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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Fusk03iTEI

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 1280×720 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!

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.

PSA: Secure Your Mobile Devices

Think about all the data you have on your phone. These days, that’s more than just a list of phone numbers. We have email accounts, social networking profiles, mobile banking, private notes and documents, and so much more. If our phones were lost and consequently found by someone with less than honest intentions, the list of potentially compromised information would be daunting.

But just how bad could losing your phone be? Symantec recently decided to find out. They intentionally “lost” 50 Android smartphones across various large cities in the US and Canada. Each device was loaded with what appeared to be private data and fitted with special software that allowed Symantec to track what happened. The results? Well, they’re not promising.

Over 95% of the time, those who found the lost device made an attempt to access data such as email or online banking information. 

Let that sink in for a minute. Based on the results of this study, it is safe to assume that if you lose your phone, someone will be poking through all your private and personal data. On a slightly happier note, some sort of attempt was made to return the phone about half the time. But even in those cases most people went snooping around first. Some even directly admitted to doing so, apologizing after the fact. Check out the full report here [PDF].

The moral of the story? Ensure your data is secure! Whether this is through a passcode or gesture based lock, remote wipe capabilities, encrypted data, private records (in the case of DejaOffice), or some combination of these. Your phone simply contains too much personal data to remain unsecured in some way.

CompanionLink Supports Syncing the Lumia 710 with Outlook

Don’t let its simple design and unassuming price fool you – the Lumia packs a lot of bang for your buck. It really is a nice phone for the money.

Featuring a 1.4GHz processor, 3.7” display, and 8GB of storage, the Lumia 710 is a nice, mid-level device when it comes to the specs. And at the low price of free on contract from T-Mobile, it’s easily one of the best buys for those who want a great smartphone, but don’t need something with the power (or price) of the Galaxy Nexus or DROID RAZR, for example.

Image Credit: TechForwards.comThe Lumia 710 runs the latest version of Windows Phone – 7.5, or “Mango” as it’s often referred to. Combined with the great price, the unique tile-based interface of the Windows Phone platform has made the Lumia 710 one of the more popular devices on T-Mobile.

Just like its older brother, the Lumia 800, CompanionLink supports syncing the Lumia 710 with Outlook. In fact, we offers two methods to sync Outlook contacts, calendar and tasks with the Lumia 710 – syncing through Google or via Window Live Hotmail. For Outlook users who aren’t on an Exchange server, these sync options make getting your data onto your phone fast and easy.

For more info on our Windows Phone sync options, check out www.companionlink.com/windowsphone/.

Apple Unveils Their Latest iPad

Apple announced the latest update to their iPad line today, dubbed simply “the iPad.” It would seem that Apple is moving away from the numbered naming system. Don’t let the name fool you, however, the new iPad is a significant improvement on the iPad 2 in many ways.

Image Credit: Apple

Apple's new iPad

Perhaps the most notable difference is the new 2048×1536 pixel Retina display. The hi-res screen makes images and videos pop with unparalleled clarity. Add in the optional 4G LTE speeds, quad core graphics processor, enhanced camera, and built-in dictation features, and you get the most powerful iPad yet, and perhaps the most powerful consumer tablet currently available. Learn all about the new iPad over at Apple’s site: https://www.apple.com/ipad.

And if you need to sync the new iPad with Outlook & more, CompanionLink and DejaOffice will work right out of the box! The core operating system is the same, and we’re already testing iOS 5.1 – the update version that the new iPad will ship with – on our current iPads. Watch this blog for any updates on that.

In the meantime, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the new iPad. Will you be buying one?

What Does Google’s New Privacy Policy Mean To You?

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Google is changing their privacy policy. Some people don’t really care; others are up in arms. Where do you fall on the spectrum?

If you don’t have an answer to that, I strongly recommend you take the time to read and understand Google’s new policies. Knowing how they intend to use your data is important to your personal and professional lives. How it affects you is ultimately for you to decide.

But you should decide.

So what are Google’s new policies? In brief, they’re consolidating. Sixty privacy policies are now becoming one. One that uses simpler language and terms. One that allows Google to share data between their services, such as Gmail and Google Maps. One that goes into effect March 1, 2012. Read all the details.

For many of us, the convenience of having our data hosted and accessible anywhere is well worth agreeing to Google’s new terms. Others – largely business professionals – may not be able to afford that luxury.

Many professionals, such as doctors and lawyers, cannot allow their customers’ data to be stored in an online environment like Google’s.

Sync options like our own Direct USB or Local WiFi are perfect for these professionals. They allow access to customer data while mobile without storing it online. It’s simple, fast, and convenient.

For the rest of us currently storing our data on Google’s servers, however, knowing just what we’re agreeing to is important. So, again, ask yourself the question, “What does Google’s new privacy policy mean to me?”

Maybe it adds a new level of convenience for you. Maybe it will cause you to look for a new sync solution. Maybe it elicits an entirely different response. Either way, I think finding out for yourself is important.

Over 25 New Smartphones and Tablets Unveiled At CES 2012

The 2012 Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas may be winding down, but things are just getting started at CompanionLink. By my count, over 25 new smartphones and tablets were announced at CES this year. They range from high-end smartphones to budget-friendly tablets, and from Android to Windows Phone.

As these devices are released over the next few months, we’ll be taking a closer look at them and testing them to ensure compatibility with CompanionLink and DejaOffice. It is our intention to support all of these new devices announced at CES. Stay tuned to the blog for updates on this!

And for those interested in what was announced at CES, but haven’t had time to parse through the countless articles, here’s a short list of just some of what you can look forward to over the next few months:

The Galaxy Note

The Galaxy Note from Samsung has been around internationally for a few months, but is finally coming to those of us in the US. Described as a “phablet” by some, this phone features a beautiful 5.3” screen and a stylus. It’s great for productivity buffs and creative types alike.

The Galaxy Nexus on Sprint

Another bit of good news from Samsung – the Galaxy Nexus is expanding its userbase to Sprint customers. No longer a Verizon exclusive, the Galaxy Nexus will be landing on Sprint’s new LTE network sometime in the next few months. With top-of-the-line specs and Android 4.0, it’s sure to be a popular phone among Sprint customers!

The Lumia 900 and Titan II

Not to be overshadowed by a host of Android announcements, the Windows Phone platform is gaining two great new devices. The Lumia 900 from Nokia improves upon the already quite popular Lumia 800. With a bigger screen, more cameras, a better battery life, and more, the Lumia 900 is sure to be a big hit.

HTC has put out a Windows Phone sequel of its own, as well. The Titan II may look similar to last year’s model, but it packs some exciting features of its own. Chief among them are 4G data and a 16-megapixel (yes, you read that right!) camera. Yet another Windows Phone device that is sure to do quite well!

The Eee Pad MeMO

While its name may sound a bit unassuming, the Eee Pad MeMO is a serious tablet. ASUS has worked a bit of magic on this one, you could say. It features a 7” screen, Android 4.0, and a quad-core processor (read: fast!) all for just $249. For those keeping score, that’s just $50 more than a Kindle Fire and the same prices as the Nook Tablet. If this tablet lives up to its specs, it will likely be quite difficult to keep on the shelves!