Consolidate business and personal phones

Reports show people want to chuck one of their two devices. They want to establish a system that separates business and personal data on their (one) phone. Today’s smartphones are completely capable of mixing email, contact, schedule and task-management  functions with social media, browsing, and multimedia demands. All from one powerful and secure smartphone or tablet.

RIM is in the fight for their life to hang on to their business audience. It was no surprise that they focused their BlackBerry Playbook on business productivity. That’s traditionally been their stomping grounds. However, without the plethora of apps that Android and Apple have for their audience, RIM faces an uphill climb to gain the consumer audience. This poses a problem for people who are looking to consolidate devices.

Sprint launches Samsung Transform and Sanyo Zio; CompanionLink provides Outlook sync

Sync the Sanyo Zio with OutlookYesterday, Sprint launched two new mid-range Android handsets: The Samsung Transform and the Sanyo Zio. The Zio is a lightweight candybar with surprisingly powerful specs at an affordable price point. The Samsung Transform, featuring a slide-out keyboard, is a smaller more modest version of the Epic 4G. Both phones run Android 2.1.

Sync the Samsung Transform with OutlookThe Transform and the Zio feature Sprint ID, a new service from Sprint that allows users to download pre-compiled packs of apps that fit different needs. For example, the Sprint ID Business Pro pack includes many applications suited for business use, such as a business card reader and currency converter app. However, even with the extra apps, these phones do not offer a way to sync contacts, calendar, tasks and notes with Outlook. That’s where CompanionLink comes in.

CompanionLink offers two methods to sync the Samsung Transform and the Sanyo Zio with Outlook – wired USB sync and wireless sync via Google. USB sync works in conjunction with DejaOffice, a powerful suite of calendar, contacts, tasks and notes apps for Android devices. Two way sync is supported in both methods so that changes made on the phone will sync to the PC. For more info on how to sync Android devices with Outlook, and to download a 14-day free trial, visit www.companionlink.com/android

Business 101 (as taught by Palm): Don’t ignore your core users, RIM.

Get out your #2 pencils. Choose the best answer from the options below.

Palm’s biggest mistake with the webOS launch was:

  • A.  Poor operating system design
  • B.  Lack of apps
  • C.  Forgetting their legacy user base of Palm die-hards
  • D.  Those freaky commercials
  • Will RIM fail like Palm?

    If you read the heading, you know the answer is C (yeah, you can argue for D). Last year, Palm made a critical oversight when they introduced the Pre and Pixi with the new webOS operating system. They ignored their legacy users. Palm OS users were very dependent on Palm’s business-friendly organizer features and the ability to HotSync data with their PCs. As a consumer phone, Palm webOS didn’t offer a native sync with Palm Desktop and lacked core business functionality. The older Palm OS users were business users who were left scratching their heads when they saw the new Pre and Pixi. The end result was that many Palm die-hards felt neglected and lost whatever remaining loyalty they had. And look what happened to Palm.

    The launch of the iPhone 4 and influx of dozens of Android-based phones have begun to challenge RIM’s market share in a serious way. RIM’s comeback strategy centers around their new BlackBerry 6 OS (and newly announced tablet, the Playbook), offering crucial improvements in web and media support. BlackBerry 6 OS was launched in conjunction with the BlackBerry Torch.

    RIM also introduced a new version of their desktop software, BlackBerry Desktop 6. The older versions allowed third-party vendors to work as an add-in to support and sync data with BlackBerry devices. However, the new BlackBerry Desktop 6 broke support for most third-party add-ins (including CompanionLink, Ilium eWallet, and Ascendo DataVault) with no warning to customers, much to their frustration. Upon upgrading to Blackberry Desktop 6, thousands of users immediately lost crucial functionality.

    To further complicate problems, the new BlackBerry Desktop added support for Microsoft Outlook 2010 (used by millions), but only the 32-bit edition. BlackBerry Desktop 6 is incompatible with Outlook 2010 64-bit, with planned support sometime “in 2011”. While RIM has made large strides in improving their platform to stay competitive with Android and Apple, they must not forget that their primary competitive advantage has always been business integration (read also as: business users).

    RIM would be prudent to learn from Palm and not ignore their core market of business users. While it’s important for companies to pursue new technologies, completely shunning old customers and the things they value is not a sustainable business plan. RIM would be smart to pay attention to these lessons courtesy of Palm.

    How to sync the T-Mobile G2 with Outlook

    The T-Mobile G2 is a new Android slider, released today on (you get one guess) T-Mobile. Many new G2 owners are migrating from older BlackBerrys or Windows Mobile devices, and will be looking for a way to sync the G2 with Outlook. Google provides the free Google Calendar Sync tool to sync the primary Outlook calendar with any Google account. The T-Mobile G2 can automatically sync contacts and calendar with a Google account through its wireless data connection. However, Google provides no support to sync contacts or other data types, such as tasks and notes.

    CompanionLink offers two ways to sync the G2 with Outlook – wired USB sync and wireless sync through Google. CompanionLink’s wireless sync via Google supports two-way sync of contacts and calendar, and offers the ability to sync with any Outlook folder. CompanionLink can also sync Outlook tasks to the Google calendar as untimed entries.

    CompanionLink’s USB sync with the G2 works in tandem with an Android app called DejaOffice. DejaOffice is an integrated suite of calendar, contacts, tasks and notes apps for Android with support for advanced Outlook features such as color-coded categories and custom fields. Outlook data will sync to the DejaOffice business apps on the G2.

    CompanionLink is free for 14 days. For more information and to download the free trial, visit www.companionlink.com/g2

    Joe the Plumber (with a tablet)

    The business case for tablets

    In a PCWorld article, Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computer, insists that tablets like the iPad lower the cost of entry for computing.  This means people can save money by investing in tablets over traditional desktops and laptops.  The same holds true for businesses.  The benefits are numerouscheaper devices, cheaper software (apps), lower IT maintenance costs due to lack of viruses for tablets and other user-inflicted harm.

    Imagine a plumber (named Joe) showing up to fix a leak under your kitchen sink.  Joe uses his tablet to take a picture of the broken part in question.  The picture is automatically sent to his company’s database.  The database sends back a schematic drawing of the part.  Joe shows you the drawing, rotates it, and zooms into exactly the area of the part that is broken.  Joe taps on the area and gets a list of options to fix.  A button to Replace the part is also there.  Tapping that button, Joe shows you a 10-second animation of how the part will be replaced.  Tapping another button, Joe shows you a list of local stores that carry that part and their prices.  He also tells you how much you can save if Joe goes through his supplier of choice.

    I’d hire Joe.  Not only did he fix the problem, but he gave me options and educated me about the process.  This was done using the latest technology, which tells me Joe is a person who is current with trends and how to take advantage of them. Chances are that if he’s current with technology trends, he’s also current with the latest advances in plumbing.  As a person looking to fix a plumbing problem, I’m hiring a smart plumber.

    So, how can a tablet help your business?  Send us your thoughts.

    Sync with the BlackBerry Playbook?

    Yesterday, RIM announced their foray into tablet computing by introducing the BlackBerry Playbook. RIM’s new tablet will run an entirely new operating system: BlackBerry Tablet OS.

    BlackBerry PlayBook

    With any new mobile operating system, we here at CompanionLink immediately begin evaluating its sync capabilities. We currently know from RIM’s announcement that the BlackBerry Playbook will sync with a BlackBerry Enterprise Server, much like the current generation of BlackBerry phones. For standalone or small business users without access to a BES server, we can stipulate that the Playbook will sync directly with the PC using the BlackBerry Desktop Software (again, much like the current BlackBerry devices). If this indeed is the case, then CompanionLink may offer two-way sync with the BlackBerry Playbook from day 1, as CompanionLink works as an add-in within the BlackBerry Desktop Software to sync PC data.

    It is currently unknown if Google will support sync with BlackBerry Tablet OS, but given Google’s track record of support for most popular mobile platforms, we would be surprised if Google didn’t have an offering for RIM’s tablets. CompanionLink supports sync of contacts and calendar from the PC to any Google, Gmail, or Google Apps account. Pending Google’s support for BlackBerry Tablet OS, CompanionLink will be able to provide an additional sync option for Playbook owners.

    For now, this is all speculation. As we get closer to the launch date for the Playbook, more details will certainly emerge. An official announcement regarding CompanionLink’s sync support for the BlackBerry Playbook will be made as soon as we can confirm compatibility. Details on CompanionLink’s support for BlackBerry devices can be found at www.companionlink.com/blackberry

    Forbes and NY Times Recommend CompanionLink’s BlackBerry Sync with Outlook 2010

    Not so long ago, RIM updated their Desktop Software package to support Microsoft Outlook 2010. However, they only offered support for the 32-bit edition of Outlook 2010, not the 64-bit edition. CompanionLink announced compatibility with both the 32-bit and 64-bit editions of Microsoft Outlook 2010 with BlackBerry and other mobile devices. Recently, popular publications Forbes and the New York Times reviewed CompanionLink’s sync solution for BlackBerry with Outlook 2010.

    In the New York Times Personal Tech Q&A section, columnist J. D. Biersdorfer mentions that official support documents from BlackBerry indicate that BlackBerry Desktop Software 6.0 is not compatible with Microsoft Outlook 2010 64-bit. Biersdorfer suggests CompanionLink as a solution for synchronizing with BlackBerry devices.

    A post on the Forbes Investor blog by writer Marc Gerstein highlights his frustrating experience spending hours trying to sync his BlackBerry Tour with Outlook 2010. Gerstein points out that his frustrations are shared with many BlackBerry owners facing similar sync problems. Gerstein then turned to CompanionLink to solve his BlackBerry to Outlook 2010 sync issues. CompanionLink was able to sync Gerstein’s data within a few minutes.

    Want to know more? Visit www.companionlink.com/blackberry

    Initial impressions on sync support for Windows Phone 7

    Windows Phone 7, expected to release next month, is the next major smartphone platform from Microsoft. Windows Phone 7 is a complete operating system re-design, borrowing more from their Zune media players than their existing Windows Mobile 6.5 platform. The big question that we have here at CompanionLink is how Windows Phone 7 will sync with the PC.

    A recent post from pocketnow.com details the current situation for Outlook sync with Windows Phone 7. Unlike the previous Windows Mobile 6.5 platform, Windows Phone 7 will not use Windows Mobile Device Center/Active Sync for direct PC-to-phone sync. Windows Phone 7 will use the Zune PC software to sync media, but for Outlook contacts, calendar and tasks, an Exchange server is required. While this presents no problem to large organizations with dedicated Exchange servers, standalone Outlook users are left out in the cold.

    Both Gmail and Hotmail now offer free Exchange Active Sync support for most popular smartphone platforms. Thus, Windows Phone 7 should be compatible with both these services to sync contacts and calendar via Exchange (since Windows Phone 7 has not yet been released, this is educated speculation).

    CompanionLink offers a solution that will sync Outlook contacts and calendar with any Gmail, Google, or Google Apps account. Once the data is synced with Google, supported smartphones can easily be configured to sync wirelessly with that Google account using the Exchange protocol. If Windows Phone 7 can sync with Google, as indicated by initial impressions, then CompanionLink will be able to offer support for Windows Phone 7 upon launch.

    An official announcement regarding CompanionLink’s support for Windows Phone 7 will be released soon pending our testing of the platform. Look for announcements on our homepage at www.companionlink.com

    How will Symbian 3 devices sync with the PC?

    Nokia announced three more phones based on their new Symbian 3 platform.  The phones cater to both business and social media users.  The big question that remains for business users is, “How will these Symbian 3 phones sync with my PC?”.

    Google Sync has supported over-the-air sync with devices running the Symbian S60 operating system.  They sync contacts and calendar data two-ways.  Will Google Sync also support two-way sync with Symbian 3 devices?  If they do, CompanionLink can has a way for people to sync PC contacts and calendar data with Symbian 3 devices.

    PC <> CompanionLink <> Google account <> Google Sync <> Symbian 3 device

    CompanionLink for Google is a product that will sync PC software like Outlook to any Google or Gmail account.  If Google Sync will support sync with Symbian 3 devices, this data will then transfer over-the-air with the Symbian 3 device.  Any changes made on the device will sync back to the Google account, which will sync back to the PC courtesy of CompanionLink.

    Let’s hope Google Sync supports Symbian 3.

    How to Sync the Samsung Fascinate with Outlook

    Sync the Samsung Fascinate

    The Android-powered Samsung Fascinate is the last of the Galaxy S Series phones to launch in the US, and is available now on Verizon.

    Many new owners will be looking for ways to sync the Samsung Fascinate with Outlook and other PC contact-managers. Google provides the free Google Calendar Sync tool to sync the primary Outlook calendar with a Google account. The Fascinate can then be easily configured to automatically keep its calendar in sync with the Google account.

    For users looking for a more powerful sync solution for the Samsung Fascinate, CompanionLink offers two options: Direct USB sync and wireless sync through Google.

    CompanionLink’s Google sync software can sync Outlook contacts, calendar and tasks to any Google, Gmail, or Google Apps account, which then automatically syncs with the Fascinate. For an even more powerful sync option, CompanionLink’s USB sync with the Fascinate can sync contacts, calendar, tasks and notes from Outlook, Lotus Notes, ACT!, Palm Desktop, and other PC software. USB Sync works in conjunction with DejaOffice, a contact-management app suite that loads on the Samsung Fascinate. DejaOffice provides powerful features such as color-coded categories, advanced search & sort options, and multiple contacts and calendar display types.

    CompanionLink’s sync solutions for the Samsung Fascinate start at $49.95. More information, and a 14-day free trial of the software are available at www.companionlink.com/galaxy