CompanionLink provides solution for reluctant Cloud users like Chi Onwurah

CompanionLink is humbled to read about our customer Chi Onwurah, Labour shadow Cabinet Office minister and MP for Newcastle Central, UK.  In her article “Reluctantly and unhappily moving to the cloud,” Ms. Onwurah writes of her experience moving from Palm devices to Apple and Android.

The points raised are valid, and we note two things:

  1. All cloud services rely on passwords stored on the device. Any stored password is subject to loss of the device and hacking into the cloud vendor’s online database.
  2. Cloud vendors may use your stored data for advertising, or they can share your data with outside firms, government agencies, and even foreign governments.  Ms. Onwurah notes that because she is a UK Cabinet Minister, storing her contacts in the cloud may violate national standards since some cloud databases are now known to be sharing information with governments like USA.

CompanionLink urges Ms. Onwurah to continue using the CompanionLink synchronization that she has used for her prior phones.  We continue to support cloud-free synchronization for every new phone and tablet on the market, including new iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone devices.  We supply secure USB sync for these devices, just like the old Palm Hotsync.  With connected sync, your data is not shared or stored with any cloud server, and no password is needed.

In addition to USB Sync, CompanionLink offers two options for encrypted wireless sync.

  1. CompanionLink Wi-Fi sync uses AES-256 bit encryption, the strongest allowed, even for data moving from your PC to your device in the same office.
  2. CompanionLink Secure Wireless Sync transfers data to your device over-the-air without storing your data on a cloud server.

Both of these technologies are password-based, but the password that is used is local to you, and is used solely for passing the data in a stream that discourages decryption.

CompanionLink is a proven provider of synchronization systems, having supported Contact and Calendar devices since in 1988 and Casio BOSS, the first connected organizer.

We thank Ms. Onwurah for using CompanionLink in the past, and we encourage her to continue using CompanionLink with her new phones, whether they are Apple, Android or whatever comes next.  CompanionLink will keep providing secure ways to stay mobile, without forcing anyone to share their contact and calendar information with unknown or unaccountable systems and parties.

Understanding Office 365 vs Office 2013

The difference is bigger than you think, especially for your pocketbook.

Office 365 is a subscription service that gives you a license to download Microsoft Office 2013 to your desktop or laptop. Your PC Office applications (Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint) can be set up to automatically update your Office 365 Cloud account that comes with the subscription.

Office 2013 is the desktop Microsoft Office suite for the traditional one-time cost. There are no subscription fees because you are not using the Office 365 cloud account.

Your Best Deal

The following guidelines are based on our understanding of common use cases. Your specific needs may mean there is a better deal than our guidelines.

The best deal depends on a few general things:

  1. Are you a single user, or do you need Office for multiple users or multiple PCs?
  2. Do need or want the Cloud to access your Office applications?
  3. Do you upgrade every time a new version of Office is released?


Choose Desktop Office 2013 (one-time cost) if…

If you are a single user and do not upgrade Office often (historically, new versions have been available every 3 years), Desktop Office 2013 for a one-time cost starting at $219 per person is the best deal. You will save on annual subscription fees.

If you are a small business and do not upgrade your version of Office often and do not need the cloud, Desktop Office 2013 for a one-time cost starting at $219 per person is your cheapest option.

Choose Office 365 subscriptions if…

If you are a single user and upgrade your version of Office every time a new version is available, Desktop Office 2013 one-time cost starting at $219 per person remains your best deal. However, for about $75 more over the span of three years (the average time to a new version), you may enjoy the convenience of Office applications and data in the Office 365 cloud and Exchange email service.

If you are a household with multiple computers, Office 365 Home Premium subscription is your best deal. For $99 per year, your entire household gets Desktop Office 2013, Office 365 Cloud, Exchange email service, and free upgrades to future versions of Office.

If you are small business that upgrades often or needs the Cloud, the Office 365 Small Business Premium subscription is your best deal for $150 per user.

Integration with Phones and Tablets

Office 365 subscriptions are set up as Microsoft Exchange accounts. This means you can set up an Exchange Account on any mobile device and get your Office 365 Email, Contacts, and Calendar.

If you need tasks, notes, and categories on your mobile, or if are looking for an Outlook-like app for your phone or table, use the DejaOffice app available for Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry. It integrates your mobile device with Outlook 365 and Desktop Office Outlook 2013.

For documents, users of Apple iPhone and iPad can download the Office Mobile for Office 365 subscribers app (iPhone/iPad, Android). You can access Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents.

JUMP! needs the Cloud to jump-start new devices

People using JUMP! will need an efficient way to move personal and business data from one device to another. A cloud-based data hub like Google (currently free, ad-supported), Outlook.com (currently free, ad-supported), or DejaCloud (currently free, no ads) is the answer because they enable calendar, address book, notes, and task lists to move from one device to another with just a username.  People who are averse to hosting data in the Cloud can opt for CompanionLink’s USB software to move their data.

Why JUMP! changes everything

On July 11, 2013, T-Mobile announced a radical change to how often people can upgrade devices.  Their JUMP! upgrade program allows existing customers to swap devices two times in 12 months for the same low price that new customers receive. For example, if you own an iPhone 5 and want to switch to a Samsung Galaxy S4, JUMP! allows this for the same price (currently $99 on T-Mobile’s website) that new customers receive. Essentially, you can trade-in for a new smartphone every 6 months for about $100.

Wow, talk about a game-changing move.

This raises the bar for other wireless carriers and reinforces how people yearn to consume new mobile hardware. With the pace of new devices increasing (Moore’s law on steroids), T-Mobile is simply offering a way for people to rent their device instead of owning it for  waiting archaically long (two years) to upgrade.

Who benefits the most from JUMP!

Business professionals and consumers who want to frequently upgrade devices or use the latest-and-greatest will love JUMP!. The plan allows them to “lease” devices instead of being locked into the ownership of one device every 24 months.

T-Mobile’s offer appears to be a win-win because customers get to switch phones at a low price while T-Mobile still carries customers for a 2-year term, which resets with every phone upgrade. History points to win-win situations sticking around for a long time, and changing the game.

Disposable devices just got one step closer to reality.

BB10 sync

BlackBerry 10 arrives on January 30. BB10 sync to standalone Microsoft Outlook is a topic that no one is talking about. If your company runs a Microsoft Exchange Server, BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 will manage over-the-air sync of Outlook data to BlackBerry 10 devices. People without Microsoft Exchange who are using the version of Microsoft Outlook that came with MS Office are left without any tools for bb10 sync.

Google Sync end-of-life affects BB10 devices

Google’s end of life announcement for free Google Sync services devastates BB10 users with Outlook. People with free Gmail accounts can no longer sync Outlook to Gmail to BB10 devices.  This directly affects standalone Outlook users because their data is now isolated on an island (ie – Outlook) with no options from RIM to get the data to BB10 devices. Legacy BlackBerry devices used BlackBerry Desktop Manager to solve this problem. However, BBDM will not ship with BB10 devices.

CompanionLink announces BB10 sync for standalone Outlook

CompanionLink will offer direct BB10 sync support for standalone Microsoft Outlook. BB10 sync options will include USB sync that works similar to BlackBerry Desktop Manager, and DejaCloud sync that works over-the-air. CompanionLink will ship their BB10 sync solution the same day the first BB10 devices arrive in people’s hands. Support for Outlook 2000, 2003, 2007, 2010, and 2013 will be included. For more info on BB10 sync, bookmark this page that will be updated by CompanionLink as more news about BB10 emerges.

Phablet sync

Phablet appears to be the latest literary phenomenon that will become a household name.  A phablet is a smartphone with a large enough screen to encroach on the definition of a tablet.  Huffington Post writes about the ire the term phablet is beginning to draw.  Samsung Galaxy Note can be credited as being the first mainstream device to challenge the sacred phone/tablet threshold.  (Dell made a valiant attempt to crack the phablet marketing with Dell Streak. However, they didn’t have the marketing cloud of Samsung.)

The first Galaxy Note device had a 5.3-inch screen.  Galaxy Note II stretched the limits even further with a 5.5-inch screen.  Galaxy Note III is rumored to have a gargantuan 6.3-inch display.

Phablet sync with phones and computers

The linchpin behind phablets is to achieve nirvana between desktop productivity and the mobile form factor.  People with mobile devices do not want to squint to read tiny, high-resolution font.  They hate being given a 10×10 pixel area button that accurately engages on only 60% of their tap attempts.  People who want a “large enough” screen for business productivity in a pocket-able form factor turn to phablets.

Phablet sync is a key factor in mobile productivity.  Business users of phablets need  a way to get their contact records and calendar agenda onto their phablet.  With phablets going mainstream, PC to phablet sync and smartphone to phablet sync will be in demand.

CompanionLink offers a simple solution for this called DejaCloud.  With one username and password, contacts and calendar information will be synchronized between PC, smartphone, and phablet.  This technology is available today for phablet early-adopters.

BlackBerry Link Outlook sync

BlackBerry Link Outlook sync screenshot

Source: Rapidberry.net

Industry blogs shows that RIM will replace BlackBerry Desktop Manager with a product called BlackBerry Link with their new BlackBerry OS 10 launch. Screenshots leaked on various blogs show BlackBerry Link will manage pictures, music, video, and documents. However, there have been no screenshots showing support for BlackBerry Link Outlook Sync. Will RIM abandon their reliable USB sync between Microsoft Outlook and BlackBerry?

CompanionLink plans to support synchronization between Microsoft Outlook and BlackBerry OS 10 devices. You can choose from USB sync (works like BlackBerry Desktop Manager) or secure DejaCloud wireless sync. Please bookmark this website to stay current with the our latest news about BlackBerry 10 Outlook sync.

Outlook 2013 with Gmail (end of life for Exchange ActiveSync)

Integrating Outlook 2013 with Gmail just got a little more complicated. Google announced that they will cease support for Google Sync (which runs on Exchange ActiveSync technology) for new users on January 30, 2013. New Gmail accounts will not be able to use Exchange ActiveSync without a paid Google Apps account.

Here’s a workaround for integrating Outlook 2013 with Gmail.

1. Set up Outlook 2013 with Gmail IMAP to get email capabilities in Outlook.

A. Set up your Gmail acccount with IMAP.
Incoming Mail (IMAP) Server – Requires SSL
– imap.gmail.com
– Port: 993
– Requires SSL:Yes

B. Outgoing Mail (SMTP) Server – Requires TLS
– smtp.gmail.com
– Port: 465 or 587
– Requires SSL: Yes
– Requires authentication: Yes
– Use same settings as incoming mail server

C. Full Name or Display Name: [your name]

D. Account Name or User Name: [your full Gmail address] (user…@gmail.com). Google Apps users, please enter user…@your_domain.com

E. Email address:your full Gmail address (user…@gmail.com) Google Apps users, please enter user…@your_domain.com

F. Password: [your Gmail password]

2. Use the CompanionLink for Google tool to sync Outlook 2013 with Gmail.

CompanionLink will sync Outlook and Gmail contacts, calendar, and tasks. It’s available as a free trial for 14 days. Just $14.95 to buy and works on multiple PCs.

Credit steps in #1 above to Tiaan.

How Will You Sync the iPhone 5?

Most of the tech news today is focused on Apple’s announcement of the new iPhone 5. The new device is stunning and we’re just as excited as you to get our hands on one. As we have with each new iPhone release, CompanionLink is fully committed to supporting sync with the iPhone 5 as soon as it’s available. What exactly does that mean?


DejaOffice – A Complete CRM for iPhone 5

DejaOffice is a business-friendly CRM app for the new iPhone 5 that includes contacts, calendar, tasks, notes, and expense capabilities. Why use DejaOffice instead of the native iPhone 5 apps? It’s simple: DejaOffice was built to support advanced CRMs like Sage ACT!, Lotus Notes, Salesforce.com, and Outlook Business Contact Manager (just to name a few).

  • DejaOffice supports color-coded categories. Many CRM systems use color categorization to keep data organized. CompanionLink supports the syncing of categories and their respective colors to DejaOffice on the iPhone 5, allowing you to filter and sort your records by category.DJOI - Categories
  • DejaOffice keeps your private data safe and secure – password protect sensitive records in your database. Records can be masked with asterisks ******** or hidden completely.DJOI - Private Records
  • Link contacts with calendar events, tasks, notes, and expenses like a true CRM. Linked records sync back to your CRM with the link intact.DJOI - Linked Records
  • DejaOffice allows your data to sync with the native Apple contacts and calendar, so features like caller ID and calendar alarms still work fine.

We’re currently working on adapting DejaOffice to the larger screen on the iPhone 5. We’ll be ready for launch day!


CompanionLink is iCloud-friendly

iCloud has been a success for Apple ever since it launched not too long ago. This is great if you work from a Mac, but what if your business data is in a CRM like ACT! or Palm Desktop?

CompanionLink can sync your PIM or CRM data to the iCloud folders in Microsoft Outlook. This means that your data will automatically sync with the iCloud service and your new iPhone 5, allowing you to access your business data while benefiting from the convenience of iCloud.

iCloud is great as long as you stay within Apple’s ecosystem, but what if you want to venture out and pick up an Android tablet or Kindle Fire? CompanionLink is currently working on our own cross-platform cloud service call DejaCloud. When it becomes available, DejaCloud will allow you to keep your PC, iPhone 5, and Android devices all seamlessly in sync. We expect DejaCloud to become available for iPhone 5 this winter!


The Best Fit for your CRM

CompanionLink can sync iPhone 5 with a wide variety of PIM and CRM databases. DejaOffice preserves your CRM data, and makes it easily accessible, even when offline. Why choose CompanionLink and DejaOffice for your CRM?

iPhone 5 with Sage ACT!
-No record limits
-Activities can be completed on the phone
-Supports proper international dialing formats
-Categories are set based on ID/Status or any other ACT! field
-Contact links to activities are preserved

iPhone 5 with Outlook Business Contact Manager
-Select which BCM folders you wish to sync with
-Syncs contact links from calendar events and tasks
-Supports Outlook category colors on the phone

iPhone 5 with Lotus Notes
-Syncs all Lotus Notes data, including custom recurring types
-Supports Lotus Notes categories
-No Domino server required

CompanionLink works with many other CRM databases in addition to the ones mentioned above. CompanionLink starts at $14.95 and comes with free email and phone support. To purchase CompanionLink, download a free trial, or for more information, please visit:
www.companionlink.com/iphone/

The killer feature Windows Phone 8 needs to make a dent in the smartphone wars

Android is the brand of choices. They let you pick your carrier, color, and device maker.  Android offers options and flexibility.  Apple iPhone is the brand for a magical ecosystem that works in harmony if you use their phone, apps, and computers.  The user experience is unparalleled.

And Windows Phone plans to make a dent…?

They can indeed.  The answer lies in looking at the past and coming to terms with their core.  Once upon a time, people preferred the old Microsoft Windows Mobile devices over popular BlackBerry and Palm Treo options because of the tight integration Microsoft delivered with business software like Exchange, ActiveSync, Microsoft Outlook, Word, Excel, and other business apps.  Windows Mobile shipped with a fluent user experience (much like Apple today) if you lived within Microsoft’s software, back-end, and phones.

The key to Windows Phone 8 making a dent is to reintroduce tight integration to their own business software suite of Microsoft Office.  It’s surprising (and ridiculous) this even needs to be stated.  Here’s an 86-page(!) and growing thread of frustrated people who just want their old ActiveSync desktop client back for plain old USB sync between a Windows Phone and Microsoft Outlook.  This is yester-year’s technology folks!  No breakthrough needed — just bring it back!

In the push towards cloudifying everything, Microsoft has forgotten their past.  At their core, they are a company focused on the productivity audience.  MS Office is still their breadwinner and still the go-to app for people at work, home, school, fill in the blank…

Just a thought.

Unlimited Outlook sync for people buying the Galaxy S2 on T-Mobile’s new unlimited internet access plans

T-Mobile and Walmart are offering the Samsung Galaxy S2 off-contract for $299.  You sign up with T-Mobile’s new unlimited internet access (data) and texting for just $30 per month. No annual subscriptions.

That’s a great offer for people averse to contracts. Granted, the S2 is an older phone.  But it is one of the most popular Android devices ever!

Folks will need a way to load their contacts and calendar events on their S2.  CompanionLink offers software to load your S2 with data from popular PC apps like Microsoft Outlook.  The 14-day trial is free and offers unlimited data sync. If you wish to continue synchronizing, prices start as low as $14.95.