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 email@example.com.