Sunday, January 18, 2009

Android Exchange support

A key feature missing on my Android phone was direct access to my work email through Exchange. Unlike the iPhone, Android lacks a native Exchange client. 
The Android Market to the rescue! I found a couple of solutions. Some of them were still in private Beta.
I tried out TouchDown from Nitrodesk for free and opted to purchase a full license for $19.99. So far my experience with Touchdown has been good. 
  • Email works great. I am pulling down my email every 15 minutes. There is no support for push email. But that ain't a big issue since I do not want to be pinged with email every minute.
  • The current version doesn't allow you to edit or confirm calendar appointments. A killer feature would be to bridge between the Exchange calendar and my google calendar. 
  • Touchdown does time out when I switch between 3G and WIFI. The error message indicates this is a DNS problem. However I have no issue access the internet via a browser. The error is temporarily as 15 minutes later I am able to pull down my email. 
  • Nitrodesk support has been excellent and fast. 
Other applications which I has installed on my phone are (in order of how often I use them)
  • Twitroid - to twitter from my phone
  • fBook - Facebook application; not bad, but I find myself regularly going to the mobile or main facebook website to comment or access info. 
  • PhoneFlix - manage your Netflix queue from your phone. This is a great application since I typically hear about a great movie from friends, when I am not near my computer. 
  • Skype Lite - to receive and make skype phone calls. When making a skype call to a computer, you do make a local call and will be billed wireless minutes. But that is a cheap price to pay when trying to call my parents in Belgium, or my parents in law in Argentina. 
  • T-mobile HotSpot locator - alerts me of nearby WIFI hotspot locators operated by T-mobile. 
  • Mileage - to keep track of my trips to the pump. Unfortunately this only supports one car. 
  • gIRC, an irc client for Android
  • ConnectBot - secure shell for Android. 
  • Shopsavvy - take a picture of the barcode and find where to best buy it. Seriously! This application has potential. I haven't used it much. The only thing I recently bought was a fridge and it lacked a barcode ;)
  • ToggleBlu - one click bluetooth on/off
So what's missing? 
  • Remember The Milk : my work and personal todo list, groceries and shopping list. The mobile version of the webstie doesn't render well on Android. A native app really would do wonders. (107 replies already on my RTM forum post)
  • Pandora : I am big fan of Pandora and listed to it at least a few hours a day. I do get feeling Tom Conrad from Pandora ain't the biggest fan of Android. Pandora is already on the new PalmOS. I am anxiously awaiting a version for my phone. 
Update: Add one more application to the list: Radio.BE. I just received an email from Nicolas Braem who launched a streaming audio application for Belgian radio stations, such as one of my favorite: Studio Brussel. 

Update 01/27/2009: Version 1.4.051 of Touchdown added a lot of requested features: meeting invites and global addressbook