Using Exchange Third-Party Apps on Android
Although Exchange is now supported by default on Android, the support is limited at best and there's an ongoing process of improvement. Naturally, there are third-party developers that are ready to fill the ‘void’ and aim to offer a more robust Microsoft Exchange experience for Android. Here is an overview of the most notable offerings currently available:
Touchdown is the most logical option for those that are looking for decent and extensive Exchange support. The app comes in various flavors and is available for newer (Android 2.0 and above) as well as older (the pre-2.0 Android era) devices. An HD version is also available for Android tablet devices.
Touchdown, which is developed by ‘Nitro Desk Inc.’, was created to suit the corporate environment and its features are therefore specifically developed to please this target market. Where the default Exchange support in Android is still a bit of a bonus and not fully developed, Touchdown goes beyond all that. Although the purchase price of $20 might seem a bit hefty at first, it is a no-brainer for intensive Android Exchange users. The app allows for multiple account synchronization as well, so that you can configure all your Exchange addresses from within one application.
Moxier Mail is another strong contender and also offers much better Exchange support as compared to the default Android configurations. The most notable features here are a slick interface, syncing of tasks and notes, a widget and support for the latest Exchange protocols (which include Exchange 2010 servers). Just like Touchdown, Moxier Mail is priced at $20, which may or may not be worth it for you, depending on how dependent you are on Exchange.
Both Touchdown and Moxier Mail are excellent alternatives for the default Exchange support and go much further than the default offering. Both apps also have trial versions so you can try them for yourself and see which one you like best. Other alternatives that offer Exchange support are ‘K9 Mail’, ‘RoadSync’ or ‘Maildroid’ and although also very capable, they offer a more all-round feature set. As such they might be a bit more suitable for ‘casual’ Exchange users.
Whether you want to use the default Android feature or dig in deeper with Touchdown or Moxier mail, Microsoft Exchange is a very real and very well supported format on Android. Although the Microsoft-developed Windows Phone 7 might seem the obvious choice for Exchange, even the most demanding users of the protocol will agree that with the help of third-party applications the Android platform stands its ground.
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