Sunday, September 30, 2007
I set up RemoMail on my phone today. Since I got the new Motorola SLVR a while ago, I've been looking around at reasonably affordable and workable ways to read e-mail on the phone. The Mobile Web 2.0 service for which I'm paying Verizon $5/month allows you to check HotMail, AOL, and Yahoo mail pretty easily. I do have a Yahoo account, but I get about 100 spam e-mails per day to that account, and only about 80% of them get filtered properly, so I pretty much gave up on that account. I've also got a HotMail account, but I really don't use that one either. I do use Gmail, and you can check that from Mobile Web by just going to the Gmail site, but it's pretty ugly.

There are a few other ways to check e-mail on the SLVR. One would be to use Verizon's wireless sync software, which looks nice but costs $20/month. RemoMail, on the other hand, only costs $2/month, which is a bit more reasonable.

I looked around for reviews of RemoMail this morning, and I found a few things, but nothing really detailed, so I thought I'd write some stuff up, in case anyone else is interested. First, I should say that everything I write here is specific to RemoMail on the SLVR, via Verizon's "Get It Now" function. It may look and/or behave differently on other phones. That said, here are some observations.

RemoMail allows you to configure up to 7 e-mail accounts. (I've seen indications that other versions of the software allow either 5 or 10 accounts, but the help file for mine states 7.) It can access your mail via POP or IMAP. It also has an interesting feature that allows you to access Domino or Exchange e-mail via what appears to be screen-scraping from the web interface for either product. It has setup options for a number of standard e-mail services (Gmail, AOL, Yahoo, etc), but it seems like these are just consolidating some of the standard things you'd need to fill in for POP access -- it's not actually doing anything different to access, say, Gmail, vs any other POP mail account.

I've set up three e-mail accounts in RemoMail. The first would be my Gmail account. I'm not really enthusiastic about the way this works -- it's just standard POP access, so you get everything that comes in to the mailbox. Even if you've moved something out of your inbox on the web, you'll still see it on RemoMail.

I also set up my .Mac account, using the IMAP option. This works well, since I keep my inbox pretty clean on .Mac, and that's all IMAP is going to look at, unless you tell it to look at another folder.

I set up my work Lotus Domino e-mail account too, and that seems to work well. I mentioned above that the program uses an interesting way to pick up Domino mail. Rather than trying to get to it through IMAP or POP, it instead asks for the URL for your webmail site, and gets to it that way. That's probably a good workaround for people who don't have much control over their Domino server -- most admins will have enabled webmail, but they might not enable IMAP or POP. (I checked the server log on my Domino server, and the program doesn't seem to do anything crazy when it attaches to the webmail page. It just logs on as a user would and apparently parses some info out of the page that comes back.)

RemoMail is not a push e-mail solution; you have to launch the application, and check each of your e-mail accounts separately. Also, it does not appear to store any mail on your device between program sessions. So, basically, this is just a solution for doing a quick scan of your e-mail remotely, and maybe sending some quick replies. When you check an account, the program goes online and pulls down headers for 5 messages. (I think this is configurable from 3 to 10, assuming I understand the options screen correctly.) Then, you can select any individual e-mail and pull down the body text. You can't download or view attachments, and you can only get "100 lines" of text, according to the RemoMail FAQ. The e-mail body is displayed in a nice readable font. There's no support for HTML e-mail, but it seems to do an OK job of displaying the text from an HTML message.

Overall, I'd say it's a good program for occasional use, just to take a quick scan through your e-mail and see if there are any fires you need to put out.


posted by Unknown 8:19 PM

I am having trouble setting up this account with my corporate and yahoo accounts on my LG Voyager. I keep getting "login failed" message. At first I thought it was my corporate account not working (Domino Lotus Notes Vs 7), but when I tried Yahoo, it didn't work either. Any pointers?
I don't know... I've had the best luck setting stuff up as IMAP. If you're using a Yahoo-specific entry (either Yahoo POP or Yahoo web), and it doesn't work, try IMAP. Actually, I'm not sure if Yahoo supports IMAP, though I think they do. (Google Mail does.)
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