Which Mobile for Exchange Mailbox Synchronization?

Activesync icon

At present we only officially support the use of Windows Mobile devices when communicating with the Exchange servers. This decision was made on the basis of the consistent standard of Windows Mobile and having devices ourselves that we can test and check problems out on. Now, a number of the big mobile manufacturers are licensing Microsoft’s ActiveSync technology and introducing the Enterprise level functionality into their devices. We don’t prohibit their use, but can’t offer any in depth support.

I hope this post gives some information on our findings.

Windows Mobile:
All versions of Windows Mobile should be compatible with Exchange. Obviously with each new iteration of the operating system (We are now up to 6.1) new functionality is introduced. Push e-mail was introduced in Windows Mobile 5.0. Motorola, Samsung, Palm, HTC are among manufacturers that produce Windows Mobile devices. Many of the UK mobile providers (Orange, O2, T-Mobile) re-badge HTC devices as their own.

As James documented in an earlier post, Nokia were one of the first manufacturers to licence Activesync which they called ‘Mail for Exchange’. It seems to only be available for some of their ‘E’ and ‘N’ series devices.

Sony Ericsson:
We have only been able to take a look at one Sony Ericsson device and unfortunately their version of Activesync on that particular device doesn’t seem to be compatible with Forms Based Authentication. (The type of authentication that we use!)

As Blackberry have their own version of Activesync, it doesn’t look like they will license Microsoft’s version. Unfortunately to get the Blackberry to offer push e-mail with an Exchange server, a separate server (Blackberry Enterprise Server) and client access licenses need to be purchased. As we can offer Microsoft Activesync for no extra cost, we have no plans to offering push e-mail support to Blackberries.

Apple iPhone:
Apple incorporate Microsoft’s Activesync into their software on July 11th. The software will be made available for existing iPhones, IPod Touch and the soon to be released 3G iPhone. We haven’t yet been able to test this.

Some useful resources:

Modaco : Thorough news and forums
MSMobiles : News
CoolSmartphone : News
Expansys : Online Retailer

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