Email on the go via Google Apps

mail-iphone Email and I have a love/hate relationship, leaning mostly towards hate.

One of the things I’ve never been able to organize effectively is access to my domain email from any device, especially mobile devices.

Email hell endured for almost an entire month when I took a stab at that earlier in the year.

Yet whether I like it or not, being email-connected from wherever you are is something I have to do even if this brings to mind an image of ‘Blackberry thumb.’ So I need to be able to get at email from wherever I happen to be in order to better meet the expectations of clients and others.

That means taking my laptop. Or does it?

The fact is that increasingly I’m out of the office with just two small devices – my Nokia N95 8GB and my iPhone.

The Nokia’s for keeping in touch via phone and SMS; the iPhone is for the apps (as I’ve said before, many times).

So if I go to a meeting, it’s not likely I need to lug the laptop nor need access to the types of apps and services I do when in the office.

Here’s my thinking:

  1. In a meeting, I don’t need the full suite of Office 2007 applications. What I’m likely to need are some documents I’ve created with those apps: a proposal or report in Word; a PowerPoint presentation; maybe an Excel spreadsheet. Etc. PDFs perhaps. My solution: Files for iPhone. This app lets me copy any file created in Office to the iPhone and access it on that device. Also image files, audio and video, and more.
  2. What about creating or editing documents? Well, I’ve never really needed to do that in meetings. If I take notes, I use a plain-text editor on the laptop. Now I do the same on the iPhone with WriteRoom. Tapping notes on the iPhone’s virtual keypad (which I love, btw) is easy and I can email those notes if I wish to.

Which brings me back to email.

Thinking about the email mess last February, I decided to approach it a little differently this time. I decided to go Google.

popimap Not the whole hog – I don’t yet have full confidence in The Cloud – just email. I already had a Google Apps account from when the service first started. Now, I’ve activated the email element and so my domain email now goes via Gmail.

I still bring all email into Outlook on the desktop, so nothing’s changed in that regard. What has changed is that I can easily access domain email on the iPhone, something I’ve not been able to do before (a lot to do with complexity of setting it up).

Domain email via Google Apps: it’s as easy as 1-2-3 to make this happen and get it working on the iPhone.

In case you’re thinking of suggesting buying a netbook as an easier way to go about all of this, I have considered that. And it may well be easier.

The reality, though, is that my laptop – a Sony Vaio SZ4XWN-C that I bought two years ago – is still an excellent portable device with a while yet of useful life. Very hard to justify buying another device at the moment. If I put on my accountant’s hat, he won’t approve the purchase :)

So I’m happy to see how my new ‘system’ works out. I reckon it’ll be good until the end of Q1 next year.

Then we’ll see.

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Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Steve Rubel

    I actually find that these days my with my iPhone I can accomplish 90% of what I need to when I am on the go. I use WriteRoom and Evernote for notes, Backpack for to-do’s and reminders and then sync the rest with Google. I even travel without a laptop if the trip is two nights or less and I don’t need to write or edit a deck.

    • neville

      You’re right out in front with experience on this, Steve. And I’m discovering what you’re learned, too, eg, accomplishing most of what you need to do on an iPhone when away from your desktop.

      I think, too, that much of what anyone can do on a mobile device such as an iPhone is as much to do with a change in mindset as it is with the device itself. So you think differently about what you want to do with such a device and how you want do it, compared to how you do things with a desktop or laptop computer.

      I wonder what things will look like in just six months from now…

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