Mail on Ovi webmail now live

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The webmail component of Mail on Ovi, which was previewed at Nokia World last year, is now live (in beta status, naturally). Along with the webmail component, you can now also use Mail on Ovi on S60 devices by adding the email address to either the built in Messaging application or the Nokia Messaging service. Mail on Ovi had previously only been available via Beta Labs on Nokia's Series 40 handsets. Mail on Ovi gives you a e-mail account, based on your Ovi username, with a space quota of 1GB. Read on for more details and a short video demo...

Watch this video in HD (higher resolution, better quality).

Key features of the webmail component of Mail of Ovi

  • Web application for managing your email. Nokia's aim is to create a simple and elegant web mail experience. It uses AJAX and Javascript web technologies (like GMail and other modern equivalents) to cut down on page loads and improved usability. For example, you can organise your email into folders via a simple drag and drop mechanism, and, when composing email, contacts are auto-completed based on the contents of your address book.
  • Address book for storing contacts. Currently there is no connection between Mail on Ovi and Sync on Ovi (i.e. between your live contacts and the address book of Mail on Ovi). However this is a limitation of the current beta and the two will be connected together in a later beta or for the final release.
  • Built in spam (optional) and anti-virus filters and settings for auto-reply (e.g. for when you go on holiday) and email signatures.

  • There's a low bandwidth version of the Mail on Ovi webmail system for use when a broadband connection is not available. 


Mail on Ovi

It is a mistake to see Mail on Ovi as purely a competitor to other webmail systems, although clearly there is a strong element of this. Realistically, relatively few people are going to change their email accounts because of the switching costs involved. Nokia recognise this, which why it is looking to make other email services, such as GMail, Hotmail and Yahoo Mail, available to users of its phones through email configuration wizards and the Nokia Messaging service.

However, Nokia believes there is a gap in the market for those who do not already have an email address. In this light, Mail on Ovi can be seen as part of Nokia's strategy to broaden the use of email in general. Many such users will set up, and experience, email for the first time on their mobile phone. The webmail version is intended to provide these users with PC access to their Ovi email account.

Currently the on-device sign up and configuration is only being tested with Series 40 devices. However, if you do want to use your email address on your S60 device then it is very straightforward. You can use either the built in Messaging application or Nokia Messaging service (also in beta). In both cases you should only need to enter the email address and password - the respective email configuration wizards should take care of the rest of the settings for you.

Here's Mail on Ovi as an email account in Nokia Messaging:

Mail on Ovi Nokia Messaging  

Nokia Messaging, which offers a consumer-focussed push mail service for existing email accounts, generally offers a better email experience than the built in Messaging application. Currently it is available as a free beta, but a charge may be made for the service once it has its first full release.

Mail on Ovi configured  

Here is an email account, set up in S60's standard messaging application. email accounts are made available via IMAP and, as such, could be used with any email client.


IMAP folders in Messaging application

Steve's comments

"Nokia's Ajax implementation of a webmail system seems pretty slick, even if it doesn't have all the bells and whistles of GMail as yet. We liked the way messages can be dragged and dropped into folders (you can create as many as you like) and we loved the way the Help system is fully stocked from day one.

Much remains to be seen, of course. Speed, the effectiveness of its 'Spam' filter, and so on. So far, Mail on Ovi has followed the GMail style in almost every regard, with similar spam settings and mail text quoting rules, but the key thing about this system is going to be the integration with your phone's email client and with Ovi Contacts, presenting a seamless and always backed up, always up to date contacts and email system.

So get to it. If you've already registered an Ovi username then you can now be reached at . Comments welcome if you start to use it for real."

Rafe Blandford and Steve Litchfield, All About Symbian, 10 Feb 2009