Apparently there are some people using Gmail and the Google Calendar service rather than Live Mail or an Exchange solution and they’re not sure if they can still get their email, calendar and contacts synced to their Windows Mobile phone or PDA.

Well luckily for them (and me, yes I use Gmail as well) there are solutions – and they are simple (and free or cheap).

Although connectivity is pretty good I like to make sure I have a local instantly available backup (and you can’t check your web calendar on a plane yet). Being able to store contacts, schedule and email in Pocket Outlook and work with them anywhere is one of the biggest reasons I’ve used a Windows Mobile device for quite some time.

Email

To get the most of out Gmail you’ll want to use IMAP to sync your mail – leaving the technical stuff aside (click here if you want that) it’s a two way sync so if you read a mail on the phone then Gmail knows about it when you go back to the website.

To use IMAP in Gmail you’ll need to enable it first. Once that is done you can access Gmail over IMAP in any mail client – Outlook, Thunderbird and, of course, Windows Mobile Outlook Mobile. To set it up for your device follow the steps for Windows Mobile5 or Windows Mobile6 (the instructions are slightly different because the default mail setup wizard for WM6 tries to use POP3 and you’ll want to work around that!)

Of course if you don’t want to do this there is always the Mobile optimized web version of the Gmail site but once you‘ve tried using the Outlook Mobile client you won’t want to go back

OggSync Contacts and Calendar

What use is email if you don’t have all your contact details available (and after all it probably makes sense to keep your contacts details in sync across web and the phone).

If you get an email inviting you to a meeting or a party you want to be able to put it in your calendar… but unless your phone and the online calendar are in sync how will you ever keep your schedule straight?

Well, for Live Mail users there’s always the Windows Live client which takes care of keeping that in sync for you, but for Google users there is OggSync.

OggSync supports both Outlook and Windows Mobile clients so you can choose one or both depending on what you need. Personally I usually use the web interface from a PC so just have the mobile client.

The free version supports basic calendar syncing and the (very reasonably priced) pro version adds a lot more flexibility/control to the calendar sync (including support for multiple calendars) and contact sync.

With the pro version you can synchronize multiple calendars (with mapping) to a time schedule so you never have to lift a finger.

All of the sync functionality (in either version) is bidirectional so you can update on the phone or via the web and, like using IMAP for email, know that everything will be only one sync away from being up-to-date.

Check out OggSync and … welcome to the world of Outlook Mobile