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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Treo 650, Push Email, and Blackberry Connect

I’ve been looking for a good solution for my IT department that would provide push email, but I’ve been reluctant to embrace the Blackberry hardware. I’m not that happy with any Blackberry device I’ve ever used. I prefer the ubiquity of software available for the Palm OS. The Palm OS interface is much more elegant. The Palm APIs are better understood by our programmers. In sum, I need Blackberry functionality without the Blackberry.
So, today, when Palm announced its agreement with Cingular Wireless today to provide Blackberry Connect access for Treo 650s, I was intrigued right away since I am both a Treo 650 owner and a Cingular customer. We have a corporate Blackberry server, and our IT staff can (but does not presently) have access to it. So it seems like a perfect match.

However, I’ve investigated further, and I’m not sure that I am willing to add $44.95/month per user plus voice costs to the bottom line just for push email. A more cost-effective solution would be ChatterEmail EX and Exchange 2003, which has Outlook Web Access (OWA). Chatter reads OWA nicely; I’ve tested it, and I like the functionality. However, we have a nasty little security feature in place called SecurID, and Chatter does not support SecurID authentication.

Our present solution is VB code that calls MAPI and sends attachments and forwarded emails to external IMAP accounts. However, that isn’t the most elegant solution, and it doesn’t provide Blackberry-like access to calendars, contacts, and tasks. But it is definitely the most cost-effective. All it requires is a $39 email client, our Exchange server, and any number of free IMAP accounts in existence.

As much as I like the idea of going with Blackberry Connect for Palm 650, until I can see a real business need for real-time access to non-email items, I’m going to have to stick with the VB/MAPI solution.


.: posted by Dave 4:09 PM

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