Sorry, if this has all been said before, but I couldn't find a write up on it. I have been scouring the forums trying to figure out how to get my e-mail to my Droid in a way that also allowed me to use my desktop e-mail client (Outlook 2003) in tandem. I like having my e-mail on my computer for back up instead of just floating on a cloud server. I just feel more comfortable being directly responsible for my own e-mail.
All that sounds easy right? Well I had a hard time figuring it out, and I feel that I'm a reasonably intelligent guy. Sometimes we get so entangled in the complicated advanced features of our phones that the "simple" things are just taken for granted. So I thought that I'd toss this on here in hopes that someone else finds it useful.
We all seem to agree that the "corporate e-mail" app is terrible and I've found that it breaks all the time. So I decided to stop using it and just have everything on my Gmail account. The Gmail app seems to work really well and gets my e-mails to me very quickly. Here's how I moved all my e-mail to Gmail and working in harmony with Outlook 2003. I'm not an IT guy, and I don't have much experience in this, but this is how it worked for me. I hope it works for you too.
Step 1: Go into your current, non-Gmail, online email server and have all your e-mail forward to your gmail account. This seems to be a fairly painless process easily accessed in your "Settings" menu of your existing e-mail service.
Step 2: Go into your online Gmail account and go into "Settings". From there enter the "Forwarding and POP/IMAP" subfolder. Then go down to "IMAP Access" and click "Enable IMAP". Make sure you click on "Save changes", otherwise all your work isn't going to matter.
Gmail account>Settings>Forwarding and POP/IMAP>IMAP Access>Enable IMAP> Save changes
Step 3: Configure your e-mail client, in my case Outlook 2003, to run your new Gmail account. Google has a tutorial for some popular e-mail clients they support. Assuming you are still in the "Forwarding and POP/IMAP" menu, just click on "configuration instructions". But if not, here's the link. Supported IMAP client list - Gmail Help
Step 4: Follow the instructions for your respective e-mail client.
Step 5: If you can afford to, notify everyone on your contact list and notify them of your e-mail address change. I've found that if there are fewer hoops for messages to jump through, the more likely they are to get to you.
Step 6: In Outlook 20003 I had to delete my old e-mail account. If I didn't do that I got duplicate e-mails due to them being received by Outlook, then forwarded to Gmail which is now being received by Outlook. I don't know if that happens in every client, it would be logical but I don't know. All my e-mails and contacts are still there even though I deleted the account.
As long as you have saved your preferences and followed the instructions that Google had for your client you should start receiving your e-mail in (theoretically) 3 places. Your online account, your Droid, and your e-mail client.
You may have noticed in "Step 2" that there was an option in your e-mail for POP access. I didn't know the difference between the two yesterday and these links helped me decide which one I wanted. You can find them under "learn more" in both the POP and IMAP options respectively. But here are the links just in case.
IMAP learn more: Getting started with IMAP for Gmail - Gmail Help
POP learn more: About POP - Gmail Help
I personally like IMAP now that I know about it. I receive my e-mail in my Outlook 2003, Gmail, and on my Droid almost simultaneously. And when I reply or delete in one of those, it occurs in the other two. That way I don't have mystery replies without originating messages in one place and not another and blah blah blah. IMAP makes everything talk to each other and display all the same information so I stay sane.
This particular plan isn't going to move your contacts or your calendar to the Google counterparts. This is only for new e-mail getting to your e-mail client and phone. I know you can "Import" your e-mail and contacts to your Gmail account from the "Forwarding and POP/IMAP" menu, but that option wasn't what I needed. All of my contacts and their e-mail addresses were on my old phone, which got moved to my Droid, which synced with my google account. I just needed all my new e-mails accessible from my desktop and communicating with my Google account and my Droid.
Like I said, I scoured the forums trying to find a simple write-up on this, but couldn't find it. I'm brand new to my Droid and was having some frustration with receiving e-mail. I finally got it figured out in a way that works for me. I really hope this helps someone else having the same frustrations I was having. If someone has an easier way of doing this or knows something more efficient please share. I would love to hear suggestions.