People often tout the benefits of Centros and other smartphones in a single word: email. On the go or not, Centro sends and receives email, even with attachments, and it does the job just as well in some respects as a regular computer. Setting it up can be a challenge for novice users, though, so were off to Jays Explanatorium for a tutorial on getting your email in places other than your desk or office.
An up-front feature of this on-going series is that we recap in a single paragraph what weve covered to date. Here goes:
- We met the Centro in Part 1,
- Shopped energetically in Part 2,
- Dialed diligently in Part 3,
- HotSynced happily in Part 4,
- Played music mightily in Part 5,
- Established some General Preferences in Part 6, cozily, and
- Set up Bluetooth, infrared, and networking in Part 7. Whew!
- Our Part 8 adventure personalized the Centros buttons and display.
- Part 9 explored quick dial buttons, better known as Favorites, and set them up. And here we are, staring Part 10 in the face, getting ready to attack email send and receive.
Beginning with Part 4 in the series, AT&Ts Centros complicated a number of issues. Those models are different from Sprints Centros, especially in their Phone application. My Centro is of the Sprint ilk, and I dont have an AT&T model of my own to compare, but as we go along, Ill try to point out any differences that I know about. Meanwhile, dont let it bother you too much if my screenshots dont exactly match yours. Extrapolate as needed.
A word of caution before we start. All email comes in or goes out over your cell phone carriers data network, not the normal voice network. If youre not on an unlimited data plan, youll incur expensive per-byte charges, and you might have to mortgage your cat to pay the bill. Data service is different from text messaging, but it encompasses multimedia texting. Check with your carrier if you really want to get confused, but the simple explanation is: buy an unlimited data plan if you plan to do much email, remembering to count both directions - inbound and out. Sprints is $35 a month, give or take.
Besides email, an unlimited data plan lets you access the internet as much as you like. Nice. In my experience, as evidenced by two of my recent Sprint bills - on which a billing error stated the non-unlimited rates there are really only two choices for data plans: unlimited, or none. All are overpriced, but thats a topic for another time.
Gather some delectable comestibles, pour yourself a cup of strong java, fire up your Centro, and lets begin. Our first stop: housekeeping. Remember from Part 7 that we observed, with trepidation, some system parameters by which the Centro accesses whatever data network youre on. If you didnt set that up, do it now or none of this will work. Actually, I strongly recommend having your carrier set it up for you they shouldnt charge anything, just the monthly fee. Its too confusing for mere customers to have to deal with.
Heres a super-quick run-through:
- Get the Prefs app running. (Tapp the Prefs icon in the Applications screen).
- Tap Network about middle ways of the screen under the heading Communications.
- If your network is working, the Services menu at the top of the resulting screen will offer it as an option. If its not, or if it whines about not being set up, see Part 7 in this series and do battle with your carrier until it works.
The Email account
Network working? Delectables replenished? The next step is to set up the email account itself.
- Press the Home button to land at the Apps screen.
- Tap the Email icon. You might have to scroll down a screenful to find it see the (tiny!) scrollbar on the righthand side. This is the Centros email applications opening screen. If you have messages in your Inbox, the default, theyll be displayed here. Heres what mine looks like I already have one email account set up, and to test it I sent myself an email, which appears here.
- Ill assume that you have no email account set up, yet, so your version of this screen will be blank. Well add an account first. Tap the topmost area of the screen or press the Menu key (bottom row, far right) to make the pulldown menus appear.
The Accounts pulldown offers a list of existing email accounts, in addition to the Account Setup option. With no email accounts, yet, only the Accounts Setup option will appear; the rest of the screen will be blank.
- Tap Account Setup to create a new email account. You can do this even if youve already set up one or more, and define another one, two or more. Theres a probably some limit, if only common sense, so dont get carried away.
- The next thing you see is the Account Setup screen. Enter your correct email address on the line and supply the correct password. Keyword: correct. Remember, the email address and password you type must be exact, including capital letters, numbers, and punctuation. Youll find this information in your desktop (laptop?) computers email program. In Outlook Express, pull down the Tools menu and select Accounts or get it from the email provider where your email is hosted.
One more caveat. Lately, users have been reporting problems with using Gmail accounts with their Centros. If youre having trouble with Gmail, check the TreoCentral forums for guidance and current information on this problem.
To type the at sign on the Centro, press the Option key (second row from bottom, far left it has a solid square on it) once and then the I key. Theres no need to hold the Option key down while you press I.
If you need numbers and punctuation, you can get them in a similar manner. Option letter key. If you need a bunch of numbers in a row, press Option twice, and everything you type after that will be in numbers (or punctuation) until you press Option again (or till the feature times out).
Capital letters, in case your password requires them, work similarly, too. Press the Shift key (Bottom row, left side) and then whatever letter you want capitalized. The keyboard stays shifted only a few seconds, so if you dilly dally too long, you might have to refresh the shift. Two presses on the Shift key puts the Centro into the electronic equivalent of caps-lock mode till you press Shift again (or timeout happens). You can move the cursor within the entries by pressing Left or Right on the 5-way Navigator.
- Tap Next, at the bottom of the screen, when youre done. If this doesnt work, you typed something wrong, perhaps omitted a capital or inserted an unwelcome space, or got the punctuation wrong. Keep trying.
In all of the following entries, be sure to type the information exactly without leading or trailing spaces. It matters.
- Select the type of email account you have. The default is POP, and thats probably right, anyway. This information comes from your email service provider, affectionately (?) known by the acronym ISP.
- Provide the info for Incoming Mail Server. This is also determined by your ISP. If youve set this up on a desktop or laptop computer, itll be the same as what works there. All of this will. Dont bother trying the one in my screenshots. I faked it.
- Fill in the name of your Outgoing Mail Server.
- Tap Test Settings. This button instigates an electronic conversation over the carriers data network, checking the Servers youve defined and the accounts youve specified. If all and I do mean all - is well, you get a jubilant message. If not, an error message appears. Your Centros email account will not work till the Test Settings button jubilates. Hallucinations dont count.
One reason this might fail is that your ISP might want some portion of the Advanced Settings specified. Tap Advanced Settings to inspect. There are two screens of Advanced Settings to confuse you. If you dont need these, leave the defaults alone. And breathe a relieved sigh.
- Tap Done when youre done, but you are not done until the Test Settings success message lights up your Centros screen. And your day.
The result of all this is an entry in the Account Setup screen. Tap New to add more accounts if you want. If something changes for an account, you can make adjustments by tapping Edit.
Were back to the Email screen. With all this effort, it now has one or more accounts listed. Send yourself an email from some other account or machine, and send one out from your Centro.
- Tap Get to refresh the display with any new emails that have arrived.
- Tap New to send a new message.
- Fill in the blanks appropriately and add some content.
- Tap Send at the bottom of the screen.
The Centros email application is also known as Versa Mail. Its not the only one available, but it comes with the device. The others each have their devotees, and they all have their detractors.
Well explore more options and features of Centros email in another installment. Promise.
With massive money moving out every month for unlimited data service, weve set up and operated the Centros email application. If you have burning questions, Centro or not, email the author, and nominate them for a trip to Jays Explanatorium. Like everything else, email boasts many personalizable settings, but well hold those for another installment in the series. Next time, next topic!