Several months after MobileMe's debut, Apple seemed to have worked out the major gripes that granted early adopters instant buyer's remorse. After relying on MobileMe for over a year to keep all my devices in sync, it just might be time to say goodbye to the annual fee and embrace the free alternatives that Google is offering.
Throughout my college career, I've relied on Gmail to fetch my university email and consolidate numerous accounts in once place. In fact, even after buying a secondhand MobileMe subscription box, I still rely on Gmail to forward any email that came into my Gmail inbox to my MobileMe account simply for iPhone push. Sure, it's a confusing and messy situation but there weren't very many alternatives. That all changed with the announcement of Gmail to iPhone push via a Microsoft Exchange workaround. With a free alternative that basically negates the need for MobileMe's mail client, there's little reason to pay $80 per year for the remaining features that MobileMe offers.
Like many people, I rely quite heavily on a Calendar that can be synced across multiple systems to remind me of schedule changes months in advance. Although I don't currently use Google Calendar, the workaround is essentially the same. Using Google Sync to keep my calendar and contacts up-to-date should be as easy as using MobileMe.
To this day, due to a MobileMe error, I'm unable to sync my contacts to my desktop. This presents quite a problem when I want to email someone on my contact list. I actually have to pull out my phone and manually enter their email address. I'm not alone, either. Many users have reported the same 'inconsistent data' error when they try to setup syncing with MobileMe's calendar or contact list. Upon my original setup, I got this same error for both my calendar and contacts. I went so far as reentering all my calendar data onto the MobileMe server and it took hours. It wasn't fun.
As far as I can tell, the only killer feature of MobileMe is 'Find My iPhone'. I'm not so sure this should be a feature of MobileMe and not iTunes itself. Perhaps Apple realized that MobileMe is offering what other companies do for free and 'Find My iPhone' would help persuade customers to continue paying an annual fee. Unless you use the hosting bundled into MobileMe, there isn't enough value to justify the $80 cost.
Unfortunately, MobileMe doesn't always "just work" like so many of Apple's other offerings. When my subscription expires mid-November, I'm going to take Google's idea of free and apply it to something so simple as email. When that happens, I'll let you know if it was the right choice.