Hosted Exchange & Mobile Devices

Microsoft Exchange offers several mail protocols as standard, and this includes the native Exchange ActiveSync, IMAP and POP. This means that most mobile devices, smartphones and tablets can receive email delivered via hosted Exchange. However, there are some considerations.

Firs, it is important to remember that the only two email clients that can access all hosted Exchange features are Microsoft Outlook and the web based Outlook Web Access. Other email clients, including mobile email clients, even if they use the Microsoft ActiveSync protocol, will not give access to all the features of a hosted exchange mailbox. This usually means that collaboration features, notes and journal entries will not be available. It also means that many of the additional fields such as those used to set the start and end date of tasks, will not be available.

Blackberry devices require an additional Microsoft Exchange Server add-on called BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express. There is a per mailbox license cost for this. Because of this additional cost, most hosted Exchange providers charge an additional fee if Blackberry access is required.

Google Android ships with some Exchange compatibility. It is capable of connecting to an Exchange mailbox using ActiveSync natively. Android will sync emails, tasks, calendars and contacts. Although, as mentioned above, not all features of Exchange will be available in mobile clients. Every Google Android equipped smart phone and tablet can access Exchange using ActiveSync, but with reduced feature set.

Apple iOS has native support for Microsoft ActiveSync. Setting up an Exchange mailbox on an iPhone or iPad is very easy due to the in-built mail setup wizard. However, Apple iOS suffers from the same limitations as Google Android. The mobile email client does not contain the ability to use every Microsoft Exchange feature.

Windows 8, which is used as the operating system on Windows powered tablets, does ship with ActiveSync as a native mail protocol. Integration of Exchange into Windows 8 is much better than both Google Android and Apple iOS. However, there are still limitations on the Exchange mailbox features that can be accessed.

Blackberry, Apple iOS, Google Android and Windows 8 are all able to receive email from an Exchange server using push technology. As well as contact data, calendar and tasks. However, none of them offer the full exchange feature set.

Users of other mobile devices can use either IMAP or POP to access their exchange mailbox. POP should be used as a last resort, as there is no backward synchronization with the Exchange server when using the POP protocol. IMAP is preferred, and this will give fully synchronized access to emails, but not calendar, contacts or tasks.

It is important to understand that Microsoft Exchange is much more than an email hosting server. Because of this, no mobile client supports every single feature. However, tor simply checking and replying to emails, and accessing contacts and calendar, Blackberry, Google Android and Apple iOS all do a great job.