Microsoft ActiveSync the Future of Mobile Phone Synchronization?

At one time, it appeared likely that the SyncML protocol would be the main way that you'd synchronize email, calendar, and address book information with mobile phones. However, SyncML has problems handling unreliable links, and has a lot of variations between vendors. It hasn't taken off.

In the shartphone world, Microsoft's ActiveSync is dominant, largely because business people need to communicate with Exchange. ActiveSync is based on SyncML, with a number of important improvements added by Microsoft. With its bundling in Apple's iPhone, ActiveSync has consolidated its smartphone position.

Phone vendors would like to standardize on a single software architecture. Basic phones and feature phones have lesser capabilities than smartphones, but in the future, presumably they will contain much the same systems software as smartphones, with much of the software inaccessible. So ActiveSync could end up being the dominant force for synchronization right across the mobile phone spectrum.

On the other hand, it's unclear if ActiveSync will be much supported on the server side (apart from Exchange lookalikes). CalDAV (an open protocol for group scheduling) could be an element of a more open sychronization solution; this is also supported by the iPhone.

... David Ferris, with thanks to MailSite's CEO John Davies and Isode's CEO Steve Kille for their input

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