Attachment Handling in E-Mail

By Andrew Garcia  |  Posted 2008-10-16 Print this article Print

Attachment handling varied between the two applications. I found the G1 utilizes an HTML renderer that allowed me to preview (but not to save or edit) Word (.doc and .docx), Excel, PowerPoint slide shows and PDF-based documents. Unfortunately, in this rendering mode, I could not access the zoom controls, and each of the documents displayed in an overly large font that necessitated much side-to-side scrolling.

But I could only preview these documents from the Gmail client. In the regular e-mail client, although the application's security permissions listed "read email attachments" among the privileges, I found I could not save or preview any documents (although I could view or save image files).

Both mail clients lack the ability to bulk delete spam or unwanted messages. I could delete individual messages a couple of ways: I could read the message and delete from the message body, or I could press and hold on the message header to pull up an action menu from where I could issue the delete command. However, I could not highlight several messages and delete them.

The lack of full support for Exchange servers is the most obvious deficiency of the G1, but I fear it is not one that will be resolved until Android becomes a big cash cow for one company or another. Microsoft is certainly willing to license the ActiveSync Exchange technology to interested parties (as both Apple and Nokia have taken advantage of recently), but with Android, the question is, who will be willing to pay that license fee? 

Given Google's ongoing dance with the development of mobile networks and devices, I suspect it will not take the lead resolving this issue. Google has stood at arm's length in cases where it can get someone else to bear the expense of deploying networks or designing hardware. Google wants to get people online more often and drive them to Google services so they can be served Google ads. Since Google has its own e-mail service, enabling more efficient use of Exchange is not immediately to the company's benefit.

Without Google taking the lead here, I suspect ActiveSync Exchange will come to Android in a piecemeal fashion. Some smart phone hardware vendor (such as Motorola and its Symbol line of devices) will eventually want to offer an enterprise-friendly Android phone, so it will license the code from Microsoft, but I doubt we will see the capability as a standard feature on every Android-based device anytime soon.

eWEEK Labs Senior Technical Analyst Andrew Garcia can be reached at

Andrew cut his teeth as a systems administrator at the University of California, learning the ins and outs of server migration, Windows desktop management, Unix and Novell administration. After a tour of duty as a team leader for PC Magazine's Labs, Andrew turned to system integration - providing network, server, and desktop consulting services for small businesses throughout the Bay Area. With eWEEK Labs since 2003, Andrew concentrates on wireless networking technologies while moonlighting with Microsoft Windows, mobile devices and management, and unified communications. He produces product reviews, technology analysis and opinion pieces for, eWEEK magazine, and the Labs' Release Notes blog. Follow Andrew on Twitter at andrewrgarcia, or reach him by email at

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