We were very surprised to see Gmail announce last week that they’ll soon end support for Exchange ActiveSync (EAS), unless of course you’re willing to pay Google for your email. It means that many people currently using Gmail for free are facing a situation where they might have to degrade their mobile email experience by downgrading to an older protocol that doesn’t sync your calendar or contacts, doesn’t give you direct push of new email messages and doesn’t have all the benefits of Exchange ActiveSync.
So if you want a better email, especially on your phone or tablet, it’s time to join the millions who have already made the choice to upgrade to Outlook.com.
To learn more about how to get started with Outlook.com,
check out the technical spec for Exchange ActiveSync in Exchange 2013 just follow these simple steps:
- Sign up for a new Outlook.com account. If you already have a Hotmail address or other Microsoft account, you can upgrade to Outlook.com without changing your email address. Just sign in to Hotmail, click Options, and then click Upgrade to Outlook.com.
- Tell Gmail to forward your mail to Outlook.com as it arrives. You can also keep a copy in your Gmail inbox if you want to.
- Link your Gmail contacts to Outlook. (Optional)
To learn more about setting up Outlook.com on your mobile device, see our simple instructions here.
For those still on the fence, a quick introduction to why EAS is so important for a seamless experience across devices could be helpful. There are many protocols for sending and receiving email. POP and IMAP were designed decades ago, were considered state-of-the-art at the time, and are still used by millions of people. Both were created before mobile phones really even existed. To have a great email experience in 2012, a protocol needs to do more than just send and receive messages on a PC. It needs to work really well on a variety of mobile devices, to sync not only email but also your calendar and contacts, to do this automatically, and in a way that preserves battery life.
Exchange ActiveSync was first introduced in 2002 as a way to help you have a great mobile email experience. Since then, it has continued to improve, with a number of optimizations specifically for mobile devices, including tablets:
- Designed around Direct Push of information so a device can be updated in near real-time when an email is received – so you can get notified when there’s new email instead of having to constantly check manually.
- Unlike IMAP or POP, EAS also syncs calendars and contacts.
- Setup is much easier because EAS supports AutoDiscover so you don’t have to remember and type server names; instead, you simply type in an email address and password to set up a new device over-the-air.
- Built with bandwidth and battery life as key design considerations; for example, sync requests are bundled for all folder syncs in order to optimize the amount of battery required
You can read more about these innovations and a whole host of other nitty-gritty details in the history of Exchange ActiveSync. It’s because of these advanced consumer benefits that many devices choose to natively support Exchange ActiveSync-whether that’s a Windows Phone, iPhone, iPad, or even a number of Android devices. You can see more detail in this chart of some of the other devices that support EAS.
We hope you have a wonderful winter holiday. As you enter the New Year, we encourage you to seize the opportunity to upgrade your mail to a service that puts the consumer first and gives you a great mobile email experience.
–Dharmesh Mehta, Senior Director, Product Management