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Chatter Email for Treo 650 Review

April 5, 2005

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I’ve long felt that the available e-mail options on the Palm OS devices was far and away better than what was available for Pocket PC, although I’ve never really figured out why.  This still seems to be the case on the Treo.

For me, E-mail is one of the real killer connected PDA applications, and one of the main reasons I want to have PDA functionality in an internet-capable phone.

I’ve been playing with Chatter Email on the Treo 650 for about a month, and I absolutely love it.  In fact, it’s a substantial part of what I love ABOUT the Treo 650.

“Push” E-mail (don’t call the server, the server will call you) is one of the killer Blackberry features, and Chatter does an excellent job of emulating that on the Treo.  The advantage of “Push” e-mail is that you don’t check your messages every X number of minutes; instead, when a message arrives in your inbox, you’re immediately alerted to it.

Of course, you need the right mail server.  Absent the proprietary Blackberry system, Chatter takes advantage of an IMAP feature called “Idle”, which lets a mail client stay connected to the mail server and get updates when new messages come in.  Although Chatter will now do POP3 e-mail (a slightly older and less feature-laden protocol than IMAP), if your mail server does not do IMAP and support the idle feature, you’re not going to get “Push” e-mail.

Luckily, the mail server I use (Mailblocks) supports IMAP Idle nicely, and I’ve got both my desktop and the Treo using it without problems.

Chatter also handles IMAP server folders nicely, allowing you to add whichever folders you want to follow on your Treo, and ignore the rest. 

Your outgoing mail is sent via SMTP, and Chatter supports a variety of options, including SMTP Auth and SSL.

Thus far, the only disappointment I’ve had with Chatter is that it won’t store messages and attachments on the SD card, but development on that feature appears to be well underway, and it’s available in current betas if you’re feeling adventurous enough to try one.

Given the many reports of instability in the Treo’s built-in mail client, and the cost of some of the other packages (Snapper, which I also like a lot, costs north of $50 if you want IMAP support), Chatter is a wonderful bargain at $32. 

There’s also a generous 30 day full-featured trial so you can decide if Chatter is for you.

Give it a try—I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Link to ChatterEmail

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Comments

2 Responses to “Chatter Email for Treo 650 Review”

  1. Keith Evans on September 7th, 2005 3:37 pm

    Chuck,

    Thanks for he review on the chatter email. I’m in the process of deciding to get a Treo 650. I currently have a blackberry (which I’m growing to hate only because of the nextel service I have). My wife who works for herself likes the email function of the blackberry (I was against being THAT connected, but now can’t understand what I was so worried about). Anyway, the biggest problem for my wife with her blackberry is that when she gets her email and responds to it, she STILL has to go to her account and delete and move stuff to files.

    Is this not the case with Chatter mail? Also, her account (mine as well), are sbcglobal accounts, so I’m assuming it’s POP3 and shouldn’t be a problem. I’m not familiar with IMAP and would appreciate some info on those types of accounts and who may provide them. I believe sbcglobal provides IMAP service.

    Anyway, thanks in advance.

  2. Chuck Lawson on September 7th, 2005 4:13 pm

    Hi Keith;

    The main difference between IMAP and POP3 is that with POP3 the messages are downloaded to your device (desktop, handheld, etc.), and removed from the server. With IMAP, the messages remain on the server until you delete them or move them to a local folder on some device or another.

    This means that IMAP requires a little more housekeeping (you can’t just leave a year or two’s worth of mail on the server, particularly if you have a size quota on the account), but it makes life much, much easier for using multiple devices — I can read my mail on my notebook (Mac), my desktop (XP), my Treo, or a webmail interface on someone else’s machine.

    Regardless of where I read the mail from, everything is up-to-date everywhere — a message I’ve read will show as having been read regardless of what machine I use to check my mail next, a message that’s been deleted will be deleted everywhere, a message that’s been sent will be in my sent mail folder everywhere, etc.

    For me it’s much more convenient. The only messages I can’t see everywhere are the ones that I’ve decided to move off the server, and archive on one of my local machines (something I do every few weeks or months).

    Hope that helps!

    – Chuck

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