James Rosewell writes:
If you work for a sizeable organisation it’s 65% likely your email, contacts, calendar and task list will all reside on a Microsoft Exchange server. That’s quite a lot of mobile phones to connect and synchronise with Exchange. Microsoft has a solution called ActiveSync now supported by Nokia, Apple and a few others. RIM requires a server that IT departments need to install to allow their BlackBerry users to access these features.
Android has been left behind when it comes to accessing ActiveSync. The most recent Android operating system, 2.1 available on the Google Nexus One, does support ActiveSync. At least that’s what it says on the box. However it’s only half a solution, supporting contacts and email but not calendars and tasks.
Fortunately there is an answer in the form of TouchDown from NitroDesk Inc. Available through the Android Marketplace this little application provides all the functionality you’d get on a Windows Phone device. Create emails, manage all your contacts, schedule new appointments and invite others, manage your tasks and much, much more. There are some features missing, like cutting and pasting from email messages, but it’s a pretty good start.
TouchDown and Android 2.1 demonstrate how far the mobile phone has moved towards a PC model when it comes to consumer choice. The hardware manufacturer, operating system and applications are now truly separate, freeing the consumer to choose the best of each world. Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 - due to be released later this year - has a huge amount of ground to make up in this regard. Companies retaining a closed model need to be careful not to be sidelined and become niche players.
James Rosewell has no professional involvement with NitroDesk Inc.