Posted in: apple, Email, Gadgets & Handsets, google, mobileme, nuevasync

I’m Finally Giving Up on MobileMe

When I read Walt Mossberg’s revised review of MobileMe, I was really excited – it sounded like they had fixed many of the issues that had prevented me from using the product in the past. Alas, after two weeks of playing with MobileMe, I’m throwing in the towel. It’s not a bad product, it’s just not designed for me. I’m guessing I’m an edge case and probably not in the spec of their target market. Nonetheless, I wanted to air my list of grievances with the hope they are fixed in a future version:

My Setup
I have a fairly atypical setup. I have several thousand contacts, 8ish calendars, and a lot of other information that I like to have available across all of my computers and mobile devices. I have 4 Macs (1 Mac Mini, 1 Macbook Air, 1 Macbook, 1 Macbook Pro – yes, that’s ridiculous and I accept that), 1 iPhone 3G, and 1 iPod Touch. I have two core requirements:

1. Support for OTA sync for my 8 Google Calendars and 1 Gmail account
2. Ability to differentiate between what information I’d like on my PC and what information I’d like on my iPhone

Overall, I found the revised MobileMe to be very unsatisfying for me edge case needs. A few things that didn’t work well for me:

No support for contact group syncing – I try to keep up with a lot of people. One of the key ways I make sense of all of my contacts is by putting them into groups. I don’t necessarily want to sync all groups to all devices at all times. For example, there’s a relatively small set of contacts that I like to keep on my phone and a fairly large group I like to keep in my address book. As far as I can tell, MobileMe does not support this use case. It’s an important one for me, even if I am an edge case.

No support for my primary email address(es) – While I’m sure I could figure out a way to make forwarding work, I don’t want to jump through hoops to support my primary email addresses (my personal domain and my gmail account). An OTA push email system that doesn’t support my primary email addresses is a non-starter. I can’t believe I’m alone here.

No need for the Gallery or iDisk products – I don’t have much of a need for the Gallery product and I already have a preferred web-based storage product (Dropbox). Neither of those features are of particular value to me and I don’t see a need to pay for them.

No substantive value above and beyond existing OTA calendar sync products – I’ve used Nuevasync and Google Sync to keep my Google Calendar in sync with my various computers and devices. Both products work well – I prefer Nuevasync over GCS because it allows me to sync more calendars and that’s the one I used first. MobileMe’s calendar product works well, but not meaningfully better than the Google or Nuevasync product. I don’t see any reason to pay when the free alternative is solid.

I have been pretty happy with NuevaSync but am tempted to try out the Google product when and if they release OTA mail sync and support for more than 5 calendars.

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