Android and Google Apps2/1/2009
Google has a hit on their hands. Google Apps is popular with small businesses and personal users (they claim more than 100,000 accounts), and now with Android we can get great email hosting, push email, calendaring and automatic over-the-air synchronization for free.
That's a pretty great combination for small businesses and personal users. Until recently the big name has been Blackberry. Of course, that requires the enterprise server and presumably Microsoft Exchange. It's not something your average person can setup. But it's an easier sell to pickup a cool new G1 and get the same capabilities on the cheap.
All it requires is a phone and a free Google account. For $50 a year, add your own domain and Google Apps. The iPhone can't boast that, since you need either a MobileMe account or an Exchange Server. I doubt many will add Exchange just to have domain email hosting with push email for mobile devices.
So when it came to finding a provider for my new (somewhat more professional sounding) domain, Google was the first choice. I threw down for a trial Google Apps account and did some DNS fiddling. Pretty easy.
Switching Google accounts on the Android was not immediately obvious though. The phone is not setup to allow you to change accounts. I did find some help with enough searching, however. Quite a few people mentioned the Any Cut app will let you setup links to any Activity on the phone.
Simply run Any Cut and add a shortcut for the Setup Wizard. That'll allow you to rerun the wizard without resetting your phone. I found the GMail app confused the new account so it was necessary to wipe out the user data (Settings -> Applications -> Manage Applications, tap GMail and GMail Storage and hit "Clear Data").
After clearing the GMail unceremoniously crashed. A quick restart fixed that.
The real trouble was getting push email to work again with my new account. It would work for the first message and stop for unknown reasons. Even tapping "refresh" would fail to find new email.
After some digging I found the message "received tickle for non-existent feed" using the USB Debugging feature. The custom URL that I'd setup (it's just a DNS cname record) caused some confusion since it was using my domain address and not the typical Google URL, which didn't match the account the GMail app was using.
Disabling it was easy enough. Simply go to the Dashboard, click Email, then Change URL and reset it to the default. It won't be missed -- I'd only added that in the foolish hope I could work around some over-anxious web filtering at work.
I'm very happy with this setup so far. Although I doubt push email will mean I'll actually answer any faster. Don't get your hopes up!