Nokia Unleashes Mobile Email Client To Counter BlackBerry

Changing Direction

Nokia has released a new mobile email application for their mobile phones that could mark a huge change in how people view Nokia’s connected handsets. For years now, if you wanted a smartphone that was mainly focused on messaging, you looked to BlackBerry. Research In Motion, the company behind BlackBerry has wisely built handsets centered around a server-based mobile messaging solution that makes receiving and sending email a snap.

Image Credit: Flickr User Josh Bancroft

Image Credit: Flickr User Josh Bancroft

Email setup on the BlackBerry (for both work and personal) is as easy as going onto a BlackBerry website and typing in your email address, user name, and password. Then, BlackBerry Enterprise Server (aka BES) handles the rest and your emails start streaming seamlessly through to your handset.

Nokia makes handsets that are fully featured media devices, but messaging seems to have been an afterthought on most Nokia handsets, not including the E Series devices.

What’s This New Thing, Anyways?!

Nokia Email, a new product from the Finnish mobile company, is a step towards this easy-to-use type of email system. Nokia’s E Series and N Series phones have long had messaging capabilities including support for POP3 and IMAP, but Nokia Email is a standalone app that is powered by a backend service hosted by Nokia. In a conference call yesterday, Nokia officials told me their intent with Nokia Email is to save their users from having to worry about mail protocols, port numbers, and other intricacies that make mobile mail set up cumbersome.

Getting the App Installed

To get set up, go to the Nokia Email site and enter in your email address, password, and mobile phone number. You are then sent an SMS (this is why you are asked for your phone number) with a download link, enabling you to download and install the Nokia Email client on to your mobile. As you can see by these brief instructions, Nokia has gone to great lengths to make the sign up as easy as possible.

Keep in mind the handsets that are currently supported include: Nokia E51, E61, E61i, E65, E66, E71, N73, N80, N81, N81 8GB, N95. More handsets are being added.

Currently Gmail and Hotmail are supported without any issue. If you put in an email address that Nokia Email doesn’t currently support, the service will try to automatically find the server name, ports, and other information on its own, automatically.

What I Think, So Far

The Nokia Email client, before being put on BetaLabs on August 11th, has been in private beta for roughly a month. I have been using it and have found the client to be a fantastic way to get my Gmail onto my phone. My main wish is that I could have more than one email account included on Nokia Email (like the BlackBerry, which allows you to have up to 10 POP email accounts) and that it supported more handsets. For example Nokia Email wouldn’t work on a Nokia N82, but it does on the E71.

Another desire for the Nokia Email application: I wish it would sync my Google calendar with the native Symbian calendar and I would like it to sync my Gmail contacts with my Symbian contact list.

Conclusion

I am very happy to see Nokia taking a turn into enhancing their mobile messaging offering. Before Nokia Email came around, I was using Gmail for Mobile to keep up to date on my Gmail messages on my Nokia handsets. The Gmail mobile java application is unstable and eats up a lot of memory, slowing down everything on the entire phone OS.