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Beginner's Guide to using a Mobile Device for Email


If you have to carry a mobile phone around with you for business calls, why not use it to tap into that other major form of business communication - email?



How Does using a Mobile Phone Compare to making Phone Calls on a Standard Landline Phone?

Pretty good.
Besides the obvious huge advantage of portability, mobile phones have several disadvantages:-

There are places where they don't work because they're not in range of a transmitter mast: on Underground trains, in remote locations or at sea.

There are situations where it's illegal or antisocial to use a mobile: theatres, prisons, or hospitals.

Mobile phone batteries go flat.

Calls cost more.


Overall the disadvantages are minor and a mobile phone is just as effective a device for speech communication as a landline phone.



How Does Email on a Mobile Device Compare to using Email on a PC?

Pretty poorly.
A person who has dispensed with a landline phone to rely entirely on a mobile phone is not so unusual.
A person who has abandoned a PC and only uses a mobile device for their email is crazy.

A desktop PC has a full-sized keyboard and mouse, a large screen (the norm is 19" and rising), a large amount of local storage and a fast, cheap and reliable connection to the Internet.



 

How are you ever going to pack all this into a device that will fit into a shirt pocket?
The history of computing is littered with predictions that now sound ridiculous, so I wouldn't want to say that this will never happen, but such a device will be a long time coming.

Just so we know what we're talking about, a Mobile Device is mobile phone with some form of email capability. These range from the most basic handsets to SmartPhones, Pocket PCs, Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) and, of course, Blackberries.
I also use the term SmartPhone to cover mobile phones with an enhanced email capability.



Should We Just Forget about Email on Mobile Devices?

Definitely not!
Just try to get a Blackberry user to give theirs up!
A Smartphone performs a subset of email tasks tolerably well.
The following table gives scores out of 10 for how well a mobile phone with basic email capabilities, a SmartPhone and a Pocket PC perform various email tasks compared to a real PC.


"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." - Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." - Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977

Task Nokia
6021
O2 XDA
IQ
O2 XDA
mini S
Desktop
PC
Reading Plain-text emails 5 6 7 10
Reading HTML emails 2 4 5 10
Viewing Attachments * 0 1 4 10
Composing/Sending Emails 4 5 7 10
Sending Attachments 0 3 5 10
Viewing your Email Archive * 0 4 4 10
Editing Word/Excel/PwrPnt Docs 0 0 4 10
Calendar Functions 0 8 8 10
Phone-Only Features 10 8 7 0


What's the Most Compelling Reason to have an Email-Enabled Mobile Device?

Freedom!
In business communications, people often email when they should really telephone.
An email doesn't interrupt the recipient, it's a de facto written record of the communication and it doesn't require the "emotional energy" involved in talking with a real person.
However, it's not always appropriate.

There was a news story a few years ago of how employees at a company were informed that they has lost their jobs, effective immediately, by a text message.
Society's rules require that some messages are delivered personally.
While you may expect to be told face-to-face, you're more likely to receive a "you're fired" phone call than an email.

Many companies receive requests for new business, find out if a new deal has been accepted or get first warning of some problem via an email.
For a business to prosper, these emails need to be acted upon immediately.
In these situations, people may become paralysed, unable to leave their desks in case they miss that all-important email.
This is the driving force behind mobile email devices.
If your phone will alert you and allow you to read and respond to an email as soon as it arrives then you can continue to have lunch, attend meetings and go home on time, confident that you'll always be on top of the situation.
If your secretary can edit appointments in your calendar when meetings are re-scheduled and you're then alerted to these changes by your Smartphone, this will increase your efficiency.



Aren't Push Email and Smartphones Just for Companies with Big Budgets and their own IT Department?

Not at all, Arrowmail's mission is to enable individuals to enjoy all the features that Exchange can offer, including Push Email.
Since Microsoft has brought out its own Direct Push email system, the Push email market is reaching a critical mass where prices are starting to come down.

This is what it will cost you to have Push email:-


Required Item

Cost

Comments

A Pocket PC or Smartphone

£0 to £400 depending on your contract

A reasonable price for such a complex device. Just don't lose it or break it!

A Direct Push enabled Exchange mailbox

£5.99 per month
from Arrowmail

Ridiculously cheap considering all the extra features.

A data contract with a mobile phone network

£15 to £30 per month

A bit more expensive than it should be.
This is the real "can I afford it?" question. Maybe this cost will continue to fall.


As far as needing an IT department, we think that we've done a pretty good job in these support pages covering common setup tasks and problems, but if you get stuck we're willing to lend a hand.



Join the Future

An Exchange mailbox, Microsoft Outlook on your PCs and Push Email to a Smartphone gives a joined-up email solution that links work, home and all the places in-between.

The mobile phone meant your boss and your spouse could always find you.
Push email means you're more readily accessible, in a less intrusive way, to a wider range of people including your customers.
Mobile phones and mobile email means you don't have to be sat at your desk to be doing your job.
You might not even come into the office at all on some days and no one will notice (or perhaps not).
All this freedom means you have to be prepared to take calls and reply to emails outside the normal working day so you can never again turn on your out-of-office auto-reply.

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* The O2 XDA IQ is a Smartphone with no touch-screen and no Mobile Word, Excel or PowerPoint.
This is why it gets lower scores than the O2 XDA mini S which is a Pocket PC and has a
touch-screen and Mobile Office applications.

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