How to sync Outlook Color Categories to iPhone 6

Current iPhone Outlook sync options simply don’t work for business professionals using a PC. Apple ships iTunes and iCloud as two ways to sync Microsoft Outlook with iPhone and iPad. The problem is neither product supports sync of Outlook Categories.

Why are categories important on phones?

Business users who have hundreds of contact records, notes, and appointment details need a way to organize info for quick lookup. Organization is inherent in their PC Outlook database courtesy of the Color Categories feature. Each category has a name and color in Outlook. This offers quick sort and view options on the PC.

But what about the iPhone and iPad?

CompanionLink solves this problem by mapping Outlook Color Categories to iOS devices. This means business users can rely on color recognition to view data on their iPhone or iPad. They can sort and view the device’s contact list the same way they did on the PC. They can assign categories as they create new Notes or Tasks on the device. These new items will sync back to the correct Outlook Category on their PC.

CompanionLink supports Outlook Categories for Contacts, Calendar, Tasks, Notes, and Journal. Outlook calendar alarms, task alerts, and contact photos also sync to iPhone and iPad. Basically, you get everything iTunes and iCloud offers with support for additional Outlook data like Categories and Alarms. This is a perfect paid utility for business users who need to organize hundreds of Outlook records on their phone.

How Outlook categories on iPhone look

How Outlook Categories look on iPhone

You have two options to view Outlook categories on your iPhone: use our DejaOffice mobile app or use the phone’s Contacts app. There are pros/cons to each approach.

CompanionLink relies on our DejaOffice iPhone app to store Outlook data on the device. Our app is designed for a one-to-one map with Outlook fields, which is why we can handle more Outlook data than iPhone’s Contacts app.

If, however, you prefer to use iPhone’s Contact app, you have that option. Go to Settings > Sync > Sync to native iPhone Contacts. This will create and transfer DejaOffice Outlook Categories to the iPhone’s Contacts app as Groups. You can then use the Contacts app to view your rolodex by Group (which is Apple’s name for Category).

Click here for more information about Outlook iPhone sync.

iHotsync USB – direct sync with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

We’d like to introduce iHotsync USB, our newest direct sync technology for iOS devices. It synchronizes all the data iTunes and iCloud handles as well as Categories, Notes, Tasks, and Contact Photos. Our iHotsync USB works like the reliable utility with a similar name from the days of PalmPilot. You can sync PIM data from PC apps like Microsoft Outlook, Palm Desktop, Lotus Notes, Act!, and many others.

Security took priority when designing iHotsync.
1. Connect your iPhone to the PC using the Lightening USB cable.
2. Tap Sync in the DejaOffice iOS app that comes with CompanionLink.

A complete setup guide is available here. A list of fields and benefits that iHotsync supports beyond the fields supported by iTunes and iCloud is available here.

iHotsync does not require iTunes, nor does it transfer or store your data in iCloud.

Carrier policies for unlocking devices

Many people will be selling their current Android or iPhone device to make room (and cash) for the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. An unlocked unit will earn more money on sites like Gazelle that pay cash for your old phone or in the private market.

Here are links to the Device Unlock Policy for each major US carrier.

AT&T: click here.
T-Mobile: click here.
Sprint: click here.
Verizon: click here. (Most Verizon LTE devices come unlocked.)
O2 (UK Carrier): click here.
Virgin Mobile (USA): click here.

A cheatsheet of iPhone 6 Plus features for business users

Here’s a list of iPhone 6 Plus features announced by Apple today that directly impacts or improves productivity for business users.

  • Bigger screens mean more readable content. The iPhone 6 Plus has 1920×1080 resolution to fit more lines of information. Apple offered a great side-by-side visual that shows how much more content is visible on iPhone 6 Plus compared to iPhone 6. [Image source: iphonehacks.com]
  • More battery life means fewer intra-day trips to the outlet. Traveling sales people are free to use their GPS without fear of their battery dying by mid day. The iPhone 6 Plus offers 12 hours of LTE browsing (2 more hours than iPhone 6) and 16 hours of standby (6 more hours than iPhone 6). Here’s a chart comparing battery capacity from the keynote. [Source: iphonehacks.com]
  • Wider keyboard layout with more keys means the iPhone 6 Plus will be a business user’s device of choice for an easier typing experience. (This does beg the question – does the iPhone 6 Plus cannibalize iPad mini sales?) The extra keys offered comprise of an important tap-saving group: cut and paste, highlight, undo, bold, and common punctuation; period, comma, question mark, and exclamation mark. These keys will save business users from tapping and dragging pins for copy/paste, and from long-pressing the Shift key to access punctuation and rich markup. [Image source: WCCFtech.com]
  • The iPhone 6 Plus’s dual-pane view for email, scheduling, and messaging is godsend. Email will undoubtedly be the biggest beneficiary as you will never have to swipe Back to see the email list.
  • Wi-Fi calling and VoLTE hold promise for mobile warriors who journey to areas with shaky cell connectivity. Hop in a cafe or restaurant that offers Wi-Fi and you are free to make calls. Of course, TBD is whether carriers need to update their towers to support this. (If anyone has more info about this, please chime in under the Comments section for everyone to benefit.) The consumer crowd really benefits by not requiring peak-hour cellular minutes to place/receive calls. I sense mobile carriers already dusting off their business plans to make daytime minutes unlimited.
  • NFC and Apple Pay will make carrying personal and business desirable and a breeze. Business people will no longer have to use their personal card and then remember to credit their business account. The NFC ecosystem looks like an infrastructure-intense endeavor and one that will take time for the world to adopt. However, Apple has added (significantly) more water to the NFC seeds already harvesting. We know how this story ends for the famed plastic rectangle we love so dearly.
  • Repeatedly mentioned during the keynote was the phrase “optimizations for one-hand use”. It appears Apple was bent on promoting the fact that they optimized their 5.5-inch offering for one-hand use. I must see this to believe it; but it sounds great! More details about this will arrive as people get their devices on September 19.

The real story behind today’s keynote is that Apple is heeding the call for larger screens by an audience (viz. business users) that is willing to pay for features that make their workday easier. While Apple is a consumer-driven organization, larger screens directly benefit business professionals in a way that is tangible to productivity.

USAToday.com recommends CompanionLink as the replacement for Google Calendar to Outlook Calendar integration

Googlepocalypse on August 1 was a major setback for many. USAToday.com tech columnist Rob Pegoraro recommended CompanionLink as the go-to replacement for the sunset Google Calendar Sync utility.

I’d look at the $50 CompanionLink (its developers have been doing Google sync tools since the days of Palm handhelds, and other software from the company can sync directly from Outlook to Android)…

CompanionLink is the most affordable 3rd-party solution when you take into account installation on multiple PCs (up to 3), free updates, and free technical support by phone and email.

Here are the top 11 reasons people have turned to CompanionLink since 2006 for Google Calendar sync:

  1. Sync contacts, calendar, tasks, and categories with one app
  2. Supports Office 365, Outlook 2013, 2010, 2007, 2003, 2000
  3. Free US-based technical support by phone and email
  4. Map Outlook Categories to multiple Google Calendars
  5. Works with Outlook folders or subfolders
  6. Supports Exchange setups with Public Folders
  7. Works with any free Gmail or Google account and Google Apps accounts
  8. Automatic sync
  9. One license allows installation on 3 PCs
  10. 90-day money-back guarantee
  11. Supporting Google Calendar sync since 2006

CompanionLink is available as an unlimited trial for 2 weeks. Purchase options include a one-time license for $39.95 after discount. Enter ALTGCS in the Affinity Code field to get the $10 discount.

9 ways to Synchronize Standalone Outlook to your Android Kitkat Phone

If you are like me, you depend on your PC Outlook for email, contact list and calendar.  It’s the only tool that does a decent job of meeting invites, colored categories and name lookups.  I’m not a big fan of online calendars because they are too slow!  When I need to schedule something, or make a task from an email, I just drag and drop it in Outlook and it creates almost by itself.  I’m not a fan of Office 365 because it slows down the load time of my Outlook.  My work day is for business, not for waiting for a slow loading app, or web site to feeds nibbles to my PC.

I love my Galaxy Note II phone.  It updated this spring to Android 4.4, and so I think it has almost all the features of a Galaxy Note III.  The larger screen size is great because I use it for my Kindle, and for browsing news and technology articles on the web.

CompanionLink provides nine different ways to move data from Standalone Outlook to your Android Phone.  Here is a rundown with some of the advantages and disadvantages.  CompanionLink has created an Outlook Style App for Android called DejaOffice.  This App is the only one on the market that supports Colored Categories just like Outlook.  This App is the only one that supports Tasks linked to your Outlook Contacts list.  Five of our seven system use DejaOffice as a destination, to make your Android phone more powerful.

  1. USB Sync from Outlook to DejaOffice App on Android:  If you liked Palm Hotsync, USB Sync is the way to go.  Download DejaOffice on your device, and CompanionLink on your PC.  Set up a USB link.  Both programs have setup wizards to help you out.  The sync will run whenever you connect your phone to your PC.  This is a fully secure sync.  There is no stored data on the web.  As such it is fully HIPAA compliant.  With DejaOffice you will see your Outlook Contacts, Calendar, Tasks, Notes and Journal all in one handy Android App!
  2. Bluetooth Sync from Outlook to DejaOffice App on Android:  Just like Palm, CompanionLink offers the option to Bluetooth sync from Android to your PC.  Your PC will need a Bluetooth connection.  Most laptops have them built-in.  For desktops you can buy a USB dongle for just a few dollars.
  3. WiFi Sync from Outlook to DejaOffice App on Android:  Wi-Fi uses your local Wi-Fi router to mediate a sync connection to your Android phone.  This is handy if you don’t like plugging your phone in all day, and don’t have a Bluetooth connection.  All you need here is a local Wi-Fi router that both your PC and your Phone are connected to.  CompanionLink’s Wi-Fi sync is fully encrypted, so even though the sync goes through an unsecured router, it is protected using a password and AES256 level encryption (very strong).  Most people consider this to be HIPAA compliant, but check with your compliance team to be sure.
  4. DejaCloud Sync from Outlook to DejaOffice App on Android:  CompanionLink offers a very fast cloud sync system called DejaCloud.  There is an online app called DejaOffice CRM Live.  With this system, your PC and your phone both synchronizes to the online database.  With this system, you can be in-sync even when you are traveling away from your office.  Everything is live, so if you enter a note, and the drop your phone into Disneyland’s Tom Sawyer lagoon,  the note will be safely stored on your Outlook PC.  DejaCloud supports simultaneous sync to multiple phones and PCs, and is the perfect solution if you use a phone and tablet, or a PC and Mac.
  5. CompanionLink Secure Hosted Wireless to DejaOffice App on Android:  CompanionLink offers a HIPAA compliant secure system.  This system does not store your data online.  Think of it like an email system, when the email is received, it is no longer on the server.  In this case, when your phone gets the contact and calendar data, the server is wiped clean and empty.  Because the server is clean, each device needs a separate account.  So this is a point-to-point wireless system.
  6. CompanionLink to Google, with Google Sync to your Android Phone:  If you don’t need categories or tasks to sync, then you can use Google Sync for Contacts and Calendar.  This is a lightweight solution for people who find the Android Contacts and Android Calendar sufficient for their Outlook needs.  Just set up CompanionLink to go to Google, and use Google’s onboard synchronization for the rest.  The best advantage here is that if you find you need your Categories or your Tasks, you can switch to one of the other methods for Free!
  7. Office 365 Cloud to DejaOffice App on your Android Phone via USB, WI-Fi, DejaCloud or Google:  If you don’t use Outlook on the PC, but only use Office 365 Cloud (formerly called Hotmail), you still have a number of options to synchronize.  The advantage here is that DejaOffice acts just like Outlook on your Android phones.  You have access to your Contacts, Calendar and Tasks, and you can easily create a Task from a Calendar event or Contact just as you would in Outlook.
  8. Use DejaOffice Live to connect from Office 365 to DejaOffice App on Android:  You can set up DejaCloud Sync for your device (item 4 above) but connect it directly to your Office 365 Cloud data.  This sync run without any software on your PC.  So you can turn your PC off, make a change in Office 365, and see it on your phone within seconds.  DejaCloud Connectors work for other Cloud Apps like SalesForce and InfusionSoft.
  9. Use DejaOffice Live to connect from Office 365 to Google:  A quick and easy Cloud-to-Cloud connector automates sync from Office 365 to your Google Android account.  Setup is entirely online, so you don’t even need to run CompanionLink on your PC.  It’s completely automatic, so you never have to think about hitting a button or connecting a cable.

CompanionLink works with any version of Outlook, including Outlook 2013, Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2007.  For all of these solutions, you can get a two week free trial from CompanionLink to try it out.  If you choose to purchase the service it costs just $14.95 per quarter for a subscription, or $49.95 for a one-time  purchase.  Type in the Affinity code BLOG to get $10 off the one-time purchase, just for reading to the end of this blog.  Once you purchase, you can install CompanionLink on up to three of  your computers, and call our live US based telephone technical support.  CompanionLink also offers Premium Support (dedicated phone line and expert tech, for people with sophisticated synchronizing needs) and a RunStart service where a technician logs onto your computer the set up what you need.

CompanionLink cures Google Calendar Sync Error 2016

Multiple reports starting the afternoon of Monday, August 5 confirm the much-rumored demise of the Google Calendar Sync utility. People who were able to sync Monday morning report getting Error 2016 later in the day. It appears Google has left the building for MS Outlook Calendar sync for free Gmail accounts.

People are turning to 3rd-party apps to fill the void. The right app for you depends on which specifics you value and the total cost of ownership.

Some things to factor in your decision:

  • will one license purchase allow install on all of your PCs
    • CompanionLink allows install on 3 PCs
  • what are the support options (forum, email, phone, chat) in case you need help
    • CompanionLink offers phone and email support no cost
  • how long has the company been in business
    • CompanionLink has supported Google Calendar sync since 2006 and in business since 1988
  • is there a free trial
    • CompanionLink offers a free 14-day trial
  • is there a no-questions-asked refund policy
    • CompanionLink has a 90-day no-questions-asked policy
  • what is the software update policy
    • CompanionLink offers free software updates
  • what other fields are synced
    • CompanionLink sync Google calendar, categories, contacts, tasks, and contact photos
  • price
    • CompanionLink is $39.95 after discount code ALTGCS is applied

Is the Fire Phone for business users?

This review focuses on business productivity with the Amazon Fire Phone.

TLDR Version: Fire Phone’s stock apps for Email, Contacts, Calendar, and Tasks are amateurish when compared to Galaxy S5. A shadow behind every text heading that changes dynamically with phone movements will annoy business users. The 3D Dynamic Perspective feature, while cool, distracts from flat-design principles the mobile industry is pivoting to.

One clever feature on Fire Phone is snippets on the homescreen. You can see 2-3 recent emails on the homescreen. This snippet area is app-specific, so useful snippets show on the homescreen for every app. Saves a lot of time.

Fire Phone packs new software and visuals but lacks the streamlined experience business users expect from $200 phones like Samsung or HTC. Future versions of Fire Phone will, undoubtedly, arrive more polished. Hat tip to Amazon for foraying into competitive territory and establishing their unique mark based on software.

Business category missing on Amazon Appstore

While the Appstore has categories, it fails to include a category for Business. Huh? Android historians will recall early versions of Android Market (now Google Play Store) also lacked a Business category. Perhaps this will come with time.Amazon Appstore has no Business category

 

Stock Calendar app

Fire Phone’s stock calendar app is sleek and mirrors the Galaxy S5. The one drawback in Month view is that you cannot determine how many appointments you have for a given day without tapping on the day and entering Day view. On GS5, each appointment comes with a snippet so you know at a glance how busy your day is.

Multiple appointments are hard to see on Fire Phone Calendar Month view

Adding a Calendar Event

Both devices have common appointment fields like Start/End times, Location, and Attendees. The GS5 lets you select Timezone, which might be important to travel warriors.

Also, the Location field on GS5 has a Google Maps icon that lets you use a map to pick a location. Fire Phone’s Location field is text entry.

Fire Phone stock calendar app missing Timezone

Email snippets on your home screen

Fire Phone has a clever homescreen snippets feature that shows your latest email messages. Because Fire Phone use a carousel theme on the homescreen, they use the space below the app icon to show you snippets related to your app. The carousel for Settings, for example, will show you popular settings.

Fire Phone shows email snippets on home screen

Fire Phone’s email app borrows font-styling from iOS and is better than most stock Samsung or HTC mail apps. I was able to set up my Outlook.com account in seconds. ActiveSync accounts are fully supported, as this BusinessInsider article confirms.

Fire Phone's email app uses text styling similar to iOS

Homescreen slider menu

Swipe on the left edge of the homescreen on Fire Phone and a convenient slider emerges. You can access popular features of your phone right from this menu. What kills the experience is the 3D texture behind the letters. As you can see from this image, it adds a subtle layer of “blur” around the text which may drive business users nuts.

Fire Phone homescreen slider menu

Mayday is responsive, as you would hope

Fire Phone’s personal help feature works. I was able to get “Steven” online with me in less than 30 seconds. During the wait, a message reassures me that Mayday only shares my screen and not anything through my forward-facing camera.

The reaction from the business community will be interesting to monitor. On one hand Mayday is a lifesaver for professionals who need to fix something immediately. On another hand, being one-click away from someone viewing what’s on your screen may be troubling. You decide.

Fire Phone Mayday is responsive

Final thoughts

Fire Phone v1 is naive for business users. If you like the latest technology and a new spin on software gimmicks, try it out. You might enjoy their fresh approach. If you want a mature Android phone, the Galaxy S5, HTC One, or a similar Android unit earns my $200.

The most complete alternative to the sunset Google Calendar Sync utility

Multiple reports are in that Google Calendar Sync will become sunset on August 1, 2014. People are receiving an email from Google’s “The Calendar Team” as follows:

Important Announcement about Google Calendar Sync

Almost two years ago, we announced that we ended support for Google Calendar Sync. Starting on August 1, 2014, this app will no longer sync events between your Google Calendar and Microsoft Outlook Calendar.

You can continue to access all of your Google Calendar events at calendar.google.com or on your mobile devices. Follow these instructions to uninstall Google Calendar Sync from your computer.

- The Calendar Team

Google’s notice appears to imply more than we are not going to support this product. It means the sync functionality may cease due to a change at the API level (programmatic). Google appears to be forcing a shut down of Calendar Event sync between Google Calendar and Outlook Calendar.

This gives existing users 20 days to scramble to find a solution. There are many on the market. Choose one that matches your needs for features, use on multiple PCs or in a household scenario, and technical support options. Don’t overlook the support options. Many business users don’t have time to post questions on forums and moderate answers. They want the ability to pick up the phone and talk to an expert to get answers and their Google integration working. Support is a valuable consideration to the business community.

CompanionLink for Google is our product that comes with free telephone support and handles two-way sync between Google Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, and Groups and Outlook contacts, calendar, tasks, and categories.  The product can also sync multiple Google Calendars to Outlook. Members of the same household can use one license, and business users can install the product on their home and work PCs. Updates are always free.

Gmail, Google, and all Google Apps accounts are supported. Outlook 2013, 2010, 2007, 2003, and 2000 are supported. The product is available as a one-time license for $49.95. Enter ALTGCS on the order form and save $10 on your purchase. If you wish to purchase 20+ licenses for your organization, email us to get a volume purchase discount.

Here’s a full list of data CompanionLink synchronizes.

Calendar

  • Google Calendar syncs to Outlook Calendar
  • Full event details
  • Recurring and all-day events
  • Alarms/reminders
  • Accepted meeting invites (with attendee list)
  • Sync to multiple Outlook calendars (requires upgrade to CompanionLink Professional)

Contacts

  • Google Contacts syncs to Outlook Contacts
  • Names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses
  • Google Groups sync to Outlook Categories
  • Contact notes
  • Birthdays
  • Contact photos
  • Up to 9 custom fields in Outlook

Tasks

  • Outlook Tasks sync to Google Tasks or Google Calendar (you choose)
  • Task priorities
  • Recurring tasks
  • Due dates

Groups/Categories

  • Google Groups sync to Outlook Categories

How to synchronize Act! v16 and Office 365

Businesses who upgrade to Office 365 need a way to tie Act! CRM data with Office 365 cloud accounts. These cloud accounts are powered by Exchange ActiveSync technology that all mobile device manufacturers support. If you can sync Act! with Office 365, you can use the cloud to serve as an integration hub to phones, tablets and desktop email software with contacts and calendar storage. For example, people can store Act! contacts, activities, notes, and histories on Android, iPhone, iPad, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, and PCs and Macs with Outlook desktop clients.

Act! with Office 365

Office 365 serves as an Exchange ActiveSync connection to phones, tablets, PC, and Mac.

CompanionLink has both individual and server software that keeps Act! synchronized with Office 365 accounts. Data synchronizes automatically for a set-and-forget experience.

“Office 365 is here to stay and businesses want to make sure their CRM isn’t left behind,” says Rushang Shah, Director of Marketing for CompanionLink Software. “CompanionLink can extend Act! contacts, activities and client history to your Office 365 subscription.”

Alternatively, you can set CompanionLink to synchronize Act! securely and direct to Outlook 2013 desktop software that comes bundled with Office 365 subscriptions. This creates a secure cloud-free setup for people who choose not to host client data, notes, and history in the cloud. With a feature called DoubleLook Mode, CompanionLink automates the Outlook sync. Here is a convenient setup guide for using Outlook 2013 without the Office 365 cloud.

Visit www.companionlink.com/office365/act for more information about Act! to Office 365 integration.

For advanced Act! users who want an Act!-like app on their mobile device, we have a free app called DejaOffice CRM (Andriod, iOS, Windows Phone, Blackberry) with views for Act! fields like Notes, Histories, Linked Activities, and Groups (ID/Status). The app syncs direct to Act! using DejaCloud, USB, or Wi-Fi technology. More info here.