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I need to know Limitations of mobile device access in SharePoint 2010 vs desktop access to Sharepoint 2010, before I start a sharepoint mobile access project. What features don't work out of the box on mobile devices etc. Can someone please help me out?

Maybe also: Are there any 3rd party tools that (successfully) get around the mobile device access limitations of what comes out of the box with Sharepoint 2010 - if you note those too, that would be useful.

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2 Answers

Gary - there are several limitations and challenges to using standard SharePoint on mobile devices; including: authentication, user experience, mobile data charges, device support.

You could take the standard mobile templ ates that ship with SharePoint, but these will require a significant amount of custom development work, which will need to be updated as and when new devices come out.

There are several mobile SharePoint solutions on the market, like Azurati's SharePoint2Go solution (www.azurati.com) that provide authenticated and secure access to mobile SharePoint on any mobile device.

If you are looking to deploy SharePoint to users who will use several different types of mobile devices, or even their own personal devices to access enterprise systems like SharePoint, then you should make sure that your internal build strategy can cope with this; or that your external vendor is able to support multiple device types.

You may also have customised your SharePoint environment with custom web parts. If you believe that mobile users should have access to some or all of these web parts, then equally, this should form part of your vendor selection criteria.

Hope this helps.

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From experience with several mobile projects: Do not use SharePoint's out of the box mobile master pages. All they contain are simplified list views and you loose everything in your branding, making the site ugly and useless.

Instead, simply turn off the mobile detection for a few devices (smart devices) that are perfectly capable of rendering a normal web page. For publishing sites (low level of complex inputs) this works 100%.

SharePoint 2010 overall works well enough with most of today's smart devices except for some specific bits (most notably the rich text editor which acts a bit quirky), and of course you'll have to zoom around a lot on phones. But I've used the ribbon, etc. on iPads or Android devices.

You can even activate Drag & Drop on your custom interfaces with scripts like JQuery Touch Punch. Note that if you want to go heavy on custom UI, you really, really want to make clear which browsers you will support, and select UI frameworks that already work transparently on all of them.

We've delivered focused drag & drop, responsive portals and parts for SP2010, but never an entire collaboration portal. What is the scope of your project?

As Ronan pointed out authentication can be a pain point because there is no native SSO for most devices. You can get around this somewhat by implementing FBA and "remember me"-like functionality, or using commercial 3rd parties.

If your users will be on 3G (but even on office Wifi), another one of your important challenge will be page load optimization. There are several techniques you can use to reduce that on custom projects (image sprites, minified scripts, putting your production IIS in retail mode, proper use of browser caching, ...)

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