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E-Mail to Go

There are many different ways to receive e-mail on your handheld device. These days you can be connected to your e-mail 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, no matter where you are. Depending on what type of mobile device you have, there are several options to send and receive e-mail on the go.

If you have a Palm or Windows Mobile device, POP3 is the simplest configuration to install since it is supported on both platforms without requiring additional software. With POP3, you can have multiple computers set up to receive e-mail from the server. If you are receiving e-mail on a secondary machine, there is an option to leave messages on the server. By using this, you can receive the same messages on your primary computer without having to synchronize with the secondary computer.

IMAP is the best way to go if your e-mail hosting provider supports it and you have a Palm or Windows Mobile device. IMAP e-mail can be set up on multiple computers without the synchronization problems that occur with POP3. Because IMAP e-mail is stored on the server, you can easily save e-mail history in folders and be able to access it wherever you go. For the Palm OS, Iambic Mail ( and SnapperMail ( support IMAP. For Windows Mobile, Microsoft Pocket Outlook supports IMAP e-mail.

If you are trying to use e-mail on a PDA, you may be wondering how you can connect to the internet. If you have a Bluetooth-compatible PDA and cell phone, you can connect your PDA to your cell phone for an internet connection either through your cellular provider's data network . Most cellular service providers offer internet access for newer handsets at an additional service cost. If you are near a hotspot and your mobile device has WiFi built-in, you can connect via a wireless internet connection.

Another method made popular by the Blackberry device involves "pushing" an e-mail message to the phone. In this scenario, you will use a new e-mail address specifically for your cell phone. When this e-mail account receives a new message, the mail server will send a text message notifying you that you have new e-mail. You can then view the message with your e-mail client. With this service, you would need a corporate office with a mail server that supports Blackberrys or an outside e-mail provider.

Using e-mail on your mobile device will likely be slower than on your computer. Unlike computers, mobile devices don't have multi-gigabyte hard drives. It will also be more difficult to view e-mail attachments because of the tiny screen and more modest performance. For these reasons, it is recommended that you disable graphics for e-mail messages and do not download file attachments. Some PDA e-mail clients have options available to write e-mails in your own handwriting as opposed to inputting it with handwriting recognition.

In addition to retrieving new messages, you can often synchronize your mobile device with the e-mail client on your computer so that you will have certain settings and messages available on your mobile device at all times. Conduits for synchronization are available for most major e-mail clients.

Most cell phones are now capable of receiving e-mail messages of a few lines called SMS messages. SMS messages are just becoming more standardized between different cellular providers. SMS is mainly for quick text chat conversations and is not sufficient to replace mobile e-mail.

Although SMS is a different technology from e-mail, most cell phones can receive e-mail messages through a gateway. If you want to send a brief message to your cell phone, choose your provider below and substitute the number for your cell phone number.

AT&T Cingular Nextel Sprint PCS T-Mobile Verizon

About the author:

Deryck Richards is the founder and managing partner of Desktronix. Deryck currently manages hosting and data center operations for Desktronix. He also provides system administration and technical support directly to small businesses as he has since 2000. His areas of expertise include networking, Windows, Linux, and Macintosh systems and he is the author of The Guide to Technology for Small Business. For more information on Desktronix, visit