Getting Email on a BlackBerry

by Dave Peiser

When my clients tell me they want to get real-time email delivered to their phone or PDA, the one and only product I recommend is the BlackBerry. Why? The BlackBerry is just light-years ahead of other products with both the user interface for managing email and with the technology for delivering the email to their devices. Add to that a well thought out “back-end” software platform for managing anything from one to thousands of devices.

The following is a summary of what is available, regarding synchronizing email, as well as contacts, calendar and other organizer info when using a Blackberry:

1. You use Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express, and email comes in using a “POP3” type connection. Or you get your email online with Yahoo! or Gmail. Or you don’t currently have an email account, or want a new account just for Blackberry-delivered email.

This is the easiest setup to do, and many business owners should be able to get this done without an IT guy like me.

What’s available?

  • Wireless email via the BlackBerry Internet Service – email is sent to the BlackBerry in parallel with the email being sent to Outlook. So the email you receive on your BlackBerry also shows up in Outlook. You can receive and reply to emails, but the replies do not make it back into Outlook.
  • Synchronization of your inbox, sent items and deleted items with Yahoo! email accounts.
  • Full synchronization via a usb cable connection: Using a cable to connect the BlackBerry to your PC, plus BlackBerry Desktop Software, your email, contacts, calendar, memos and tasks synchronize with Outlook. You can also transfer files between your BlackBerry and PC.

2. You use Microsoft Outlook, and email comes into Outlook using a Microsoft Exchange Server.

What’s available?

  • You can sync email, contacts, calendar, memos and tasks wirelessly. Smaller businesses (up to 30 users) can use BlackBerry Professional Software (previously called “BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express”), and there is no cost for one user. There is a charge for additional users.  With over 30 users you need to use a program called BlackBerry Enterprise Server. These programs are very similar in capabilities. Here is a link to a comparison of BlackBerry products. Both of these programs need to be installed on a Windows server (2000 or 2003). With up to 10 users you can put it on your Exchange server. Ideally, it should be installed on a separate server from the Exchange server.
  • Optionally, a program can be loaded onto users’ PCs that allows them to customize the synchronization settings.