Nothing clever here. Just point to a phone that will work puhleeeze.
March 24, 2008 10:31 AM   Subscribe

Smartphone that plays best with Thunderbird?

I don't currently have a smartphone, but am considering it since my cell contract is ending and I may be looking at a much longer commute within the next year. I have the option to switch providers, so open to the best options.

Boring details: I'm freelance and so I work on 3 different computers: 2 PCs (XP), and my personal ibook. (OS X). The best email solution for me has been to gmail/IMAP everything so that it all syncs up on Thunderbird on each computer. Works great. I want to be able to have the same functionality that I get on my desktop Thunderbird clients on a smartphone. (The only other thing that I need to have is the phone. If it comes with anything else I will probably use it, but there is nothing else that is a dealbreaker.)

Googling around it seems like Thunderbird hardly plays nice with any smartphone, but does anyone have a personal experience of any phone being better than another?

And I'm in Canada, if that makes a difference. Thanks.
posted by typewriter to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
I'm thinking the hardware shouldn't really matter so much - unless you are trying to decide between OS (Palm, Blockberry, Windows Mobile, etc.).

It looks as if there are 3rd party tools to sync Windows Mobile with Thunderbird (Link). The linked articels talks about two apps - BirdieSync and FinchSync.

I have experience with an HTC Wizard with Windows Mobile 5. It has treated me well for the last 2 years. So, based on that experience, I recommend HTC brandaed hardware. However, I sync with Outlook so I don't have any experience there. Good luck.
posted by bwilms at 10:49 AM on March 24, 2008

Most Windows Mobile platform smartphones come with the default mail client, which works with IMAP decently (including Google's version of it). Google has special Gmail clients available for most phones with Java virtual machines, including Blackberry, Palm, and Windows Mobile. Check here to search for which platforms Google supports. Google also has a optimized web-version of Gmail for the iPhone. So there are plenty of ways to access Gmail from a smartphone, regardless of the platform. However, all the methods have drawbacks. The good news is, they are all fine for reading and writing emails; where they might fall short is with regard to such things as labeling, starring, etc., but those are probably things you can wait to do until you're back at a computer. If you're willing to wait, Google's new smartphone platform should be out by the end of the year, and I'd guess that it would have excellent compatibility with Gmail. Supposedly, Mozilla is also working on a new mobile Firefox client, so there's a possibility they may port Thunderbird over at some point as well. Also, if you are a DIYer, there are Linux-based smartphones out there, so it might be theoretically possible to run Thunderbird on one of those, although I personally don't know whether that's possible.
posted by EatenByAGrue at 10:52 AM on March 24, 2008

I use the previously mentioned FinchSync to sync the contacts from Thunderbird to my WM6 smartphone (T-Mobile Dash). Because of the way my network is set up, I use the Dash's Wi-fi capabilities and just sync on the local network, though I assume you can also set up things to sync across the Internet (possible security issue) or across the "network" created by ActiveSync. FinchSync works well enough, though be sure to set up your categories/phonebooks on Thunderbird cleanly.

I have no recommendations on how to do this on a Mac, though FinchSync is a Java app, so I assume you can get it to run on OS X.

I also use OggSync to sync up Google Calendar.
posted by chengjih at 1:12 PM on March 24, 2008

Best answer: I just noticed that OggSync has announced that the next version, 4.0, will offer some sort of sync with Google Contacts. Once all this works, you should be able to use Google as the glue for you stuff: have TBird sync up to Google through some extension; have your phone use OggSync to do the contacts and calendar.
posted by chengjih at 1:15 PM on March 24, 2008

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