More on the Exchange SP2 Preview :
Microsoft last week released a preview of the forthcoming Exchange Server update that will push e-mail directly from the e-mail server to Windows Mobile devices.
The technology will let Windows Mobile device users have the same e-mail user experience available on devices such as the BlackBerry from Research in Motion (RIM), says John Starkweather, group product manager for the mobile and embedded devices team at Microsoft.
The new direct push technology will come in a community technology preview (CTP) of Exchange Server 2003 Service Pack 2, with the full version of SP2 to be available before year-end, says Martha DeAmicis, product manager for Microsoft’s Exchange Server Group.
The push technology no longer relies on Short Message Service to notify a Windows Mobile device to retrieve e-mail from an Exchange server, Starkweather says. Instead, it sends e-mail directly from Exchange to Windows Mobile devices, giving users a faster and more efficient way of retrieving e-mail messages from Exchange. RIM requires the use of middleware on top of Exchange to let messages be sent directly to BlackBerry devices, which costs businesses and end users extra license fees and requires more resources to implement and maintain. "With Windows Mobile, you can talk direct from Exchange to a mobile device with no server and no [extra] cost," Starkweather says.
One caveat with the new Exchange e-mail push technology is that it’s dependent upon the inclusion of the Windows Mobile 5.0 Messaging and Security Feature Pack on devices. An early version of this software is in the hands of OEMs that make Windows Mobile devices, but devices that come with the technology preinstalled will not ship until early next year, Starkweather says. However, customers will be able to buy Windows Mobile devices that can download the messaging and security feature pack starting around November.
New security features in SP2 also will enhance the mobile e-mail experience, DeAmicis says. One of those is Web-based remote wiping of applications and e-mails on a device in case it should get lost or stolen. Other enhancements in the Exchange Server 2003 SP2 CTP include spam protection improvements, such as an intelligent spam message filter, and support for Sender ID, a technology that helps companies understand where e-mail is generated in order to block phishing scams. The Exchange Server 2003 SP2 CTP also will include a Mailbox Fundamentals feature with improvements to the way public e-mail folders can be managed and tracked, as well as an increase in the storage limit for Exchange Standard Edition customers, DeAmicis says