REVIEW: Google Apps Connector for BlackBerry Enterprise Server ties together BlackBerry devices and management infrastructure with Google's for-pay e-mail services. However, in the BlackBerry's native e-mail application, Google can't offer all the services and features users have come to expect from Gmail.
The Google App Connector for BlackBerry Enterprise Server makes
Google's e-mail services a little more compelling for businesses,
allowing customers to keep using their fully managed mobile e-mail
platform with the search giant's cloud-based e-mail solution.
Tying together BlackBerry devices and management infrastructure with
Google's for-pay e-mail services, the Connector enables push e-mail,
global address lists and full synchronization of Google e-mail and
contacts--but only partial calendar sync--from the cloud to the
corresponding native applications on a company's managed BlackBerry
However, in the BlackBerry's native e-mail application, Google can't
offer all the services and features users have come to expect from
Gmail. As such, Google expects that its own mobile applications
for BlackBerry--like its Gmail client--will play a complementary role
on the mobile device going forward.
Google representatives expect that the Google Apps Connector, which
is in beta now, will be available as a free add-on to customers of
Google Apps Premier and Education Editions in July.
Mobile administrators would install the Google Apps Connector for
BES on their existing BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) for Microsoft
Exchange. Google has tested the Connector with BES for Exchange
4.16. The Connector essentially fools the BES software into
thinking it is talking to Exchange Server when it is actually
communicating with Google's e-mail servers using OAuth and Google's
sync and data protocols.
BES with the Google Apps Connector may not scale to the level that
mobile e-mail administrators have grown accustomed to with their
current e-mail infrastructure. Google says it supports only 250
users per BES server due to the architecture and memory footprint of
the Connector, although that number may grow down road as Google has
more time to evaluate performance characteristics. For now,
however, additional BES servers must be added to support more than 250
Google officials claim that other than a few initial setup steps,
the bulk of the administrative work to configure Google App accounts or
provision Google software (like Google Maps or Google Mobile App) to
BlackBerry devices is done via RIM's familiar BlackBerry Manager.
To try out an end user's experience with the Connector, Google
provided me with a BlackBerry Curve 8900 preconfigured to work with a
test Google Apps domain and BES server--both of which Google configured
and maintained. As such, I was not able to validate Google's
statements about the server-side installation, policy management or
device configuration in this test.