If you’re an AT&T BlackBerry user and you bought a PlayBook, you know that BlackBerry Bridge — the piece of software that wirelessly connects your BlackBerry to your PlayBook and facilitates PIM functions — is not available for AT&T BlackBerry devices. Sure, there are unofficial workarounds, but for RIM’s largest customer to not support this critical feature for RIM’s biggest product launch in ages seems strange (RIM views carriers as customers, sorry guys). Despite its earlier statement, many thought AT&T had ulterior motives in not supporting BlackBerry Bridge, but we have confirmed that the real reason is that RIM didn’t deliver BlackBerry Bridge to AT&T until just days before it launched in RIM’s BlackBerry App World. RIM didn’t hand over a final OS build for the BlackBerry PlayBook until days before launched either, and we saw that first hand with the last minute OS updates to our review unit. In spite of the short testing time — and interestingly enough — all other U.S. carriers have approved BlackBerry Bridge.
According to a report filed by ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft and RIM could announce a new, free, hosted BlackBerry service as early as today. Citing anonymous sources close to the plans, the site reports that the two companies will collaborate to provide the cost-effective BlackBerry Enterprise Service to customers utilizing Microsoft’s hosted Exchange 2010 Online service. “RIM is only mobile OS that doesn’t use (Microsoft) ActiveSync-aware devices and has a separate device management platform – the BES environment,” said the site’s source. “Most large enterprise customers run a on premise [sic] BES server to get the advanced device management.” A Microsoft data sheet updated yesterday seems to confirm the free offering, but Microsoft has yet to publicly announce the program. More →
Introduced in June 2008 to much fanfare — although soon derided by critics and consumers alike for a series of shortcomings — Apple’s $99 per year MobileMe service didn’t exactly get off to the best start in life. However, according to a report from MacDailyNews, Apple is planning to make MobileMe a free service “soon.” MDN’s tipster couldn’t nail down an exact date for the change, citing that it all “depends on certain facilities going operational” (read: Apple’s $1 billion, 500,000 sq. ft. server farm in North Carolina), but allegedly everything should be sorted out in the near future. The question is: if MobileMe becomes free, will Apple dole out refunds to those who paid for the service within the past year, and will Apple generate revenue off the free service with iAds? More →
Following a promise made to the always impatient Interwebs, Mark/Space has stayed true to its word and issued a public beta version of Missing Sync for the Palm Pre. The web-famous sync utility that always comes to the rescue for Mac users is now at version 1.0b but it’s (nearly) fully functional and of course free to try. So what can you sync? Contacts, Music, photos, ringtones, files, calendar items, videos and podcasts are all covered in this release. Soon to be added to this generous list is Safari bookmarks, though the forthcoming MyBookmarks app is a prerequisite so we’re not quite there yet. As has become expected, Missing Sync for the Pre does include proximity sync, which will sync up your Pre when it is detected on the same network as your Mac. Sweet. Requirements include Pre OS 1.0.2+, OS X 10.5.6+, iTunes 7.4+ and a few other notes depending on what you want to sync. Want to buy it after you try it? $40 gets you in the door and gets you the release version as soon as it comes out.
Despite having an entire line of handsets devoted to enterprise users — and even dubbed “Enterprise series” — many view Nokia’s offerings as unfit for business use. While this notion may some merit despite wide adoption in several regions, recent updates to Nokia’s in-house Exchange sync solution have definitely gone a great length to make Eseries devices more viable enterprise contenders. Mail for Exchange (MfE) provides push email, PIM sync and plenty more goodies you would expect from any mobile Exchange client. With this latest update to version 2.9.158, MfE also features the following:
- Access Point Groups/Destinations — Mail for Exchange can now actively switch between WiFi and GPRS connections automatically if your phone supports Destinations. This feature is only available on S60 3rd Edition, Feature Pack 2 and S60 5th Edition phones.
- Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, are disabled by default on new installs. This is to prevent users
from inadvertently losing Calendar, Contacts and Task data.
- When editing your Out of Office (OoO) message on the the device, Mail for Exchange retrieves the current OoO message from the server when the setting/tab is accessed and OoO is set to “Yes”, instead of periodically as in previous versions. This may cause a short delay and requires connectivity with the server.
- Much better battery life in adverse network conditions. If the Mail for Exchange client can’t
maintain a connection to the Exchange Server, it automatically switches to polling every 15
minutes. The client will switch back to Always on at the next scheduled period.
- Mail for Exchange setting tabs are no longer dynamically displayed, instead all tabs are
- Manage your device by name instead of IMEI via Outlook Web Access (OWA) email client (if
account allows). Users of OWA can perform device management features on their phone
clients such as wiping the device. The phone model name is now visible in the status field.
This is helpful for users who are synchronizing several phones.
- Pictures in contacts are now synchronized.
The biggie here of course, is Access Point Group support. Prior to Feature Pack 2, S60 was a disaster when it came to data connectivity as it required each application to specify a single means of connectivity (Access Point) to be initiated each time information was to be transmitted. FP2 doesn’t solve the problem entirely but it does allow users to create Access Point Groups that can include a variety of cellular data and Wi-Fi Access Points in a single entry. Applications such as the new version of Mail for Exchange still need to be set to initiate the Group but at least now apps configured to connect via Wi-Fi aren’t dead in the water the instant you get too far from your router. Of course handsets using older versions of S60 such as the E71 are out of luck unfortunately — yet another reason to get excited about the E71x, which reportedly sports FP2.
Don’t get us wrong – Android is great. It’s touch-friendly, functional, logical and shows a lot of promise. Truth be told however, it is still in its infancy and has a whole lot of growing up to do. Don’t believe us? Just ask any G1 owner still waiting on “cupcake”. Be that as it may, apps play a huge role in extending the functionality of any OS and a little announcement from SEVEN at MWC spells big news for Android users. SEVEN, creator of the like-named mobile email and PIM solution that is rebranded by countless carriers, has officially announced an Android beta. What does this mean for Android users? Email that doesn’t suck.
- Ultra-simple activation: same easy, two-click activation that’s available today from SEVEN on many devices can also be pre-configured for Android so that end-users only have to enter their email address and password.
- Support for business email: provides mobile subscribers with seamless and secure access to Microsoft Exchange or IBM Lotus Domino corporate email, which represents 80% of the corporate email services in use without installing any software behind the firewall.
- Easy access to popular Internet email: consumers have instant access to multiple accounts from popular providers such as AOL, Gmail, Microsoft Live Hotmail, MSN, Yahoo! and other internet email providers as needed to support local markets.
- Integrated contact management and search: for contacts stored on the device as well as remote contact lists from personal address books and corporate directories.
- Robust calendar support: ability to edit, delete and add appointments from personal or business calendars including Microsoft Exchange.
Having used the S60 version of SEVEN for quite some time, we know it as fast, reliable and always improving. As such, we expect the same out of the Android build and seriously doubt we’ll be disappointed. In terms of when the new beta will become available, look for it sometime in Q2 of this year.
In a recent interview with Roger MacNamee of Elevation Partners, Sarah dug up some pretty great features of webOS that had gone relatively unnoticed until now. No, the interview she did isn’t new, but all of the hype flying around at the time let some pretty awesome and intutive functionality go unnoticed. We’ll let MacNamee do the talking here – from the interview:
But better than that, it does stuff for you. So when you wake up in the morning, it has taken your calendar — if you ask it to — and downloaded the maps for you whole day, it’s downloaded the wikipedias for the people you’re going to visit and the companies you’re going to see… Why is it on PCs you have to go and do all that?
And when you’re late — get this — when you’re late it — remember, this things has GPS, it has a clock, and it has your calendar. So it not only knows where you are, it knows where you’re supposed to be and when; and so when it realizes you’re going to be late, it says “Hey, not only are you going to be late, but I can take care of it for you. I’ll send an email to your assistant or to the people in the meeting, which would you prefer? And oh, by the way, here’s the map.” This is the beginning of a new wave.
Pretty smooth Palm, pretty smooth. This is actually a great interview and if you haven’t watched it already we highly recommend you do so. It’s refreshing to see an investor who is actually not only knowledgeable when it comes to to the industry, but also incredibly enthusiastic about a portfolio company and its products. As an aside, we still find it amusing that people ‘in the know’ refer to the HTC G1 as the “Google Android”. Ain’t no branding like Google branding… Hit the jump for the full interview.
It’s been a long time in the making but Nokia has finally announced the culmination of its recent development and acquisitions: Nokia Messaging. The service is essentially a combination of messaging applications rolled up into what should be a nice and tidy little package. Mobile email, PIM management, Instant Messaging, push delivery services and more are all covered by the new Nokia Messaging product. There will also be an available web portal into the service (and how about a desktop suite built with Adobe Air?) that will allow users to send and receive email, manage files and more from any web browser. Tom Furlong, Senior Vice President, Consumer Messaging, Services & Software had this to say:
We believe everybody should have mobile messaging – it’s not a privilege service that’s meant only for a certain segment of the market. With Nokia Messaging, our customers can simply and affordably gain mobile access to the world’s most popular email and IM accounts. We are making mobile messaging an affordable experience for everyone, not just for those with specialized phones designed for messaging, but for everyone with a Nokia device.
We’re not exactly sure which comparable mobile devices don’t come with messaging as the beginning of that quote alludes to, but more options are always a good thing. There will be cost associated with this service of course, or at least with certain parts of it, so we can only hope Nokia doesn’t use carriers to force Nokia Messaging on users who might still prefer whatever free option they are accustomed to.
Yesterday we gave you a taste of Stevo’s apologetic internal email to his troops regarding the mess that is MobileMe. As you recall, Jobs essentially states that Apple screwed the pooch in rushing the service out when it was most certainly not ready for prime time. The email has since been leaked in its entirety and provides an interesting insight into Jobs’ internal apology. Yes, leaked and internal are both in italics. Why? As has been suggested, this is a really great way to indirectly apologize to customers without having to make public statements and go through traditional media outlets. We’re not saying this email was leaked intentionally but… Ok, maybe we are.
The launch of MobileMe was not our finest hour. There are several things we could have done better:
– MobileMe was simply not up to Apple’s standards – it clearly needed more time and testing.
– Rather than launch MobileMe as a monolithic service, we could have launched over-the-air syncing with iPhone to begin with, followed by the web applications one by one – Mail first, followed 30 days later (if things went well with Mail) by Calendar, then 30 days later by Contacts.
– It was a mistake to launch MobileMe at the same time as iPhone 3G, iPhone 2.0 software and the App Store. We all had more than enough to do, and MobileMe could have been delayed without consequence.
We are taking many steps to learn from this experience so that we can grow MobileMe into a service that our customers will love. One step that I can share with you today is that the MobileMe team will now report to Eddy Cue, who will lead all of our internet services – iTunes, the App Store and, starting today, MobileMe. Eddy’s new title will be Vice President, Internet Services and he will now report directly to me.
The MobileMe launch clearly demonstrates that we have more to learn about Internet services. And learn we will. The vision of MobileMe is both exciting and ambitious, and we will press on to make it a service we are all proud of by the end of this year.
We have to wonder: Do you think Steve currently uses MobileMe himself? How about the rest of the Apple higher ups?
It looks like an internal email from El Jobso to Apple employees it quite telling with regards to the current MobileMe situation. What is the MobileMe situation? It’s not good. We’re sure you’ve ready about the many, many problems that many, many people are having with the service. You’ve also likely read that people are dropping their MobileMe accounts left and right. Apparently Apple has noticed a bit of an issue as well and Jobs took it upon himself to circulate a “my bad” to his troops. In the note, Jobs acknowledges that Apple went about it all wrong. As opposed to dropping the unproven service in its entirety to coincide with the launch of the iPhone 3G, Apple might have considered a gradual piecemeal release starting with iPhone sync and then slowly adding additional services. From El Capitán:
It was a mistake to launch MobileMe at the same time as iPhone 3G, iPhone 2.0 software and the App Store. We all had more than enough to do, and MobileMe could have been delayed without consequence.
Well, you know what they say about hindsight. Apple has hardly given up on the service of course and it is reportedly working very hard to remedy the situation by year’s end. The MobileMe team has gone through a bit of a reorganization and all internet services including iTunes, the App Store and MobileMe will now be headed up by Eddy Cue, formerly the VP of iTunes. It would be hard to argue that Cue hasn’t done a bang up job with iTunes and we expect he will fair just fine in his new role. Jobs closes the email by saying:
The MobileMe launch clearly demonstrates that we have more to learn about Internet services and learn we will. The vision of MobileMe is both exciting and ambitious, and we will press on to make it a service we are all proud of by the end of this year.