iPhone 3G now supports Exchange – why not SQL Server?

In a previous blog entry I indicated that I was in the market for a SmartPhone to run SQL Server 2008 Compact Edition. Well, I am now evaluating the options and as a novice consumer it's not easy. There seems to be four major players in the SmartPhone market from an OS point of view: Apple, Microsoft, Palm and Blackberry. And each cell phone service provider has its own OEM phones that limit your choices.

AT&T has the iPhone exclusively, Sprint has the Samsung Instinct, most support some sort of Blackberry or Palm device etc. One day we will be able to freely select the phone we like and the service provider that's best for us. Not now. At least now we can keep our phone number while changing service providers. We just can't keep the same phone in most cases. Of course, the iPhone 3G looks really slick and easy to use but it doesn't run Windows Mobile, so that's out (for now). Ironically, the latest iPhone includes Microsoft Exchange support through ActiveSync but unfortunately not SQL Server. See "iPhone Exchange Support; Did Microsoft Make a Mistake?" I really like the option to switch to WiFi from 3G when you hit a hotspot. So I am looking for that feature in my search of other SmartPhones. I also want Remote Desktop support so I can connect directly to my Servers back at base through RDP. That points to Windows Mobile too. There's Samsung's Ace only available from Sprint, but that only runs Windows Mobile 6.0 and I read a review recently that recommended Windows Mobile 6.1 for its new UI improvements and reliability.

So you see how I am narrowing down the search, making compromises as I go. AT&T has the Samsung Blackjack II which runs Windows Mobile 6.1 and has had some good reviews but there's no WiFi switch option. Shame. I started looking at Verizon's offerings but found out that there is no Verizon reception at my house. My house may be a hotspot but it is a blackspot from a Verizon point of view. That's another challenge when selecting a provider. I currently have Sprint service and I get "5 bars" and web access at home with a cheap Sanyo phone (it has a trick - it actually shows up to 6 bars so getting 5 bars is a snap! Who knew?). Sprint also has the "iPhone killer" - the Samsung Instinct - but that doesn't run Windows Mobile. Plus I have run into lots of "iPod killers" that have since died so I am wary of that marketing tag. It really means "doomed". Let's face it, Apple is an innovative force to be reckoned with. Read "Why Apple Will Dominate Next Gen Computing". If Microsoft technology wasn't my business, I'd buy a MacBook and iPhone and be done with it. So I took a look at Sprint's offerings and homed in on the Palm Treo 800w which supports Windows Mobile 6.1 and the WiFi switch option. It's great to see Palm open up and support other OS choices. Takes me back to my first Palm Pilot back in the 90's that started the PDA trend. The Treo looks to be my choice for now but I have until September to make my final decision when my 2 year contract runs out. That's another thing that makes this such a big decision. Committing to a new technology for 2 years is a dangerous thing. Maybe there's an iPhone SQL Server solution around the corner. Microsoft provided that for Exchange so why not? Let me know if you have the inside scoop! I will keep you updated...




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