- Google focuses more on apps for Android and Apple platforms
- Android has a few more features than Apple
- BlackBerry, Nokia, Windows Phone users should move handsets
Google Apps is designed so you can access email, contacts and calendar on any device with a web browser. That said, some devices are more compatible than others.
The Apple iPhone and iPad and Google Android phones and tablets have many more options for working with Google Apps than BlackBerrys or Windows Phones.
Android, iPhone and iPad users can enforce encryption, password, activation of devices and remote wiping without any complicated setup required using Google Apps’ in-built Mobile Device Manager.
Google Android is Google’s own mobile platform and unsurprisingly is the most compatible with Gmail and Google Apps. Setting up an Android device is a simple as logging into Android’s Gmail app with your Google Apps username and password.
Android users get bonus features such as the Google Now digital personal assistant and widgets that appear on the device’s lock screen.
The iPhone is a little different. Options for connecting to a Google Apps account include Gmail, however your email must be manually synced.
The second option is to use Exchange Activesync to connect to Google Apps. This syncs all contacts, calendar and mail automatically, without a manual request.
Blackberry is the sore point of any Google Apps implementation. The simple fact is that a lot of infrastructure is required by the business to keep them in play. Although many Blackberrys have web browsers where you can still access all the relevant services from Google Apps, its native apps are tied to systems that need a backend server to communicate with the mail server.
These are costly and difficult to manage for the normal SMB customer. There are solutions that will host your Blackberry server and connect it to Google Apps but obviously this adds to the complexity and cost.
Windows Phone users can use the Exchange Activesync connection to sync mail, contacts and calendar. IMAP is the only option for syncing email to personal Gmail accounts and older Microsoft Phone devices. Contacts and calendar syncing are not available.
Nokia users or those with older phones must use the web browser to access Google Apps or use IMAP with the inbuilt mail application.
Google’s strategy is to be compatible with the top two platforms in the mobility space. You can see this in Google’s investment in new applications and support for email and other services. Sometimes these Google apps are better to use than the in-built applications on the devices themselves. For example I prefer the iPhone Gmail app to the iPhone’s Mail app.
My advice for best practice advice would be to distribute either iPhones or Android phones to your employees when moving to Google Apps. A note to Windows Phone or Blackberry users: if you are looking to move to Google Apps you may want to look at getting a new phone.
Image credit: Google