A little while ago Isode sponsored a joint meeting of the Internet Engineering Task Force's 'LEMONADE' group and the Open Mobile Alliance. Both of these groups are looking at architectures to support mobile email (email on phones, PDA's etc) and are approaching the issue from slightly different angles. After sitting in on the meeting we think that convergence of these two approaches is both desirable and possible and have written a whitepaper outlining our thoughts.
Isode's interest in mobile email centres around our wish to offer an open standards approach to mobile email that competes effectively with the proprietary solutions currently on offer (most notoriously from RIM with their Blackberry devices). In an Open Standards world services like (and superior to) those offered by these proprietary vendors would be available from service providers feeding messages to a wide range of standard handsets running their own choice of email client.
Whilst we've designed M-Box to take advantage of upcoming LEMONADE features like 'forward without download' we've also been looking at how realistic it is to offer such service now and have been pleasantly surprised by what we have found. IMAP has always been recognised as the correct protocol for mobile email access but the real stumbling block has been the lack of decent clients that the user could load onto their mobile device and which would give them a good user experience, as the client shipped with the device would almost certainly not.
We don't think this is an issue any more, with really good clients available for Symbian and Windows Mobile smart-phones, Windows PDAs, Palm devices and other mobile hardware.
We'll be posting about these separately over the next week.