Google’s Android mobile operating system has been on the fast track to success, as well as on the fast track to new features and improved functionality. One area where Android once struggled but now excels — both in mobile phone and tablet implementation — is its support of Exchange ActiveSync accounts.
Google’s Android devices use the same base version of Froyo whether they are tablets or mobile phones. For this reason, the ease of use with which one can setup push email via Exchange ActiveSync on a phone is exactly the same as how they would do it on a tablet. And that’s a good thing, because Google’s phones have been making the process easy and seamless for a while now. No one would expect any different on the new line of tablets being released.
It is worth noting, however, that Google’s devices are not uniform in interface or design. For this reason, though the featureset is identical no matter what device Android runs on, the actual interface may vary between manufacturers. These manufacturers often overlay their own proprietary user interface on top of Android, and this helps them promote their brand with unique visual cues and special emphasis on certain features of the operating system over others. Users should always use an Android tablet before purchasing it in order to get the hang of these unique interfaces.
Coming back to Exchange ActiveSync integration, users can use a built-in setup wizard that simply asks for their Exchange account username and password. Once this information is entered correctly, Android automatically detects which services the user currently interacts with (email, calendar, and/or contacts) and displays a list of options relating to each. Tablet users, like mobile phone users, can select whether or not to select each piece of information; after a brief time during which the operating system downloads the information, it is then synced seamlessly into the Android Email application, the People application (for contacts), and the Android Calendar.
Any updates to information after the initial sync are automatically sent to the device via so-called “push” syncing. As well, updates are automatically synced back to the Exchange server via Android should any changes be made on the device. Android Email does a great job of pushing emails almost instantaneously and has received glowing reviews for its performance in this area.
Often thought of as a consumer operating system, Android’s Exchange ActiveSync implementation is solid and gets better with each new Android version. In fact, its calendar sync outshines Microsoft’s own implementation on its recently-released Windows Phone 7. Android is not to be taken lightly, nor should it be used lightly. Its robust ActiveSync features make sure of that.