Treo 650 Email – Chatter

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The one thing the Treo 650 has to do is email. It’s replacing my BlackBerry 7XXX, so it got to do email– very well. The three main functions for a smartphone are: email, phone and schedule (synced with my Mac). The last thing was impossible with the BB. The BB did email very well, it also did the phone thing very well and it sync’ed — with Outlook and our local Exchange Server. Which did me no good on the Mac. The Treo needs to do all that, plus work well as a Palm Device, that is, run the Palm apps that I’ve come to rely on, number one being SplashID.

So for email I’ve spent some time with VersaMail 3 (free with the 650, in ROM), SnapperMail ($60, Enterprise version) and finally ChatterEmail ($25).

I’m only interested in IMAP clients, as I need to be able to download only a portion of the email and am not interested in POP access. I use a Cyrus IMAP server on linux as my mail host.

Without a doubt, Chatter Email is a clear winner for a number of reasons. While it doesn’t have some of the features of SnapperMail (namely the ability to store older messages to a Storage Card) it has some amazing syncing features that keep your email on the Treo exactly the same as on your chosen IMAP Inbox (and other folders if you choose). Of all three, only Chatter tries to sync all the status types from Treo to server and vice versa (read, deleted etc…)

While Chatter needs to add some support to better utilize the higher-rez screen of the 650, it fully supports the 5 Way Nav Pad very well, and moving around the application is easy with one hand. Chatter has a mode called Sync, where it stays connected to the IMAP server all the time, and changes are propagated down to the device nearly instantly. Of course, this sucks the battery dry in a day, as it keeps the data connection to Sprint up and in use all the time. A more realistic mode is QuickSync, where Chatter will connect and sync up in a given time period, say every 30 minutes.

There are two forums (TreoCentral &MyTreo) where the Chatter author provides support, and an email list for annoucements is available at the Chatter website.