the same that you are complaining about. How many times have we seen Google buy out a company, let it stagnate, shut it down during one of their "spring cleaning" events? How many social network apps has Google bought or started in-house only to shut it down after a year or two when it fails miserably, only to try, try, try, try, ... agan? Apple has been on a buying spree over the years, buying companies for their tech then immediately shutting them down leaving the users in a lurch who depended on that software. At least Microsoft leaves the software running when they redo the app.
  • Microsoft created OneNote. This might integrate with Outlook.com and Outlook desktop along with note. Integrated task management was lacking before; now it may finally be here.
  • Wunderlist is not superior in any way it has a good list but not productive at all. There is no sorting by date & time, who wants to go to an app and tell it everyday to sort by date.  Everyday I have to manually sort my todo's.  Good for shopping list and things like that but not for somebody who needs a real todo app looking forward to the new app.
  • It sorts by creation date automatically, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. And there's a way to automatically sort it by due date and alphabetical order at the top of the website and app. 
  • I know what you're doing but it seriously is not obvious enough for the casual reader... add quotes and notes ;p
  • This will integrate with Outlook and Desktop. Tasks can be managed separately and integrate with Outlook. We can have a proper PIM.
  • I am just hoping that this is a revised Wunderlist that finally ties Cortana, Outlook, and OneNote all together. Why else would they make another "To Do" app?
  • Me too, I use Wunderlist and it's mostly brilliant. I'd love this to be a development of that with extra integrations into other MS products
  • Yeah, Wunderlist is pretty broken with Cortana ever since W10M launched.
  • Wunderlist's beta = Project Cheshire. So hopefully your dreams will come true.
  • I don't understand the need for this app? OneNote is perfectly up to the task. I love OneNote. It's beyond frustrating when Microsoft kills off projects like band 3, and allocates resources to redundant software like this.
  • Band 3 is hardware.
    This is software.  Two completely different jobs, done by completely different people.
  • I'm talking Band software.  The story has been that Band team was disbanded after failing to get Windows10 to run on the Band.  Microsoft could have continued with an evolution of the Band2 firmware/software rather than pull the plug over Windows10 failing.
  • The *rumor* has been that's why it was disbanded. Plus, I doubt the software integration team and the wunderlist/cheshire developers are the same people.
  • And there is the planner app as part of O365 too.
  • I'm looking for a reminder app.  I thought Wunderlist would do this, or even OneNote, but it doesn't.  I need a reminder telling me I need to do this every day at 7am, or every Thursday to do this, or every 2nd Saturday to do this.  And then be able to check them off when I do it.  I use Calendar to remind me now, but it doesn't allow me to check things off and see what I have accomplished.  Almost like a To Do/Reminder App.  Any ideas?  Thanks.
  • Would Cortana work for you? You can speak or type natural language and she will create the reminder for you.  There is even a history page for reminders, but I believe they get deleted after some time.  The other benefit to cortana is she works on and syncs with your laptop/desktop, too, if you run Windows 10.
  • Wunderlist has a reminder functionality, though it could use some finer time controls.
  • Love Wunderlist but it needs some reoccurring functions that it doesn't have.  I don't want to have to keep putting weekly and monthly reminders of to do things in every time I check them off for that one occurrence. 
  • You can do that though. you can set a re-occuring to-do, which when you check it off then it comes back automatically to be due again whenever you set the re-occurence to be. As sporosarcina said, though, it could have more customization as currenty you can only do daily, weekly, monthly, or annually. 
  • Have you looked at 2day ?
  • Looks good, I'm going to try the Trial version now.  Thanks.
  • What you're looking for is another Microsoft app (built from the ground up) called Todoist. It competes with Wunderlist, and it's significantly better. I think it will beat Wunderlist in the end. ​http://www.todoist.com/ ​I have daily reminders for things set on this. It has apps accross the board (including ios, android, wp, windows 7 and 10 apps).
  • It is FAR better, but it's not a MS app, was sad when I heard MS bought WL but not Todoist. Then again maybe it's for the best... Todoist are also not arseholes when it comes to Support, far more slick/professional; WL were really **** (like total pricks) with Support in some lengthy matters I don't care to detail.
  • Try 2Day in the Windows Store. It's excellent.
  • -deleted-        
  • Don't understand why they needed to start from scratch while already owning wunderlist
  • No UWP app existed for Wunderlist. It would always have been started from scratch. They're just creating them all at the same time it seems. Xamarin maybe? I've never seen a UWA/Android/iOS/Web beta launch simultaneously. Granted, I don't yet know if they all have feature parity with each other. It'd be interesting to see their progress relative to one another.
  • Intergrated with Calendar?
  • I received an email from Wunderlist not too long ago asking if I wanted to participate in a beta, which I signed up for. On the sign up page they had betas for all platforms too and you choose which ones you want to participate in. I haven't received a follow up email yet, so I have idea what it is about but maybe it's related to this?
  • It is. I signed up for the same Wunderlist Beta and its just Project Cheshire.
  • Todoist is ok. Across all platforms too
  • WTH is wrong with Microsoft? They have onenote then they buy Wunderlist, just to make the same thing with a different name lol somebody there is quite drunk and /or on drugs
  • They just RUINED Wunderlist....
  • And I was waiting for Tasks in Outlook UWP... Wouldn't this create inconsistency? Outlook (desktop and web) has Tasks, there is Wunderlist, and Cortana has reminders. Personally I think Keep is very good for quick to-dos.
  • This will replace Wunderlist. Or just become Wunderlist I guess. Wunderlist's beta program is just Project Cheshire.
  • MS bought WL to kill the competition. More people then would use their "new" app (if they decide to create one from ground up).
  • Well, this is replacing Wunderlist. I was invited to join Wunderlist's beta and it just ended up being Project Cheshire.
  • I like this app actually more than wundelist. I'm testing it currently and especially for mobile Project Cheshire is a huge improvement to the old wunderlist app. Of course they are not (yet?) at the same amount of features. But I already have everything I need... Maybe shared Lists would be one thing to add. But apart from that it looks very good i suppose. Still hoping it will be integrated quite deeply within OneNote and Cortana.
  • What, you're one of the beta testers? How do I get access? It wouldn't be hard to have more features than WL. If Chesire's worse than WL from a features POV, then I'm nervous. Todoist runs rings around WL in terms of features. Usability/UX is roughly even... But some of the fast input methods employed by Todoist are way ahead. Thank-you.
  • I am an active Wunderlist user and got an Email from Microsoft with an invitation for Project Cheshire. :)
  • Do you need to have a subscription (i.e. paying), or do you just have to be using WL? TY.
  • omg I got an invite too on 11/1/16 (see my post like 10 comments above), but since signing up I haven't heard anything. I was totally right then, that it was a beta probably for this. I'm super excited to test it whenever I get sent more information. 
  • @real0395 Since lumianok_smart can't or won't answer my Qn, can you please advise; How do I get an invite from them, must I be a paid-up subscriber to WL or what? Thank-you.
  • @JediTWang: sorry for not yet answering. i thought i did... but maybe there have been some wifi connection issues and it didnt send ... :/ anyway. i don't know how you can join the beta of this app... for me it was like this: i am an active user of wunderlist (not paid subscriber) and I got an email from Microsoft inviting me to the beta testing. there was a link where i needed to log in with my Wunderlist Account and then I got the download link for the app.
  • @lumianok smart I have a WL account (like you I'm not a paid subscriber) but I never got an email. I don't have the Windows 10 apps installed, nor have I used them in the past (I think). I have used WL on other platforms, but not for at least 12 months IIRC. Surely I should still get an email? Any ideas what to do?
  • I suppose you'll just have to wait for an open beta or for the release of the app...
    A friend of mine has the same type and similiar usage of wunderlist but also didnt get an email... I guess i have just been lucky...
  • @lumianok smart Oddly I don't get emails *PERIOD* from WL any more... Despite having a WL account, maybe I stopped them, will check.
  • @lumianok smart Got a minute? http://www.windowscentral.com/microsofts-project-cheshire-do-list-app-re... Thank-you.
  • I must be an idiot. I've never really figured out what Note was useful for. I use Stickies and my Outlook Calendar. Then there is this thing called Sway.. and I can't figure out what it's good for. Then I went to take a Panaramic photo with my Lumia 1520 and found it was just awful... No where near as good as it was 2 years ago with the Nokia app. It all just taste and smells like throwing a bunch of doomed poorley strung together applets at a wall and seeing what picks up interests... Answer: with no clear direction.... Nothing..
  • I really want it to integrate deeply with outlook calendar and Cortana.
  • I hope they have a working live tile on this new app, wunderlist has never had a working W10m live tile that shows actual list content, neither does OneNote or Todoist , I find it such a pain for these type of programs can not do such basic things on my mobile
  • ...neither does OneNote or Todoist...
    Weird, Todoist does for me... I don't use OneNote that much, same for WL.
  • On Todoist all I see is the list title and a live count of the number of items in that list, rather than the list items themselves, is that what you are seeing too?
  • I can't see this replacing my Google Keep on my pc or Android phone any time soon
  • Based on one of the screenshots, it seems this app won't let you pick your default color theme in Windows. Seems rather disappointing given this is a Microsoft app.
  • Preview software... ;)
  • This should be a OneNote feature not a seperate app IMHO
  • I used to feel the same way, but I started using Wunderlist a few weeks ago. It has changed how I run my daily tasks. It is simple to use and add tasks. I know that OneNote is as well, but Wunderlist is a much small app, less tabs and functions. I can grab my phone add a very quick task without having to navigate OneNote. That and the Cortana integration. "Hey, Cortana, add blah, blah, blah to my Wunderlist" I can stay focused on what I am doing while very quickly adding. I love OneNote and still use it for note taking, project tracking etc. I just don't need that all the time, especially while I am mobile. ​As for this app, not sure why they would enter private beta when they already own an outstanding app/service. Maybe it will become clear at some point. Or BAU, 9 apps that do the same thing. Time will tell....
  • You've done a good job of selling it to me! I'll give it a go and see how I get on. 
  • They each have their strengths. To me, it would make more sense if they were kept separate but were integrated with each other. The tasks service also needs to be integrated with Outlook, Office 365, SharePoint, Planner, Teams, Project, CRM, etc. so that every task you are assigned through those services show up in the tasks app as well as in Outlook and even on the start page of Office 365. From looking at the screenshots, the new apps look a lot like Wunderlist in their basic layout, but Wunderlist has been lacking in those integrations that I mentioned and I think it has been the plan all along that the successor to Wunderlist would have them. So if I were to venture a guess, I'd say this is the Wunderlist team building their next version on the underpinnings of Office 365 and probably with a new name. Probably just something like "Office 365 Tasks" or even "Microsoft Tasks". I just hope they will make it easy to take your existing Wunderlist tasks with you.
  • So, apparently Project Cheshire is just Wunderlist's new beta. Not sure if there will be a name change later or not though.
  • I had tried Project Cheshire back in November and was underwhelmed. Wunderlist was far superior. Yesterday I tried it again and was able to import my tasks and lists from Wunderlist. Lo and behold, the tasks and lists, in Project Cheshire, then synced seamlessly with my Outlook 2016 / 365 Tasks. The lists were added as sub-folders to my Outlook Tasks folder. Also Project Cheshire is working great on my Windows mobile. Finally, Tasks! Now this looks interesting and I can't wait to see what happens next. Anyone else know more?