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Mobile Email

Mobile email allows access to an account through hand-held and other portable devices.

Personal data assistants are often used for mobile email. [©Jupiter Images, 2010]
©Jupiter Images, 2010
Personal data assistants are often used for mobile email.

Mobile Email

Mobile email is a feature that is available on most cell phones and PDA devices, allowing cell phone users to access their e-mail without the need for a computer.

Most phones with mobile e-mail capabilities have an e-mail icon on the phones main menu. Phones that don't have built-in mobile e-mail features often provide access to downloadable mobile e-mail applications that are compatible with the specific mobile phone service providers' services.

Using mobile e-mail is a fairly straightforward process. Users open the mobile e-mail application on their phone and select their e-mail service provider, such as Yahoo! Mail. After doing this, users can open their e-mail inbox and read and delete messages in a process similar to retrieving e-mail on their computer.

Mobile Phone Service Providers

Phone service providers like AT&T provide access to many of the popular online e-mail service providers such as Yahoo! Mail, Windows Live Mail and AOL Mail. E-mail service from Internet service providers like Comcast and Earthlink is generally supported on newer mobile phone models.

It is important to realize that AT&T, like other phone service providers, applies standard data charges each time a user opens his or her mobile e-mail inbox to view messages. Another AT&T mobile e-mail drawback is that e-mail attachments cannot be opened.

MediaNet is AT&Ts mobile phone application portal where mobile e-mail applications can be downloaded by users. Another feature of AT&Ts mobile e-mail service is alerts for incoming e-mails that offer shortcut access to the users inbox to view the incoming e-mail. These alerts typically arrive within 30 minutes after a new e-mail is received.

AT&T offers plans that include unlimited access to e-mail for flat fees ranging from $10 to $30 per month. Users control how much e-mail is downloaded to their phone. Only e-mail subject line headers and sender names are seen by the user when viewing his or her inbox, until the user decides to open a specific message.

Mobile phone service provider Verizon offers two types of e-mail services: Verizon Wireless Service, used mostly for personal e-mail, and Wireless Sync services for smartphone or PDA (typically business) users. Wireless Sync uses push e-mail technology that allows users real-time access to personal and corporate e-mail.

Verizon's Wireless Service not only offers access to e-mail service providers like Yahoo! Mail, but they also give more technically savvy users the option of configuring their own POP3 and IMAP accounts (see glossary).

Unlike AT&T, Verizons Wireless Sync service offers PDA and smartphone users the ability to receive and open e-mail attachments. Wireless Sync also blocks unauthorized party access to a users e-mail and uses Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) technology to protect user e-mail and other data transmitted over wireless networks. For business professionals, Wireless Sync supports remote access to enterprise e-mail technologies such as Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Domino, as well as e-mail-based business workgroups software.

Mobile E-Mail Service Providers

Google offers its Gmail for Your Phone e-mail service for mobile phones. Their mobile e-mail service can be accessed in three ways: through wireless sync push Gmail, through browser-based Gmail or via a downloaded Gmail application.

For browser-based Gmail access, mobile phone browsers must be XHTML compatible (see glossary). The browser must also be able to allow SSL (Secure Sockets Language) traffic.

Google-compatible mobile phones include Googles own Android phones, Nokia Symbian operating system devices, BlackBerry phones, Apple iPhones, Palm devices and Windows Mobilecompatible devices.

To access Yahoo! Mail on a mobile phone, users need a valid Yahoo! ID, an Internet-enabled phone and mobile Internet access. Yahoo! computer e-mail users experience the same e-mail features with the Yahoo! Mobile service, including sending, receiving and searching emails; viewing e-mail attachments and managing e-mail folders. Everything that a Yahoo! Mobile user does on his or her mobile phone is automatically reflected on their computer desktop Yahoo! e-mail.

Yahoo! Mobile also offers wireless sync e-mail services for iPhone and BlackBerry smartphone devices. For BlackBerry e-mail service, users will need a Yahoo! ID, a wireless Internetenabled BlackBerry PDA and the BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS).

In 2008, Apple introduced its own subscription-based push e-mail service as a part of its iPhone, known as MobileMe mobile phone service. With a MobileMe e-mail account, all e-mail messages and folders look identical whether checking e-mail on an iPhone, a Mac or a PC. New email messages arrive instantly via push technology over the mobile network or via Wi-Fi.

Mobile E-mail Glossary

POP3 (Post Office Protocol) acts as a means of retrieving e-mail stored on a remote Web server that is typically maintained by an Internet Service Provider. POP3 e-mail clients include Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express.

IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) is another means of retrieving e-mail that's stored on a remote Web server.

XHTML (Extensible Hypertext Markup Language) is an Internet content language that configures online data for mobile devices.

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a safety protocol that allows for data encryption for data sent from one server to another.

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