iPhone gets better at corporate e-mail

When Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone first came out, one of the early knocks on the device was that, straight out of the box, it doesn’t handle corporate e-mail well. It seems that situation is changing; I got a demonstration yesterday of a solution that looks pretty good. You can see it for yourself, in somewhat blurry fashion, in the video below.


The company offering this e-mail solution is Visto, a longtime Silicon Valley mobile e-mail player. Like Visto’s basic e-mail service, the iPhone version works with Microsoft (MSFT) Exchange and IBM (IBM) Lotus Domino. Less-known competitors including Intermedia and Kerio Technologies have also announced mobile business e-mail programs for the iPhone, but it’s too soon to tell whether one company’s solution will gain serious traction.

Visto Mobile for iPhone will cost $10 per user, per month. It will be available in early October. It works through secure IMAP using a combination of the iPhone’s built-in Mail application and the Safari browser, which gives users access to their corporate directory and a few other neat features.

Installation will be a bit of a hassle; it will require either installing software on a Windows PC to push e-mail out to the iPhone, or installing some server software on the back end.

Doug Brackbill, executive vice president at Visto, told me this iPhone application has generated unprecedented excitement among potential customers; he said Visto has gotten more than 3,000 leads because of it, with no marketing.

Visto has been fine-tuning the app with “hundreds” of beta testers, Brackbill said. So hopefully that means the solution will arrive on schedule, with minimal bugs.

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