While we in the U.S. have to look hard to see this, Nokia is a company in the midst of a transformation. In the past few years, it has been remaking itself from a mobile devices company to a services company.
Recent purchases such as Navteq and Plazes have given Nokia considerable headway in the area of location-based services (LBS), while the previous acquisition of Intellisync gave Nokia an enterprise-level email and syncing solution throughout its device range.
The purchase of Intellisync has recently become significant again. Although it happened years ago, the email features of this synchronization suite have gone unaddressed… until now, with the beta release of a free application and service called Nokia Email.
Making Setup Easy
Nokia Email is the latest offering from this company’s BetaLabs program. Applications within this program are test beds for future services and features.
The company believes that email setup has usually been a chore of remembering complex settings and other information that most users had no clue of how to figure out. So it set out to create an alternative that’s much easier to use.
Nokia Email is one part client application, and another part service offering. Upon signing up for it, the user is sent an SMS message with a link to download the software.
The application leads the user through a few screens asking basic information such as the email address, email password, a security question, and a few configuration options. Then it is done. The entire process from signing up on the website to finishing the install and setup takes less than 10 minutes.
Currently, the beta of Nokia Email is compatible with email accounts from Google, Yahoo (depending on country restrictions), and a few other webmail services. For now, self-hosted domains, MS Exchange, and MS Hotmail/Live accounts are not supported.
It works like a Push messaging service in that it queries Nokia’s servers and then Nokia’s servers turn around and query the email account. If there is new email, it is pushed to the device. Within the settings this can be set up so messages are pushed immediately, or on timed intervals.
Other setting such as whether to download headers, headers and body, and attachments are left to the user to decide. But mostly, there isn’t much to set up, you just install the software and things work.
Impressions of Nokia Email on the E71
The Nokia E71 is one of the latest mobiles offered by this manufacturer and is designed to be a communicator device. The QWERTY keyboard on the front of the device, in addition to the software and build ,appeal to those that want to communicate as simply and quickly as possible.
Nokia Email performs well with the E71, and can even work alongside Nokia’s Mail for Exchange feature, which works within the default Messaging application.
I use it with my GMail account, and it is almost like having a second Mail for Exchange account. From the Active Standby screen I’m able to see the last one or two emails that were read/unread, and on opening the application it’s simple and easy to read my messages — reminding me of VersaMail on Palm OS Treo devices from my past use.
Creating a new email is as simple of hitting the softkey for Options, then choosing Compose. Typing in the To and CC fields brings up an auto-complete list based on contacts in the addressbook. Additional options such as setting message priority and adding on attachments were a simple click away. Compared to the Messaging application and Mail for Exchange, this was a much simpler user interface for creating emails quickly.
Probably the most impressive aspect with using Nokia Email on the E71 has been the speed at which emails come to the device. Compared to a laptop which sat on the same Wi-Fi connection as the E71, I can get the email, read read it, and put the mobile down before GTalk on the laptop will even notify me that I had new mail.
Some limitations that I’ve found thus far have to do with lower end S60 devices such as my N75. While this device can utilize Nokia Email, it really does tax the 2-year-old device’s memory and software. It could be a solid solution for low-end models, but only if they had the amount of memory to handle such an application.
Nokia Email is another application and service offering by which Nokia is leveraging the over 200 million S60 devices sold, as well as the need for people to simply connect using email.
Given its beta status, its an impressive piece of work. It’s not known at this time if or when it would be available for other mobile operating systems, but I’m assuming that with Nokia’s move towards being a services-oriented company that this is something that is probably planned for in the future.
Nokia Email is free, and can be downloaded from the Nokia Beta Labs website.