OK, so I've only had my new Treo 700W (Verizon) for 24 hours, but let's just admit it, wireless productivity sucks. My new device requires a significant understanding of SMTP/POP3 protocols to make it wirelessly sync my email. But when it comes to the calendar, to do's, contacts, etc. this is the worst sort of hack. What a kludge.
Let me be more specific, and less geeky. I've been a Blackberry user for almost 3 years. RIM (Blackberry's parent company) has "created" (some say stole) an unfortunately complex server architecture called Blackberry Enterprise Server (or BES). BES is necessary to connect the Blackberry to Enterprise Applications like MS Exchange (or, YUK, Lotus Notes) so that calendar events, to-do's,
contacts, and notes can be accessed and synchronized wirelessly. It works, it's expensive, it's proprietary, and it's superfluous.
What we really need is a ubiquitous protocol, open and free, that allows all calendaring applications to sync with desktop, web-based, or wireless devices. What you say, we already have that? Well sort of. Apple did create iCal and Microsoft has even created an RFC for such a protocol. Of course, none of these have seen the light of day yet, and it seems pretty obvious why. Such a protocol would make Microsoft's Exchange Server somewhat obsolete.
The only company with the power to make this happen is Google. We really need gCalendar - which has been rumored to be under development - to open up the iCalendar protocols so that we can stop jumping through hoops to make our wireless devices work.
Just a couple of examples. Verizon has partnered with IntelliSync to make this happen for it's new devices. Just a couple of major nits though. Look at these screenshots from the process. As I was setting up my wireless email, I got this error.
gMail requires SSL login for email authentication, which is not asking for the moon - after all non-SSL login allows your username and password to fly around the ether in clear text. But, SSL authentication is NOT SUPPORTED BY VERIZON/INTELLISYNC. WHAT? My only option is to return the Treo, or workaround yet again by forwarding my gMail to a POP3 account that allows non-SSL authentication. Again, another kludge. It gets worse. Check out this helpful note.
It would appear that MSN, Hotmail, gMail, ATTWorldnet, Yahoo (free email), and presumably anyone with the balls to ask for SSL authentication is NOT SUPPORTED. Those vendors I just listed are the bulk of the email vendors in the marketplace. How the hell can a company like Verizon partner with a company like IntelliSync and not insist that this be remedied. What a POS (and no I don't mean Point of Sale).
Any suggestions for elegantly work around this (hell even practically work around it would be better than this) I am all ears.