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October 24, 2008

Replace Your Blackberry The S60 Way

by Matthew

For the past several weeks I’ve had the opportunity to give the Nokia E71 a real run for its money with regards to email. I’ve tried the built-in email client, Nokia Email and Mail for Exchange (MfE), although most S60 units will also work. I might have bothered with the now defunct Blackberry Connect Nokia offered for E Series devices except that it hasn’t seen an update for the longest time and Nokia has since announced it will be discontinued. Of all these the biggest bang for my money and as it turns out a darn good Blackberry replacement is MfE

Some users Blackberry die-hards may be sad for the loss of Blackberry for Nokia E Series but I’d argue it is actually a good thing for Nokia and S60 users. The Blackberry client has never been anything close to exceptional; Blackberry Messenger was only one way (when it worked at all) making it anything but a real Blackberry replacement. Worse yet the application only worked on E Series. With Blackberry Connect on its death bed, Nokia can focus on MfE and make the de facto push enterprise email solution for S60 devices.

Mail for Exchange (MfE) on the other hand, works on both N and E series and gives users a very real alliterative to the expensive Blackberry solution. Those not familiar with the Blackberry solution may not realize in the corporate world Blackberry is anything but cheap especially compared to the consumer version. Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) not only requires Microsoft Exchange but also the BES licensing and software to go along with it. For the handsets many wireless carriers will also require a costlier data plan, some even go so far as to block BES without these plans. Blackberry Internet Server (BIS), the typical used as the consumer version of BES except it too requires an often times higher data plan. BIS also doesn’t give the syncing of contacts, calendar or tasks BES offers. Consumers opting for the BES solution will pay a premium, somewhere between $10 and $50 depending on the provider, on top of hosted Exchange services, somewhere between $5 and $50 on average for a basic or mid-range plan. Users opting for MfE can save money on both the BB data plans and the costly BES licensing (whether hosted or in-house).

MfE offers the same push email, contact, calendar and tasks syncing BB does without the higher BB cost, not to mention a wider variety of devices. BB may offer some good devices, no doubt their hardware is some of the best in the industry but they aren’t always the best in many other areas. Not to say S60 or Nokia is perfect either, both platforms could benefit from improvements and changes. I do think S60 offers many more alternatives and options RIM isn’t likely to offer. The BB software library is large but not nearly as extensive and arguably as appealing to developers as S60. For example Handango offers 4,786 titles for BB and 11,958 for Symbian, minus ~1,000 for UIQ.

If you haven’t yet tried MfE I’d highly recommend giving it a try. Two hosted Exchange solutions I’ve tried lately and would recommend are Mailstreet and ITSolutionsNow. Mailstreet has a special for a 2GB and 4GB mailbox for $9.99 and $14.99 plus $2 each for Activesync ($9.99 setup) and/or Spam filtering per month. ITSolutionsNow offers unlimited storage, Activesync, Anti-spam plus a 100MB Sharepoint site included for $9.99 per month. Mailstreet offers a free 30 day trial (Activesync or Spam filter not included) while ITSolutionsNow does not. I’ve been using ITSolutionsNow for nearly a month without a single problem, living up to their 99.9% uptime guarantee. Hosted Exchange is best with your own domain which GoDaddy happens to have on sale for $1.99US using code 199test at check out, if you’re renewing GeekBrief has codes GB1, GB2 and GB3 which offer various savings depending on what you’re buying. I believe the 199test code is only good for new .com domains for 1 year and does not include privacy or any other additional services. If you try out MfE come back and let us know how it goes.

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Comments

martin_j001

I'd definitely have to agree with the idea that the e71 can be an alternative to Blackberry. I was a Blackberry user for the past several years and finally switched over to s60 with the e71. Both my Blackberry and e71 are more for personal use, but for me, they both work about equally well. The e71 wins in that it has a few more features that at least my Blackberry 8310 didn't offer.

Mario

I am using MfE on my old E61 since one year.
Works great with mail2web for free. Try it
http://services.mail2web.com/FreeServices/

Igor

anyone who have used MfE could tell me how long does the battery of E71 can support running this app?

Matthew

Mario free is good but I really prefer using my own domain for email.

Igor I can go all day (11hrs) no problem. I have this one currently set to be online full time 7 am till 6pm. Between 6pm and 7am it polls every 30 mins. At 6pm I still a good portion of my battery left, enough that I don't have to charge until after midnight.

sodich

what shall we do if the company that we work with provide us an access for blackberry ? and they do not trust other ways !

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