BES/Exchange vs. POP3/IMAP Blackberry

Clients often ask about BES and synchronization of calendars and contacts between Outlook and Blackberry. One of the major issues is specifically how to synchronize calendars and contacts data between the desktop and wireless device.

There are presently 2 ways to utilize the Blackberry. The first and more traditional method is via your POP3/IMAP mailbox. Depending on your device and service provider, you set up this connection directly on your Blackberry or through a web based panel hosted by your wireless carrier.

The POP3/IMAP method is very similar to Outlook. When you download messages, you have the option to delete messages from the handheld or from the handheld and the server.

By default, connecting via your IMAP/POP3 user name and password does not provide a means of synchronizing the wireless device calendars and contacts with the data in Outlook. However, this can be accomplished using a sync tool in Outlook and similar tool on the Blackberry that reconciles data from both locations through PIM data the email server.

The second and more advanced method of connecting to the Blackberry is with BES (Blackberry Enterprise Server). BES provides a comprehensive built-in synchronization solution for messages, calendars and contacts between the wireless device and Outlook.

In order to sync, BES requires Microsoft Exchange server and only works with hosted Exchange mailboxes, not POP3/IMAP accounts.

BES/Exchange provides a nearly transparent end user experience. BES is built to sync and doesn’t require any special installation of tools or plug-ins to work properly. However, functionality comes at a price. Licensing fees for BES/Exchange are considerably more expensive than standard POP3/IMAP accounts.

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