Simon’s Backup Weblog


Memo to Microsoft and Orange: Connecting a mobile phone to email needs to be a lot easier…

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on January 6, 2006

My Orange SPV C600 arrived this morning. It’s a lovely little phone, and it looks like it will quickly become my regular hand-held device.

However the usual fly in the ointment appeared when I tried to connect it to my mail server using Exchange ActiveSync.

It wouldn’t work. The phone refused to accept my server’s perfectly valid security certificate.

This was not good. I need mobile email like I need oxygen.

So why was I having problems? Like many small businesses I self certify my server. and I (and a couple of trusted folk) are the only people who need remote access to the server, so there’s no need for us to spend money on a commercial certificate.

The standard trick of running Small Business Server 2003’s sbsmobconfig.exe to load my server certificate on the phone didn’t work – Orange’s default setting for their Windows Mobile 5 devices locks down the certificate store, and the server certificate can’t be loaded.

Any why is this? The answer’s quite simple: Orange doesn’t trust its users.

However there are ways around the impasse.

A bit of frantic googling and I found this thread on MoDaCo.

The instructions weren’t quite right for a SBS installation. Here are my modified steps.

1. Download RegeditSTG.zip and SDA_ApplicationUnlock (there’s a zip file in the thread with them both in).
2. Connect your phone to your PC and make sure that ActiveSync 4.1 is running.
3. Copy RegeditSTG.zip onto the phone without unzipping, and unzip on the phone. Run and install RegeditSTG.
4. Run RegeditSTG and change the value of HKLM\Security\Policies\Policies0001017from 128 to 144.
5. Run SDA_ApplicationUnlock on your PC. This should remove the application lock on the phone.
6. Power cycle the phone.
7. Run sbsmobconfig.exe from your PC.
8. Power cycle the phone.
9. Check your phone settings for your server certificate.

Exchange ActiveSync should now work.

You can now breathe and read your email wherever you may be.

However, that is too many steps, and too difficult for the end user. Orange needs to stop being paranoid about application installation and ship its phones unlocked. Microsoft needs a more user friendly certificate installation tool than one that only ships with Small Business Server 2003.

There’s a reason why Blackberry is successful. It’s easy to use one to get mobile email from any source.

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11 Responses to 'Memo to Microsoft and Orange: Connecting a mobile phone to email needs to be a lot easier…'

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  1. daveon said,

    It’s a fun situation really. The operators all want “open” OS phones which can be updated but they don’t want the user to be able to update them. One of the big selling points MS has over Symbian is the fairly anal security model they created for the phones.

  2. autopope said,

    You are suddenly making me realize that maybe I ought to stick with my Treo 650 a while longer, at least until I’ve had a chance to look at a real Nokia 9300i, rather than drooling after an SPV-M5000.

  3. daveon said,

    I would not recommend an M5000 at the moment. Unless you are only looking for a PDA/Connected Device.

    If you are actually thinking of it as a phone then I’d wait.

  4. fba said,

    I like the Treo 650 – and am terribly dissapointed that Palm have made a deal with the devil for the 700…

  5. autopope said,

    Care to elaborate on that?

  6. sbisson said,

    It’ll be interesting to see what happens when they roll out the Magneto update next month…

  7. sbisson said,

    It’s a bloody brick as a phone.

    Not tried it with a Bluetooth headset, but I think that would be the only real way it would be useable.

    As a portable 3G/GPRS data terminal it’s rather decent.

  8. daveon said,

    The Universal is the first 3G device that MS have got to market and the Connection Manager which controls the data and voice connection states is something of a Kludge from the 2.5G solution. Plus I have it on good authority that HTC were really pushed to get it out to market.

    There are some problems with the call handling on all the MS phones which were only fixed in the latest 2G devices but there would be a lot of dropped calls, unable to answer, hung radio stacks and the like. I understand that the Universal is a little bit like that. It’s ok if you just want a data device but it’s a mess as a phone.

    However, by the middle/end of 06 there will be a lot more devices with a lot of fixes to the Connection Manager and a more robust 3G solution.

    The really _good_ phones will be out in Q4 06/Q1 07 but it is worth waiting if you want 3G.

  9. daveon said,

    And yes, it is a brick 😉

  10. andrewducker said,

    Jesus, what a mess. One should not have to hack a phone just to check one’s email.

    Security is one thing, making it impossible for the _user_ to work with their own phone is quite another.

  11. mdlbear said,

    I think I’ll wait. Judging from Motorola’s Linux phones and Nokia’s 770, it shouldn’t have to be too long. Yeah, I’ll probably have to buy an unlocked device at full price and install the SIM card myself. If that’s what it takes…


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