Do-It-Yourself Wireless Email

5:30 PM -- Although there are a number of good wireless email solutions available from the likes of BlackBerry , Good Technology Inc. , Intellisync Corp. (Nasdaq: SYNC), Seven Networks Inc. , Sybase Inc. , and now Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), there are also increasing options using Internet-based services. As an exercise, I decided to see if I could build my own wireless push email solution for my Palm Treo 650.

Why “push”? Couldn’t I just let the Treo poll my POP3 Internet-hosted account every 15 minutes? Well, polling does not quite provide the real-time email experience that people sometimes desire.

Here is how I did it:

First, I created a free Yahoo account. Then I arranged, via a Web page configuration option provided by my ISP for a copy of my POP3 Internet email to be forwarded to my Yahoo email account. On my Yahoo account I configured SMS notification to be sent to my Treo 650 whenever I received an email. Then on my Treo 650 I installed a free utility called “TreoHelper” in which I enabled an SMS trigger that searches for my email address in every SMS message and if it finds it, the trigger launches the Treo VersaMail email client, which then automatically downloads my email from my POP3 email account.

So that I don’t have to actually view each SMS message, I enabled an option in TreoHelper to delete the SMS after its VersaMail launch operation. The only catch now is the volume of SMS messages. At approximately 1,000 messages per month, I would need an SMS bucket plan to bring down the SMS cost to $10/month -- otherwise I’d see a $100 SMS charge.

The solution works, though I’m still waffling on using this versus the 15 minute polling approach, as 15 minutes is almost close enough to “real time” for me. Another consideration is that polling uses a little more data and battery. Regardless, the moral of the story is that there are increasing mobile options available from Internet solutions providers to accomplish what used to require dedicated wireless infrastructure.

— Peter Rysavy is President of Rysavy Research . Special to Unstrung

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