iPhone vs Windows Mobile part 3: Mail

So, I wrote an UPDATE column (URL forthcoming) on the good and bad of using an iPhone with an Exchange server. I was limited by space there, so consider this article a sidebar that goes in to more detail on specific things i liked, and disliked, about the iPhone+Exchange mail experience compared to the iPhone+IMAP one.

  • The iPhone doesn’t expunge deleted messages properly. This is so 1985. There’s absolutely no excuse for Apple to have bobbled this, and I certainly hope they fix it soon (although there are workarounds).
  • It’s wonderful to not have to worry about how much storage space to allocate to mail. With 8GB of space on the phone, I can easily have the full contents of my primary accounts, with subfolders. On the other hand, there’s no way to specify which folders you want to sync. I’ll call this one a tie.
  • There’s no search tool on the iPhone– at all! If you don’t know exactly which message you want, too bad. You also can’t search across applications, something I miss in both WM and the iPhone after using it on Palm OS. By contrast, WM6 has the ability to use the server-side search catalog that Exchange maintains, and you can easily pull messages with search hits down to your device. Advantage: WM6.
  • It’s much easier to navigate between folders and accounts on WM6. The iPhone requires multiple screen taps, and there’s no way to collapse folders. Advantage: WM6.
  • The iPhone doesn’t do multiple selection, so you can’t delete or move messages en masse.
  • no flagging on the iPhone. In fact, almost none of the message metadata you’d expect to be preserved (like forwarded/replied-to) is preserved. Only read/unread status is kept.
  • The iPhone screen makes reading most HTML mail a pleasure. The rendering is quite good overall. Viagra spam has never looked so crisp or appealing.
  • You can choose to check your accounts manually, or at intervals of 15, 30, or 60 minutes. That’s it. No separate schedules for separate accounts, and no other intervals. Big advantage WM6.
  • The iPhone has limited support for reading Word and PDF attachments, but you can’t edit or create them. Big advantage: WM6.

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