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Old Jan 28, 2013, 12:33 AM   #1
exi
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Mail / contacts / calendar / tasks: best all-in-one for picky users?

I'm looking for a one-stop shop for mail, contacts, calendaring, and tasks across multiple devices. But I'm picky.

What I'm doing now:

- Gmail via IMAP w/ IDLE on laptops and ActiveSync on iPhone for personal mail, but new device support via ActiveSync will be gone when I upgrade phones, so that's no good
- Google Contacts via built-in sync on OS X and CardDAV on the iPhone
- Google Calendar via web interface on laptops and ActiveSync on my phone for calendaring and tasks, but no real task support on phone without third party apps

What is ideal:

- Push support on iPhone and IDLE or Exchange available on laptop
- Updating of mail read counts on iPhone without mail being active, which iCloud does not do (basically requires ActiveSync as far as I can tell)
- Not spread across services (as in contacts/calendar on one service, mail on another)

All I'm coming up with is:

1. Paying for hosted Exchange for personal use and having to get my own domain name -- maybe overkill
2. Going with iCloud and not having read status sync in the "background" on the phone as ActiveSync accounts would

Simpler is better. Any Exchange suggestions or other service ideas?

Last edited by exi; Jan 28, 2013 at 12:40 AM.
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Old Jan 28, 2013, 12:42 AM   #2
kjs862
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Between icloud and Dropbox I'm covered.
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Old Jan 28, 2013, 12:42 PM   #3
exi
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Between icloud and Dropbox I'm covered.
Thank you -- thinking about going to that. Would just like the read status updating thing.

Any other thoughts?
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Old Jan 28, 2013, 12:53 PM   #4
BlendedFrog
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Thank you -- thinking about going to that. Would just like the read status updating thing.

Any other thoughts?
When it works correctly (has had some issues as of late) outlook and live email does EAS on iphone. Any outlook.com or live.com will work.
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Old Jan 28, 2013, 01:02 PM   #5
exi
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When it works correctly (has had some issues as of late) outlook and live email does EAS on iphone. Any outlook.com or live.com will work.
Thought about that, but is outlook.com still POP only on the desktop?
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Old Jan 28, 2013, 01:05 PM   #6
BlendedFrog
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Thought about that, but is outlook.com still POP only on the desktop?
I believe it is imap when using either office 2011 or mail.app. I don't use a desktop app so I really am not sure. Between webmail, my ipad and iphone I am always covered on email.
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Old Jan 28, 2013, 03:09 PM   #7
kjs862
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Thank you -- thinking about going to that. Would just like the read status updating thing.

Any other thoughts?
Just a really simple clean setup. I know apple isn't going away anytime soon and I put my faith in the company.

Even with all the bad or has apple lately, at the end of the day, apple puts the so on my computer. I like that. If google had a solid desktop os I would go with them but they don't.

Apple is my home.
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Old Jan 28, 2013, 03:36 PM   #8
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Just a really simple clean setup. I know apple isn't going away anytime soon and I put my faith in the company.

Even with all the bad or has apple lately, at the end of the day, apple puts the so on my computer. I like that. If google had a solid desktop os I would go with them but they don't.

Apple is my home.
That is great and all but how does that help when it comes to an all-in-one pim solution?
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Old Jan 30, 2013, 10:56 PM   #9
exi
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I haven't made the jump to hosted Exchange yet, but what I HAVE done is import all of my contacts, calendars, and tasks/reminders into iCloud from Google to give that setup a field test since I was so used to GCal+Tasks being so quick to use.

So essentially, all I've got left with Google is my use of Reader for a bunch of RSS feeds and a couple of email addresses.
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Old Feb 1, 2013, 08:01 PM   #10
exi
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Annnnd I'm not much of a fan of the flaky background handling of reminders as tasks on Mountain Lion / iOS.

Anyone have any suggestions other than me registering a domain and getting a hosted Exchange account?
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Old Feb 2, 2013, 09:16 AM   #11
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Annnnd I'm not much of a fan of the flaky background handling of reminders as tasks on Mountain Lion / iOS.

Anyone have any suggestions other than me registering a domain and getting a hosted Exchange account?
Exchange is the only alternate way that I know of to sync the Mac's Reminders app. You could go web-based with a separate account at Outlook.com just for Reminders.
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Old Feb 5, 2013, 10:35 PM   #12
exi
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Exchange is the only alternate way that I know of to sync the Mac's Reminders app. You could go web-based with a separate account at Outlook.com just for Reminders.
Speaking of outlook.com, I'm at the point where the lack of background updating of read status and the blocking of icloud.com by my institution's network is making me think about migrating over.

Seems to me it's basically:

iCloud, though icloud.com is currently blocked by my institution:
+ Apple-made for Apple software
+ Full Contacts field compatibility (no email field label limitations, etc)
+ Push email on iPhone
+ IMAP IDLE on desktop
+ Clean web interface
- Does not update read status on iPhone in background
- File syncing under iWork limited to Apple formats without little tricks(?)
- Apple can theoretically access any info stored there as mentioned by Ars

Outlook.com, not yet blocked by my institution:
+ Accessible via EAS on iPhone
+ Being EAS, everything is push
+ SkyDrive integration is a nice perk
+ Clean, appealing interface
- No IMAP support (yet?)
- Contacts entries are subject to field limitations when synced to iOS

Google:
+ On calendar, events AND tasks appear side-by-side
+ CardDAV great for Contacts in iOS
+ IMAP IDLE on desktop
+/- Tasks cannot sync/map to Reminders on iOS, but much prefer their calendar integration over other services
- Discontinued EAS for new devices outside of WP, and WP later
- No push email on iOS without using already-set EAS,
- Older, less appealing (to me) web interface
- The whole privacy/ad thing

Hosted, third-party Exchange:
+ Fully EAS
+ Exchange access on desktop with OWA
+ Being Exchange, sync / access / push / etc. issues do not apply
- Contacts field limitations in iOS
- Must purchase and maintain own domain
- Small fee annually for Exchange account

Last edited by exi; Feb 5, 2013 at 10:49 PM.
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Old Feb 6, 2013, 11:24 AM   #13
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Really good comparison list.

I thinking Outlook.com won't add IMAP. They're using something called "DeltaSync" as well as EAS. The new Outlook 2013 for Windows has added EAS. The Windows 8 built-in Mail app can sync to Outlook.com. I'd be surprised if they add it to the next Mac version of Outlook. It seems to be their version of iCloud.
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Old Feb 8, 2013, 03:45 AM   #14
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I'm in the same situation as you OP, mostly. I guess I'm one step further in that I've already registered my own domain and have been playing around with different solutions.

I really like that comparison list you've got, quite honestly I'd be happy with EAS if only the Contacts sync issue were solved. I guess this is a limitation of the ActiveSync protocol for syncing contacts in general?

I tried going all iCloud for a while but being that I use both PCs and Macs it's really not great using iCloud stuff on the PC.

Something I'd like to add: in a way, you can get push email on iOS without ActiveSync, you just need to be using Google's GMail app.
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Old Feb 9, 2013, 04:39 AM   #15
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Appreciate it! That's really tempting. I'm between doing that, moving everything over to hosted Exchange, moving everything to outlook.com, or splitting services which is what I'm trying to avoid.

I assume GApps handles tasks and lack of syncing of them in the same way that the free version does?
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Old Feb 9, 2013, 05:00 AM   #16
DarkJaye
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Yeah, Tasks still don't sync with Reminders. So that's one downside. I'm not a huge user of the Tasks/Reminders feature to begin with so for me it doesn't have much impact.
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Old Feb 9, 2013, 12:37 PM   #17
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DarkJaye...what are you using to read your mail on your computer?

I've got the "grandfathered" version of Google Apps (two domains) and use a mix "GoTasks" (syncing with Google Tasks) and Reminders on the iPhone.
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Old Feb 10, 2013, 05:08 PM   #18
DarkJaye
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Primarily just a pinned Gmail tab in Google Chrome, however, I have Outlook installed for my work email and after installing the Google Apps Sync tool, I can use Outlook to read my Gmail as well.

I've never really been happy with any Windows mail client except for Outlook, especially when interacting with Gmail.

The problem with the grandfathered free version of Google Apps (I also had one from long ago but with a domain I don't really use anymore) is that Google Apps Sync is not offered (so that rules out the nice Outlook integration) and also if you want to use Exchange they are now limiting that to paid Google Apps only as well.

So either way if you want Outlook integration and Exchange ActiveSync, you're going to need to pay -- whether you pay for Google Apps or just a standard third-party hosted exchange solution.

edit: I should clarify that my primary computer is Windows, not OS X, so I'm unsure if Google Apps Sync works with Outlook for Mac. If I were on OS X I'd probably stick to the default Mail application for email which I like well enough.
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Old Feb 10, 2013, 07:36 PM   #19
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Primarily just a pinned Gmail tab in Google Chrome, however, I have Outlook installed for my work email and after installing the Google Apps Sync tool, I can use Outlook to read my Gmail as well.

I've never really been happy with any Windows mail client except for Outlook, especially when interacting with Gmail.

The problem with the grandfathered free version of Google Apps (I also had one from long ago but with a domain I don't really use anymore) is that Google Apps Sync is not offered (so that rules out the nice Outlook integration) and also if you want to use Exchange they are now limiting that to paid Google Apps only as well.

So either way if you want Outlook integration and Exchange ActiveSync, you're going to need to pay -- whether you pay for Google Apps or just a standard third-party hosted exchange solution.

edit: I should clarify that my primary computer is Windows, not OS X, so I'm unsure if Google Apps Sync works with Outlook for Mac. If I were on OS X I'd probably stick to the default Mail application for email which I like well enough.
Yeah, I don't know what I'll do when I get my next iOS device. I use Google Voice quite a bit. May have to upgrade to a paid account...not that big a deal.

Perhaps someone will make a jailbreak tweak that opens Mail when you touch a Gmail app notification.
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