Update 2 (Aug 1, 2013; 9:45AM): It's official. EAS support for Windows Phone has been extended to December 31, 2013. This is certainly good news as several new Windows Phone 8 devices, such as the Nokia Lumia 1020, have yet to reach customers.
Update 1 (Aug 1, 2013; 7:00AM): After Google's extension, Windows Phone connections via Google Sync is expected to end yesterday, July 31. As of this writing however, it still works (maybe it's because it isn't August 1 yet in the U.S.?). If you've forgotten to set it up, or have gotten a new Windows Phone (such as the Nokia Lumia 925), the clock is ticking.
First posted on December 17, 2012:
Come January 30th 2013, Google will be removing consumer support for Google Sync that uses the Microsoft's Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) protocol. In other words, you won’t be able to access Gmail, Google Calendar, and Contacts via the EAS protocol for new devices. Google recommends that you use protocols like IMAP (for email), CalDAV (for calendar), and CardDAV (for contacts). Existing synced accounts will continue to work, and Google Apps for Business, Education, and Government customers can also continue to set up new devices with Google Sync after January 30th 2013.
For non-Android smartphones such as iPhones, Google Sync is often the easiest way to get push email, calendars, and contacts onto them; instead of adding a Gmail account, you add a Microsoft Exchange account. With this latest announcement, starting January 30th 2013, if you want to set up new devices to access Gmail, Google Calendar, and Contacts, you should follow the new instructions over at Google’s sync site. iOS users can also use the official Gmail app which recently received a major update.
iOS users aren’t the only ones inconvenienced by Google’s decision to drop consumer support for the EAS protocol. Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 users are affected too. Windows Phone users will still be able to connect to Gmail using IMAP, but without push support. Indeed, if you look at the instructions over at Google’s sync site, Google recommends that you use your mobile browser to access Gmail. Google has also publicly said that it has "no plans to build out Windows apps" beyond the basic Google search app, so hope for an official Gmail app with push notifications is slim. It's hard to see this as just another "winter cleaning" exercise, but another strategic move in the war for mobile dominance.