Google has announced Microsoft Exchange support in its Gmail client for Android.
Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) is the ubiquitous protocol for mobile email clients to sync with Exchange Server, Office 365, and other products/services that license it. EAS support in the Gmail client now allows it to access both Exchange Server and Exchange Online, the on-premises and cloud-based flavors of Microsoft Exchange.
You may remember, after licensing Exchange ActiveSync patents from Microsoft to implement EAS support in Gmail (the service), Google dropped Exchange ActiveSync support from Gmail a few years ago. Although existing device partnerships worked, it wasn’t an option for new devices or new Gmail users (not using the word customers here – EAS support is still available to paying customers). Users could switch to IMAP and SMTP protocols to receive and send mail. Although these are industry standard protocols, they don’t offer the same functionality as Exchange ActiveSync.
The mobile email landscape has changed significantly in recent years. There are plenty of interesting mobile email clients for Android, iOS and Windows. Email services such as Gmail and Outlook.com have their own mobile clients.
EAS support in Gmail client allows you to access Exchange, but if you really want to use Exchange on your Android device, there are other clients in the Google Play store, including Microsoft Outlook for Android, which sports a better Exchange experience.