By Srinivas Krishnamurti, Senior Director, Mobile Solutions, VMware
We are excited to announce the availability of VMware Zimbra for Android (VZA) as a fling. A fling is a short-term thing, not a serious relationship but a fun one. Likewise, the tools that are offered as a fling from VMware Labs are intended to be played with and explored. None of them are guaranteed to become part of any future product offering and there is no support for them. They are, however, totally free for you to download and play around with!
Today’s fling – the VMware Zimbra for Android – is a native Android collaboration application that allows you to access your email, calendar, contacts, tasks and files from any Android device, specifically smartphones and tablets. VZA supports any Microsoft ActiveSync compliant email server and also supports the VMware Zimbra Collaboration Server (ZCS). With ZCS as the backend, VZA offers several additional Zimbra-only features such as Briefcase, Saved Searches, etc. that are not available in any of the Android email applications in the market today.
At VMware we fundamentally believe that the post-PC era is upon us. This new era is changing many of the entrenched computing paradigms that we all grew up with. A key change is the breaking of the traditional “ball and chain” relationship we had with our PCs. We now carry multiple devices (laptops – PCs and Macs, tablets, smartphones) and sometimes multiples of each because we often prefer the personal one rather than the corporate-issued one.
So, it is increasing becoming important for users to use any device at any time from anywhere without compromising required functionality and usability. In that context, we are committed to providing multiple interfaces for all our products and while this will not occur overnight, we are progressing well:
- We launched vCMA in 2009 to allow users to manage private clouds through a browser from any mobile device.
- We released a native iPad app in March this year that offers a much richer user experience to manage vSphere deployments.
- We released VMware View for iPads so users can get to their desktops from iPads. Stay tuned for more details about our View for Android plans.
- And, there are several other initiatives along these lines so there’s more coming.
VMware Zimbra for Android
VMware Zimbra for Android is a native Android email client for Zimbra and any ActiveSync compliant servers. This one became increasingly interesting to the VMware Labs team as we started rolling out Zimbra across VMware and many of employees carry Android devices found existing email clients sub-par. So, we decided to build the best possible client ourselves. Since some of our users were still using Exchange, we decided to support Exchange (and other ActiveSync compliant email server) as well.
Rather than read through dozens of features, check out the short overview video we recorded.
Additional screen shots can be found on Flickr.
VZA was tested with Microsoft Exchange 2003, 2007 and 2010 and Zimbra Collaboration Suite 6.x and 7.x. It supports Android 2.x and 3.x.
- VZA requires an ActiveSync enabled email client to be present on your Android device.
- Since VZA is distributed as a fling and available outside the Android Marketplace, you will need to enable your device to install applications from “unknown sources.” This option is typically accessible from Settings->Applications on your Android device.