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The Ultimate Mobile Email System: Does it exist?

I have, for a long time, been hunting for the ultimate mobile email system.

It doesn’t exist, as far as I am concerned, yet.

There are some brilliant possibilities for normobs. For example, last night I watched as Honour Pearson of Momail described in 20 seconds how Jonathan MacDonald’s wife could get mobile email setup on her Sony Ericsson.

Momail is a brilliantly eloquent solution for mobile email.

Good Mobile Messaging absolutely rocks.

Blackberry’s own mail system works beautifully with Exchange.

My problem is that I use Google Applications. We use it for Mobile Industry Review for a number of reasons. First I need my assistants and team to be able to access each others’ accounts — and mine, in particular, on a regular basis. I don’t want them using some tuppence-ha’penny rubbish web client. I need them to have immediate 2-second query access to my entire 15 gig MIR email archive.

Outlook, even 2007, just can’t handle the volume of email. Apple Mail is particularly useless, as is Entourage — in fact any client that I can think of comes creaking to a halt after you thrown in a few gig of mail and want to try and search it quickly.

Whatever tools or technical gubbins that you throw at me (“Outlook email search, anyone?”) it’s simply not good enough for me.

So we use Google Apps.

I can get IMAP access. But that’s shit. It’s rubbish. It’s like being back in the dark ages. But I can’t get my contacts. I can’t search it. I can use Google’s various clients. Not good enough. Again, they’re brilliant for the normobs. But when I need real time access to my mail — and we use our mail accounts here at MIR as business critical tools, I can’t be arsing about doing send-and-receives or trying to navigate stupid IMAP folder structures.

Often I use the mobile mail version of Google Apps. Or I use my Blackberry on IMAP. Or currently, I’m using the Motorola Q9’s windows mobile messaging inbox — checking my email by IMAP.

Again, highly, highly stupid. I actually have to hit send-and-receive. Crazy. Back in the dark ages. Turn on the check-every-five-minutes option and the battery is dead — and I mean KAPUT — within 6 hours.

Fooking rubbish.

Flocking useless.

What do I do?

I like to have real time messaging. I like the ability to be able to query my knowledge base — my inbox — quickly and swiftly.

Yesterday I was talking to Carl from Trutap. I said he should talk to the chaps who setup ping.fm and see if they could do a deal of sorts. Somewhere deep in my inbox is an errant email or mention of the ping.fm chap’s contact information.

I took one look at my device and apologised to Carl.

“I’ll, er, need to send that to you later.”

I wasn’t about to bring up the Q9’s shite web browser, login to Google Apps Mail and start searching it. I didn’t want to use up 10 minutes of Carl’s valuable time whilst we both stared into space, waiting for my infrastructure to perform.

I’ll tell you what I’d really like though.

I know how it looks. Mobile Email Nirvana.

It’s Good Mobile Messaging, crossed with Google Mail.

And that’s me. I’d be done.

If you’ve never checked out Good Mobile, take a bit of time to evaluate it. It’s a super, super interface into Exchange (or Lotus Rubbish). It works on Nokia, it works on Windows Mobile. It looks the same on either platform. BUT it only works with Exchange. ONLY.

There are hints. There are murmerings. There are slight, small, did-you-catch-that rumours that perhaps Good Mobile Messaging may well plug into Google Apps.

If they did, they’d have a customer in me. I’d love to be able to get real time email on my device of choice along with the ability to query my entire inbox and do all the kinds of things that Google Mail offers (archival and so on). And I’d like it to work with the Google Apps calendars, contacts and documents. I’d pay good money for this.

The challenge is whether or not other people would. I recognise that I’m a bit of a special case. For most folk, a mobilised Exchange account works fine. If other folk don’t need it, then there’s limited amount of value in developing the system.

One bright light could be Android. If some smart chaps knock up the mobile equivalent of Mailplane and hook your Google contacts/calendar into that of your Android device, we could be rocking.

Until then. Gahhh.

Any suggestions?

Oooh.

I suppose I could <i>try</i> and get a developer to create a hybrid for me?

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

10 replies on “The Ultimate Mobile Email System: Does it exist?”

I must say I was particularly impressed….bearing in mind I hadn't slept in 24 hours I was in a slightly cynical mood so seeing something explained and demo'd in 20 seconds was outrageous….

Great work by Honour and her team – like Ewan, I need the Google facility so will await with interest..

The best overall solution, imo, is a combination of 2 Google setups – the downloadable java app and your E90 (or whatever other device's) built-in email client. I use Gmail IMAP and on all of my S60 phones, I get near-push (within seconds) email with minimal fuss, and it doesn't kill the battery on either my N95-3 or the N82 (the latter on EDGE, of course).

You would still want the downloadable client to be able to easily a quickly search through your entire Gmail archives pretty-instantly, but for just typical sending/receiving, the regular IMAP works best.

What is it about IMAP that you don't like? It's instant, and it keeps things in sync, so if you read it on your phone, it's marked read when you get to your desk. Brilliant.

Nowt wrong with IMAP or webclients – it's the back-end mail processor that needs looking at – after all, a downloadable client, web interface or IMAP interface are just that – interfaces. What you want sounds vaguely like an extension to something I'm already working on. Perhaps.

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