Push email is an email system that provides an always-on capability, in which new email is actively transferred (pushed) as it arrives by the mail delivery agent (MDA) (commonly called mail server) to the mail user agent (MUA), also called the email client. Email clients include smartphones and, less strictly, IMAP personal computer mail applications.
Comparison with polling email 
Regardless of whether the receiver uses polling email, outgoing mail is generally pushed from the sender to the final mail delivery agent (and possibly via intermediate mail servers) using Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. However, if the receiver uses a polling email delivery protocol, the final step from the last mail delivery agent to the client is done using a poll. Post Office Protocol (POP3) is an example of a polling email delivery protocol. At login and later at intervals, the mail user agent (client) polls the mail delivery agent (server) to see if there is new mail, and if so downloads it to a mailbox on the user's computer. Extending the "push" to the last delivery step is what distinguishes push email from polling email systems.
The reason that polling is often used for the last stage of mail delivery is that, although the server mail delivery agent would normally be permanently connected to the network, it does not necessarily know how to locate the client mail user agent, which may only be connected occasionally and also change network address quite often. For example, a user with a laptop on a WiFi connection may be assigned different addresses from the network DHCP server periodically and have no persistent network name. When new mail arrives to the mail server, it does not know what address the client is currently assigned.
The Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) provides support for polling and notifications. When a client receives a notification from a server, the client may choose to fetch the new data from the server. This makes retrieval of new messages more flexible than a purely push system, because the client can choose whether to download new message data.
Mobile users 
Although push email had existed in wired-based systems for many years, one of the first uses of the system with a portable, "always on" wireless device outside Asia was the BlackBerry service from Research In Motion. In Japan, "push email" has been standard in cell phones since 2000.
Apple iPhone and iPod Touch 
Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch support Hotmail push email, Gmail push email (via Google Sync) and Microsoft's Exchange ActiveSync platform, allowing them to synchronize email, calendars and contacts with a Microsoft Exchange Server, Zimbra, NuevaSync or Kerio Connect. Apple's iCloud service offers support for push email, contacts, and calendars, although as of the 24 February, 2012, this has been temporarily disabled in Germany due to lawsuits. However, by setting up a new account using IMAP-Idle, push email is restored.
BlacMail, from Fifth C, is a push email solution that supports all major public email systems and targeted at mass-market consumer phones. The solution is unique in that a single client supports both SMS or GPRS as the message bearer, important attributes in the fastest developing mobile markets such as India.
Google Android 
Android's built-in Gmail client uses Google Sync to push email for Gmail accounts set up to sync with the phone. Android also supports Microsoft Exchange accounts natively through its default mail application. Emails arriving into the Microsoft Exchange inbox are instantly pushed to the device. Calendar events sync both ways between exchange and the device.
Yahoo Mail is not pushed to an Android device as android is still lacking in IMAP IDLE, see below. An alternate to lack of native support for Yahoo Mail is to install the free Yahoo Mail app which provides instant push email.
Recently also Hotmail (and it's replacement Outlook.com) have been made push configurable for Android smartphones through the default mail application.
Helio Ocean 
Helio began adding support to its "ultimate inbox" powered by mFluent LLC for push email to the Helio Ocean in July 2007 with support for Yahoo! Mail, Windows Live Hotmail, and AOL Mail. On April 23, 2008 push support was added for Gmail, along with automatic notifications for POP and IMAP services.[dead link]
Microsoft Windows Mobile and Windows Phone 
Microsoft began offering real-time email notification with Windows Mobile 2003 (sending SMS messages when new mail arrive), then replaced it with a simulated push experience (long polling) in 2007 with the release of Windows Mobile 5 AKU2 under the name "Direct Push Technology". 'Direct Push' technology is an additional feature added to Microsoft Exchange 2003 with service pack 2 that adds messaging and security features. A phone device running Windows Mobile 5 is enabled to poll Exchange Server every 30 minutes. If new mail arrives in polling interval, it is instantly pulled using a subscriber's existing wireless phone account (this allows device to have changing IP or traverse NAT/Proxy). To achieve push mail with email providers other than Exchange, there is a commercially available plug-in from Emansio that enables push mail with almost any public email provider, or any email server that supports IMAP-IDLE.
Nokia Symbian Series 60 
Some Nokia Symbian S60 models support basic IMAP IDLE functionality with its built-in client. But on newer E72, E52 etc. phones this functionality is broken, because connection to the mail server is closed (probably even outside the mailing application) and never restored.
Nokia Mail for Exchange 
The Nokia Eseries smartphones and select models of Nseries smartphones and newer s60 and Symbian^3 handsets running symbian os 9.x or Symbian^3 support the Mail for Exchange software, which is compatible with Microsoft Exchange Server Active Sync and Direct Push, allowing the Nokia smartphones to receive push email as well as sync contact lists, calendars, and tasks with Exchange servers. Global Address Lookup is also supported, starting with version 2 of the Mail for Exchange software.
Nokia Messaging 
Nokia Messaging Email is a push email service and client application that supports most of the popular email providers like Windows Live Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail, Gmail and many more. Nokia Messaging servers aggregate messages from up to ten accounts on and pushes them to compliant devices (Nokia S60 and some S40, plus Maemo-based devices like the N900). As of August 2012 Nokia Messaging Email is in the process of being phased out.
Palm OS 
Palm webOS 
Peek Mail 
Peek Inc. has native push mail applications on Android (still in Beta), Mediatek, Spreadtrum, MStar Semiconductor, and Qualcomm Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless. It's a lightweight application that works with any mailhost including Hotmail, AOL, Yahoo, Gmail, etc. with support for Microsoft Exchange. It uses 34% less battery and 67% less data than default mail clients like Gmail.
Research In Motion BlackBerry 
RIM's BlackBerry uses wireless mail user agent devices and a BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) attached to a traditional email system. The BES monitors the email server, and when it sees new email for a BlackBerry user, it retrieves (pulls) a copy and then pushes it to the BlackBerry handheld device over the wireless network.
BlackBerry became very popular, in part because it offers remote users "instant" email; new emails appear on the device as soon as they arrive, without the need for any user intervention. The handheld becomes a mobile, dynamically updating, copy of the user's mailbox. As a result of the success of BlackBerry, other manufacturers have developed push email systems for other handheld devices, such as Symbian- and Windows Mobile-based mobile phones. However, they only support push email for some email services.
SEVEN Networks 
SEVEN Networks supports consumer and enterprise email including Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Windows Live (Hotmail, Live.com, MSN), AOL, Microsoft Exchange, IBM Lotus and other local web-based email providers on Android, bada, Brew, J2ME, Symbian and Windows Mobile devices.
Sony Ericsson 
Sony Ericsson Smartphones (M600, P990, W950, P1, W960, W995, G900, G700) as well as some Cybershot phones (K790, K800, K810, K850, C510, C905,J105i) feature push email using IMAP IDLE or with the built-in ActiveSync client (developed by Dataviz). Most other Sony Ericsson phones support IMAP IDLE push email quite well (only the inbox however).
Other mobile solutions 
NotifyLink supports the following backends: Axigen, Alt-N Technologies, CommuniGate Pro, Kerio Connect, Meeting Maker, Microsoft Exchange 2000/03/07, Mirapoint, Novell GroupWise, Oracle, Scalix, Sun Java Communications Suite, and Zimbra, plus other solutions for email only. The supported mobile devices/operating systems include Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, Symbian OS and Palm OS.
Mobiquus is a push email client based on J2ME technology. Also, it can visualize most attachments (images, videos, Office files...) without the need of having other applications installed on the phone.
Good Technology's Good Mobile Messaging (formerly known as GoodLink) supports Microsoft Exchange 2000, 2003 and 2007 as well as Lotus Notes.
Visto supports Exchange 5.5/2000/2003, Domino all versions and works with any ISP email. Visto acquired Good in May 2009 and changed its name to Good.
Synchronica provides a client-less, carrier-grade push Email and synchronization solution based entirely on open industry standards. Their core product, Mobile Gateway, supports push mail standards like IMAP, IDLE and OMA EMN as well as PIM synchronization using OMA DS (SyncML). Towards backends, it supports POP, IMAP, Microsoft Exchange and Sun Communications Suite.
Atmail offer a complete Push mail, calendar and contact server for Linux. From licensing ActiveSync from Microsoft, Atmail offer Push mail capabilities to exiting IMAP servers such as Dovecot, Courier, UW-IMAP and more.
Another company to offer a push email solution is Critical Path, Inc. under the brand name Memova Mobile, the only requirement of this is that the handset have GPRS and MMS capability.
Most of these non-proprietary solutions are network independent, meaning that as long as a device is data enabled and has an email client, it will have the ability to send/receive emails in any country and via any telco that has data service on its network. It also means that so long as the device itself is not SIM locked (in the case of GSM systems), the constraints of BlackBerry such as network locking, vendor locking (BlackBerry devices and BlackBerry Connect devices) and data-roaming charges (for non-home access) are not an issue. For a GSM system, pop in a local SIM card in any country the user is in, have the correct APN settings and get your mail at LOCAL rates.
Emoze is a mobile devices push service application in which you may choose your phone, your operator and your network. This mobile solution is based on a patented synchronization process (Publication number US 2007/0208803 A1 ) that enables synchronized, push email on a wide variety of mobile devices via any mobile network operator. This enables mobile users to send and receive data from multiple email accounts while keeping their personal information (contacts and calendar) synchronized. It enables the user to manage multiple accounts (ISP, GMAIL, YAHOO end others). Emoze supports almost every data enabled mobile phone and is not limited to smartphones. Using this solution mobile users may view HTML formatted emails and may download and view attachments, pictures, music, documents depending on their device capabilities and/or have access to contact lists from social networks as Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Orkut and others.
The Emoze technology, called Smart Routing was designed to provide a seamless and secure messaging for the end users. Data is constantly synchronized, in real-time, only when the mobile device is on and connected to the Internet. The user's privacy is protected and secured by enabling messages to be pushed from the originating mail server to the mobile device without storing it on an intermediate server. Private data is not being stored on a third party server thus avoiding data loss and corruption. Whenever there is a new event (email, contact or calendar) on the mail server or mobile device, the synchronization is processed immediately.
Simulation using traditional email 
Traditional mobile mail clients may poll for new mail at frequent intervals, with or without downloading the mail to the client, thus providing a similar user experience as push email.
IMAP in fact allows many notifications to be sent at any time, but not message data. The IDLE command is often used to signal the ability of a client to process notifications sent outside of a command running, which effectively provides a user experience identical to push.
In contrast to traditional email, most of the protocols used in popular current systems are proprietary; for example, BlackBerry uses its own private protocols developed by RIM. Both the Push-IMAP standard and parts of the SyncML standards are attempting to develop more open solutions.
- Corporate E-mail Coming to iPhone - Look Out BlackBerry! - Switched
- Apple Introduces MobileMe Internet Service.
- Apple halts "push" email services in Germany
- 'BackupBerry' Options for BlackBerry Addicts
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