Getting Google Apps to work properly on a BlackBerry smartphone has never been the easiest process. Take Gmail, for example: you could use POP or IMAP, but it won’t sync the read status of each message. That’s no big deal, until you go absolutely insane from a status light that never, ever stops blinking. Now you’re stuck using the Gmail for BlackBerry app. Want your BlackBerry to automatically sync your Google Calendar? You’ll need Google Sync.
These standalone applications may be reasonable solutions for individuals and small businesses, but installing, configuring, and managing it all just isn’t feasible for those companies with hundreds or thousands of employees all expecting their IT department to just make things work. Fortunately, the whole process is about to get a lot easier. This evening Google is announcing the upcoming availability of the Google Apps Connector for BlackBerry Enterprise Server, which allows for proper access to Gmail, Calendar, and Contacts through the default, built-in BlackBerry applications.
Once installed into any BlackBerry Enterprise Server for Microsoft Exchange box, IT managers can add users and apply policies just as they would for any other account. Google Apps Connector handles the Gmail, Calendar, and Contact syncing, and BES handles the data exactly as if it were talking to Exchange. No more going handset by handset installing and configuring all of these standalone apps.
Of course, you probably don’t care about what this means for the IT guys. Those guys are smug, smell sort of strange, and haven’t fixed that printer that’s been jammed up for two weeks. What’s in mean to you?
- Gmail with push support, offline access, read/delete sync, spam filtering, and support for archiving/stars right.
- One-way sync (GCal > BlackBerry) with Google Calendar, with support for recurring meetings and meeting notification alerts.
- Two-way sync for contacts.
All of it will roll right into the BlackBerry apps you’re already used to using, without installing and configuring a bunch of standalone apps.
Alas, this solution doesn’t come without its limitations. There are certain things that the built-in apps just can’t do, such as Gmail conversations, labels, and full search. For those, you’ll still have to turn to the Gmail application.
Google is currently beta testing Apps Connector with “select companies and universities”, with free availability to all Premier/Education customers come July.