Will Nokia and Microsoft introduce first Windows Phone 8 device on September 5, 2012?

Fresh off of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10.1 announcement, Nokia and Microsoft have sent out invitations to a joint event to be held in New York on September 5.  Will this be the unveiling of the first Windows Phone 8 device?

Instead of fleeing to Android like every other device manufacturer has, Nokia has double-downed on the Windows Phone platform.  This presents a high-risk/high-reward situation for a company that is slowly climbing out of a financial slumber brought on by the onslaught of iPhone and Android.  Nokia is to the Windows Phone platform what Samsung is to Android.

Inconclusive is whether Windows Phone 8 really goes mainstream.  There exists a huge open niche in the business market.  BlackBerry is quickly losing their foothold in mobile business because of their antiquated operating system.  Android and iPhone have chosen to primarily focus on the consumer crowd by emphasizing audio, video, social media, and gaming.  Windows Phone 8 has an opportunity to take cater squarely to business people who have been forced to kludge together apps and solutions to get a business tool that works for them.  Wouldn’t a business mobile device be a great fit with Microsoft’s bread winner, Microsoft Office?

CompanionLink is watching Nokia and Microsoft closely.  As CompanionLink pivots to mobile business CRM, we’re hoping Windows Phone 8 aligns with business people also.  Yes, we’ll be there to support them.  Like Nokia, we may even double-down.

Galaxy Note a popular device for business professionals

Samsung confirms that they have sold 10 million Galaxy Note devices since its inception nine months ago. I can attest to the popularity of Galaxy Note to the business audience.  Without getting into specific numbers, the Galaxy Note is third to only Galaxy SIII and Galaxy SII for the business audience we sell to.

It appears that professionals on the go really need a device that’s just big enough to be productive on, but without the excess baggage or cost of a large display like the iPad.  Not their laptop.  Not a full-blown tablet.

CompanionLink offers a $14.95 complete solution for owners of a Galaxy Note to sync with their business data in Microsoft Outlook and many other popular CRM tools.

Hacked clouds

Steve Wozniak predicts that the Cloud is going to be a “horrendous” place in the near future. We tend to agree, if Woz is referring to large players in the cloud market who attract ire.

Amazon, Apple, Dropbox, and Google have all been in the news cycle this week due to hacked or breached data that is stored in their secure clouds. The only Goliath spared the doom and gloom is, ironically, Microsoft. Mat Honan’s situation has become the talk of the town. But for every Honan, there are many others whose cloud security plight doesn’t reach mainstream news.

With this week’s dust-up, it’s clear that while the marketing departments at each of these companies want you to believe that you own your data and everything is meticulously watched-after, what they really mean is anyone with half a brain can own your account and data if a few security questions are answered correctly to a customer service “specialist” who also happens to be a college student. (No offense against college students.)

None of this is new. Hacked clouds and online security breaches have been happening since Salesforce.com made “cloud” armchair language. However, the more dust that flies due to breaches, the harder it becomes for business decision makers to move their enterprises to the cloud. Imagine how many companies were close to migrating their enterprise to the cloud last week, only to have pulled the reigns and wait for a better day when they can look their customers in the eye.

What we need is the emergence of private clouds that are not run by the Goliaths who have a financially vested interest to mine, sell, advertise, or otherwise disclose your data.

Small private turnkey clouds are too mundane to catch the ire of hackers. Think of the Windows OS virus magnet compared to the fledgling Mac OS X in the early days. Fewer hackers went after OS X because Apple wasn’t Goliath (oh the irony) and didn’t have the aura of world dominance. Our society thrives on small underdogs who fight to provide a more honest experience to people.

Where are the honest private clouds?

Outlook 2010 with Outlook.com

Gregg from Computerworld has a very informative technical article about the new Outlook.com service Microsoft announced yesterday. In his article, we noticed this little nugget.

Outlook(.com) also syncs with Outlook 2013, the email client that’s part of the Office 2013 suite, which was released as a preview last month. It also synchronizes with the Metro-ized Mail app in Windows 8, although you’ll have to add your new Outlook.com to the app.

People using Outlook 2010 or older will not be able to sync with the new Outlook.com service without extra help. This is because the Outlook 2010 client does not support Exchange ActiveSync. However, there is a way to do it.

CompanionLink synchronizes Outlook 2010 contacts and calendar with Outlook.com.  (We can’t sync email. If you need email sync, check out this)  Set up CompanionLink for Outlook (free to try; $14.95 or higher to buy) to sync an Outlook.com / Windows Live account to Microsoft Outlook 2010.  Here’s what your configuration in CompanionLink should look like.

Sync Outlook 2010 to Outlook.com

 

 

 

CompanionLink supports two-way sync with Microsoft Office Outlook 2013

Early word from our R&D team is that CompanionLink will fully support Outlook 2013 Preview in our next software update. This means people can sync Outlook 2013 People (formerly known as Contacts), Calendar, Tasks, and Notes with the latest Android, iOS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry and webOS devices.  You can also sync Office 2013 with Google, Gmail, and Windows Live accounts.

We’re excited about Microsoft’s initiatives to merge the cloud with desktop platforms. CompanionLink is looking into ways to sync directly with Office 365.  Please bookmark this blog post and we’ll update it as we learn more. There is lots more to come.

One thing the rumored Facebook phone can do to win business users (it’s not what you think!)

Answer: build into the phone an efficient way to sync with Microsoft Outlook (the most popular contact, calendar, and email software on the planet).

Many small and medium businesses don’t use an Exchange Server.  They can’t afford one or the maintenance costs required to keep the behemoth running. Also, most folks are super-scared to host their data online. They’ve heard the tug-n-war stories between who really owns your data, and who does what with your data. They know any time you put something into the cloud, chances are it will be parsed by some robot or spider. Depending on who the spider’s owner is, that data is often used to sell services, ads, or other things.

All business people want is a phone that plugs into their business tools without having to download apps. Just make it possible out of the box – a simple way to get their email, contacts, and calendar to work in both Outlook and their phone.

Email is easy. Just set up Outlook and your phone to use IMAP. Viola. Done.

Contacts and calendar need a simple solution that’s similar to (dare we say) 15-year-old  called HotSync.

  1. Plug your phone into the PC
  2. Watch your data sync automatically.
  3. Done. As in, “Yes, it is really that simple.”

Now that Facebook is grown up (viz. publicly traded), they need to pay more attention to business users that represent a large (and paying) market.

Take our word for it because we’ve been catering to the business crowd with mobile devices for 20 years – they just want a phone that can manage their data in a simple way without any third-party apps. If Facebook can pull off this magic, they’ll instantly win over the business crowd even though they are shipping a social media phone. How ironic would that be?

Syncing the Samsung Galaxy S III

If you’re in the market for a new smartphone these days, odds are you’ve heard about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S III. If not, I’d encourage you to go read about it here.

Go ahead. We’ll wait.

The Galaxy S III’s predecessor, aptly name the Galaxy S II, has been one of the most popular Android phones among our customers over the past year. And based on what we’ve heard about the new Galaxy S III, we’re expecting it to be quite popular as well.

While we don’t have an S III in-house to test just yet, we do know enough about it to say with a high degree of confidence that CompanionLink will be able to sync with the S III right out of the box. Of course, once we get our hands on one, we’ll confirm this.

And if you just can’t wait another month or so for the S III to launch, we’re pretty big fans of the HTC One X too. And, of course, it syncs with CompanionLink!

Will a (virtual) keyboard save RIM and the BlackBerry device?

The biggest news item from BlackBerry World 2012 is the new virtual keyboard on the BB OS 10. It uses magic (e.g., predictive analysis and the like) to suggest words you are attempting to type before you can finish typing. You can simply flick the suggested words up to apply them.

Watch this video on YouTube.

Neat, but definitely not a leapfrog in technology. RIM really needs a leapfrog to stay relevant. Gartner predicts RIM has lost nearly half of their market to Apple and Google.

There’s a lot riding on this virtual keyboard.

Sync the HTC One X with Outlook

The HTC One X has made its official debut, and it’s earning its fair share of favorable reviews. In fact, it is quickly becoming a top contender for being the best Android smartphone on the market today.

The One X features a large 4.7” screen, yet maintains a rather slim profile and, as such,HTC One X doesn’t feel abnormally large. It’s a good size, overall. The 1280x720 display is also one of the best smartphone displays currently available, making interacting with the device a pleasure. It’s also loaded with a quad-core (or dual-core, if you’re in the US) processor, 1GB of RAM, and 4G LTE. In short, the One X is a big, beautiful, and lighting fast smartphone. No wonder the reviewers love it.

Of course, when it comes to syncing the HTC One X with Outlook, or any other personal or professional CRM, look no further than CompanionLink. Our sync solution is primed and ready for the HTC One X. We offer a variety of sync methods, including a revamped USB sync called DejaConnect created specifically with Ice Cream Sandwich in mind.

CompanionLink works by syncing Outlook data to our free Android app, DejaOffice. DejaOffice offers powerful, business-class contacts, calendars, tasks, memos, and more, making it ideal for those who need to get work done on the go. And when you’re back at the computer, syncing any changes back to Outlook is quick and easy.

For more information on how CompanionLink syncs the HTC One X, visit www.companionlink.com/phones/htc-one.html. And for our friends in the US, we can’t wait for the One X to land here as well!

Watch this video on YouTube.

An Update on Syncing With Android 4.0: Ice Cream Sandwich

CompanionLink fully supports two-way sync with Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) devices.

The latest version of Android, dubbed Ice Cream Sandwich, officially launched a few months back with the Galaxy Nexus. Beyond that, however, sightings of Ice Cream Sandwich on new or existing devices have been few and far between. That’s starting to change.

Just last week, HTC officially released the Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade for the Vivid on AT&T. The updates don’t stop there, though. AT&T announced plans to update 10 more Android smartphones and tablets in the near future. And that’s just from one carrier. The others are following suit as well.

At CompanionLink, we’ve had our hands on Ice Cream Sandwich for a while via our Galaxy Nexus. And we’ve been taking advantage of that. Not only have we ensured that DejaOffice runs properly on Android 4.0, but we’ve been busy adding features and improvements designed with this update in mind. For example, some Android 4.0 devices, like the Galaxy Nexus, don’t play nicely with out existing USB sync. To that end, we’ve developed an entirely new USB sync system. It’s even better than before, and it’s in beta right now. We’ll have more on that later.

We’re also taking the time to improve the interface and bring it more in line with the look and feel that Ice Cream Sandwich features. Expect to see those updates soon as well.

If you couldn’t already tell, we’re excited to see Ice Cream Sandwich come to more and more devices. We think it’s the best version of Android yet! But what about you? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.