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Can I use BlackBerry to check my email?

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A customer wrote in today and asked if our email hosting service worked with BlackBerry, i.e., “can I use BlackBerry to check my email?” I wrote her a pretty thorough response and thought it would make sense to blog my answer as well. So here goes:
Yes, our email service is compatible with BlackBerry. But let me explain the way it works:
Once you get your BlackBerry set up, you’ll get a BlackBerry email address, like: first.last@vzw.blackberry.net. Then, what you.ll do is go into webmail, set your mail forwarding to that email address and you.ll most likely want to check the box for: Save a Copy of Forwarded Email.
Now, you need to understand what this is going to do for you. First, email will still be delivered to wherever you normally check it if you Save a Copy of Forwarded Email (which I recommend because the BlackBerry email interface isn.t great and that isn.t where you want important emails to be stored). But it will also forward to your BlackBerry so if you.re on the go, you can get your email, respond, etc. It.s really convenient in that way. What I don’t like personally is how you have to go and manually turn mail forwarding on and off. It.s kind of a pain because for example, when I’m sitting in front of my computer I don.t want to get email on my BlackBerry (but if I.m in front of my computer, I can at least log into webmail and turn it off). However, when I.m trying to sleep at night, my phone constantly buzzes (and I.m not in front of my computer to turn it off). I guess that I could turn it on silent, but I haven.t figured out how to make the email silent and allow the phone or a text message to still buzz me (most likely those are going to be more important, at least theoretically). I.m not sure most people realize that once you set your BlackBerry to receive mail, the mail comes one at a time. There is no .check mail. button. When someone hits .Send. you.re going to get the email right away. That.s the unique BlackBerry feature, but that feature can also drive you nuts after a while.
One other thing I haven.t been able to figure out yet is how to set my .Reply-To Address. on my BlackBerry. So, for example, if I get an email to my regular address, read and respond on my BlackBerry, the person who I.m trading emails with ends up sending the emails to my BlackBerry email address (because they just hit reply and the .Reply-To. is set first.last@vzw.blackberry.net).
A couple of futuristic ideas we want to pursue are:
1. More advanced settings for mail forwarding, i.e. the ability to tell the system to stop forwarding at 2AM (like when I go to bed) or something like that. And the ability to store email addresses that are frequently used for forwarding. Since my BlackBerry email address is long and clunky, it.s a pain to have to remember it.
2. Deeper integration with the BlackBerry API. I don.t know much about what that will do for us BlackBerry users but I know there are more capabilities out there.
…and in the coming weeks we should have BlackBerry documentation online. I.m hoping that some of our gurus help us sort out some of the issues I mentioned above (like how to get a different ring or buzz when you can an email vs. a text message vs. a phone call as well as the .Reply-To. issue). I know we.re working on all of this but I.m not sure where it falls on the current priority list.
I hope this helps.
– Pat
PS… BlackBerry takes a while to get used to. I was really frustrated with it at first, but now I love it. I.ve turned into one of those crackberry addicts that is checking mail in restaurants, meetings, and probably most annoyingly, when people are trying to talk to me.

About the Author

This is a post written and contributed by Pat Matthews.

Pat Matthews is the Senior Vice President of Corporate Development at Rackspace. Prior to Rackspace, Pat founded Webmail.us, a business email hosting company that made Inc. magazine's list of the fastest-growing private companies in America. In 2007 Rackspace acquired Webmail.us and the two businesses joined forces. From 2007 to 2009, Pat led the Rackspace mail business and helped grow it to more than two million paid mailboxes worldwide.

In January 2010, Pat was promoted to Vice President and General Manager of all Rackspace cloud businesses. In this role he led Rackspace to become one of the most important companies in the cloud computing industry. He was promoted to Senior Vice President of Cloud at Rackspace in August of 2010.

Today, Pat oversees corporate development, which includes M&A, investment projects, new business initiatives and strategic partnerships.

Pat is a graduate of Virginia Tech. He is an angel investor and advisor in several startup companies. Pat and his family live in San Antonio, TX.


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  • Josh

    I think this is what you are looking for.  This is Blackberry Internet Services site for Verizon.  This will let you have email sent to your blackberry from an imap or pop account (including ones that use TLS or SSL) without setting up any forwarding.

    This also automatically sets up your blackberry so that when you reply to an email that comes in from that account it will use the correct address in the From field.  Also, you can send emails from that account, which will also set the From address correctly.  All of this works side by side with a BES account (if you have one) and with multiple pop/imap boxes.

    I believe that most carriers have this tool available though via a different URL.

    https://bis.na.blackberry.com/html?brand=vzw

    Josh

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