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Understanding Mobile Phones

Applies to: Exchange Server 2010

Topic Last Modified: 2009-12-09

Mobile phones that are enabled for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync let users access most of their Microsoft Exchange mailbox data any time, anywhere. There are many different devices enabled for Exchange ActiveSync. These include Windows Mobile phones, Nokia mobile phones, and Palm mobile phones. This topic provides an overview of these mobile phones.

Although there are several non-phone devices that support Exchange ActiveSync, in most Exchange ActiveSync documentation, these devices are referred to as mobile phones. Unless the feature or features we're discussing require a cellular telephone signal, such as SMS message notification, the term mobile phone means both mobile phone and mobile device.

Exchange ActiveSync is a communications protocol that enables mobile access, over the air, to e-mail messages, scheduling data, contacts, and tasks. Exchange ActiveSync is available on Windows Mobile phones and third-party phones that are enabled for Exchange ActiveSync.

Exchange ActiveSync offers Direct Push technology. Direct Push uses an encrypted HTTPS connection that's established and maintained between the phone and the server to push new e-mail messages and other Exchange data to the phone.

To use Direct Push with Microsoft Exchange Server 2010, your users must have a Windows Mobile phone or a phone with another mobile operating system that's designed to support Direct Push.

Exchange ActiveSync provides access to many different features. These features enable you to enforce security policies on mobile phones. By using Exchange 2010, you can configure multiple Exchange ActiveSync policies and control which phones can synchronize with your Exchange server. Exchange ActiveSync enables you to send a remote device wipe command that wipes all data from a mobile phone in case that phone is lost or stolen. Users can also initiate a remote device wipe from Outlook Web App.

Exchange ActiveSync allows users to generate a recovery password. This recovery password is saved on the mobile phone and is used when a user forgets their password. The user generates the recovery password at the same time that they generate the device password or PIN. This recovery password can be used to unlock the phone. Immediately after this recovery password is used, the user will be required to create a new PIN.

Users can take advantage of the features offered by Exchange ActiveSync by selecting mobile phones that are compatible with Exchange ActiveSync. These phones are available from many manufacturers. For more information, see the documentation for the phone you're considering.

Mobile phones that are compatible with Microsoft Exchange include the following:

  • Apple   The Apple iPhone offers Exchange ActiveSync functionality. Users can configure an Exchange ActiveSync account on their Apple iPhone and synchronize e-mail, calendar, and contact data. When a user uses the Apple iPhone to synchronize e-mail messages, all e-mail messages in their inbox are synchronized to the iPhone. Users can't limit the synchronization to only 3 days of e-mail messages as they can with other phones. The iPhone is compatible with Exchange ActiveSync version 2.5 and doesn't support all the features included with Exchange ActiveSync for Exchange 2010. Specifically, the Apple iPhone supports only the following policies:
    • Remote wipe
    • Enforce password on device
    • Minimum password length
    • Require alphanumeric password
    • Require complex password
    • Inactivity time lockout
  • Nokia   Nokia offers Mail for Exchange on their Eseries mobile phones. E-mail, calendar, and contact data can be synchronized over a cellular network or a wireless LAN.
  • Sony Ericsson   Sony Ericsson offers Exchange ActiveSync support on several of their newer smartphones. They also support Direct Push through a third-party program.
  • Palm   Palm offers several Windows Mobile phones.
  • Motorola   Motorola has its own synchronization framework that enables over-the-air synchronization through Exchange ActiveSync on many its devices.
  • Symbian   Symbian Limited licenses Exchange ActiveSync for use in the Symbian operating system. This operating system is an open standard operating system for mobile telephones.

Mobile phones that have a version of Windows Mobile software as their operating system offer the greatest functionality when synchronizing with Exchange 2010. The following table shows some features that are available with the different versions of Windows Mobile software.

Windows Mobile software feature matrix

Operating system Productivity enhancements Security enhancements Administration enhancements

Windows Mobile 6 and later versions

  • Direct Push
  • HTML e-mail support
  • Message flags
  • Quick message retrieval
  • Enhanced calendar views
  • Meeting attendee information
  • Ability to send auto-replies when you're away, on vacation, or out of the office
  • Exchange search
  • Windows SharePoint Services and Windows file share (UNC) document access
  • Enforcement of Exchange ActiveSync mailbox policies
  • Remote device wipe
  • Certificate-based authentication
  • S/MIME support
  • Device storage card encryption
  • Rights management support
  • Detailed device monitoring
  • Error reporting

For more information about how to manage Windows Mobile phones, visit the Windows Mobile Center Web site

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