Google once again extends Windows Phone support for new Exchange ActiveSync connections to Gmail
In late-January, Google revealed that, after July 31, Windows Phone handsets will be unable to establish new Exchange ActiveSync connections to Gmail. The controversial move would leave said devices without the ability to sync calendar and contacts entries with the search giant's consumer-oriented email service, after the passing of the deadline. However, that is no longer the case, as Google just gave Windows Phone users another reprieve.
"We've reached an agreement to extend support for new Windows Phone connections to the Google Sync service through December 31, 2013", says Google in a statement that was issued to me earlier today. The agreement, as you can probably tell, was made with Microsoft, likely to give the software giant and its partners more time to deploy CalDAV and CardDAV support, which is needed for Gmail calendar and contacts sync, in Windows Phone.
The two aforementioned protocols have already been added to Windows Phone 8, in a new version that is known as GDR2. And a number of handsets, like the Nokia Lumia 925, Lumia 1020 and Lumia 625, already come with it out-of-the-box.
But the update, which brings the same functionality to older Windows Phone 8 handsets, has yet to be rolled out to Nokia-branded devices (pre-Lumia 925), which account for most of the market share in the tiled smartphone operating system realm.
That said, less-popular ones, from HTC (the Windows Phone 8X) and Samsung (the ATIV S), have received the update, so it begs the question as to which company is to blame for the delay. Microsoft promised, in late-January, a seamless transition after July 31 for its Windows Phone customers using Gmail, which will only happen due to this reprieve, given at the last moment, without prior notice.
Nokia announced in May that it will roll-out the update, called Lumia Amber, "this summer" to its pre-Lumia 925 Windows Phone 8 lineup. Among other features it also enables FM Radio functionality and adds the ability to change the default camera app. But, based on my findings, the Finnish maker has not released refreshed firmware images, which leads me to believe that the roll-out may not happen in the upcoming days (although it should kick off by the end of the month, when summer ends).
Google tells me that existing Exchange ActiveSync connections, from Windows Phone to Gmail, will not be affected even after December 31. But hopefully the CalDAV and CardDAV support will arrive before the second (and likely definitive) deadline.