Using Microsoft Exchange is the nearest thing to true push email on Windows Mobile devices, and thanks to a new free open source service, you are no longer restricted to paying an for an unreliable service or depending on your corporate email.
Funambol is a free service that uses the open source model. It replicates the workings of Microsoft Exchange and offers free exchange style email to many mobile phone types, particularly Windows Mobile.
It’s a powerful tool that goes beyond over the air email synchronization – Funambol also offers calendar and contacts synchronization.
Sign-Up And Install Funambol
First of all, you need to visit my.funambol.com to setup an account and tell the system what type of phone you’re using.
Once complete, it is then time to tell Funambol your email details. It’s a good idea to give the email address and password of a rarely used account or one you’ve set up for testing this service. I haven’t come across any security concerns as yet however – Funambol requires the information in order to login to your email account and push the emails to your phone. It’s all completely carried out by automated software, with no human interaction with the systems except for technical support.
Next you’ll need to download the right version for your Windows Mobile device – go to the Funambol download page. Separate downloads for Smartphone and PocketPC models are available (if your phone has a hardware keyboard and is not touchscreen, you’ll need the Smartphone version).
Finally some general information needs to be confirmed, such as timezone and secondary email address.
How To Sync
Once downloaded and installed on your phone (Funambol sends a CAB file to your Windows Mobile device for over the air installation) it’s time to begin synching data.
The most obvious thing to try to sync is your email – however any contacts and calendar items currently held on your Windows Mobile device will be synchronized as ActiveSync sends your Pocket Outlook data to the Funambol open source exchange server.
What is and isn’t synced can be managed from your mobile Funambol client, while the myfunambol page allows you to alter calendar entries and add and delete duplicates.
The following Pocket Outlook data types can be synced or disabled:
Manage what items are synced by launching the Funambol client on your Windows Phone and saving your Sync Settings.
Email can be set to push, scheduled or manual synchronization with Funambol – to set this click on the Email Options link on the Sync Settings screen. There are no considerable differences between Push service and Scheduled synchronization, so to take advantage of this great service I would recommend setting your device to Push service.
Sending and Receiving Email
When you receive email with Funambol, the software will replicate the actions of an ActiveSync managed connection to a Microsoft Exchange server. The email received in your account will be collected by Funambol’s automated systems and pushed to your phone almost instantly. No other email address is used.
To reply to the email – carry on as normal! Funambol doesn’t utilise any new email addresses for relaying your message, so your intended recipient will have no idea you’re sending via a secure third party. There will be no unusual email addresses aliasing your own usual address, making the experience with Funambol a seamless and impressive one.