Sync the BlackBerry PlayBook with Outlook

The long-awaited update to RIM’s BlackBerry tablet, dubbed the PlayBook, has arrived. PlayBook OS 2.0 brings with it a host of new features, including integrated contacts and calendar apps. As such, CompanionLink is now able to sync the PlayBook with Outlook via Google. Learn how to set up an Outlook sync via Google

Image Credit: Crackberry

While many of the features in PlayBook OS 2.0 are welcome additions, perhaps the most anticipated feature is the ability to install Android-based applications on the PlayBook.

Now, this doesn’t work with just any application – to work properly on the PlayBook, developers must first modify their app and submit it to the BlackBerry App World. So, this news begs the question: “Will we see DejaOffice on the PlayBook?”

Well, we’re in the process of looking into it. Bringing DejaOffice to the PlayBook would allow you to sync tasks and memos in addition to contacts and calendars. It would also open the doors for USB sync and WiFi sync options. Stay tuned for more news as we explore this possibility!

BlackBerry 7 Devices and CompanionLink

Image Credit: VentureBeat.comPlanning on getting one of the new BlackBerry 7 devices that were released this past weekend? I have good news  – CompanionLink works great with each of them!

That’s right – the BlackBerry Bold 9930, BlackBerry Torch 9850, and BlackBerry Torch 9810 are all fully compatible with CompanionLink’s current sync options for BlackBerry. Whether you want USB sync via BlackBerry Desktop, basic wireless sync via Google, or advanced wireless sync via CompanionLink Secure Hosted, we’ve got you covered.

Head over to our downloads page to get syncing!

The United States of Mobile

Image Credit: JumptapWe regularly see reports that show Android is leading the mobile market, but this is the first time I’ve seen a state-by-state breakdown of popularity. Jumptap, a mobile ad network, released a report today showing Android, iOS, and BlackBerry popularity at the U.S. state level. The data is based on activity on Jumptap’s network, a network that reaches 83 million users.

Check out the image above to see where your state’s allegiance lies. Most interesting to us – in our home state of Oregon, BlackBerry reigns supreme. At least according to Jumptap’s data…

[via TechCrunch]

Support Update: BlackBerry Sync Issue

CompanionLink is aware of an issue with certain BlackBerry devices where the device’s address book will show only one contact, duplicated several times, after synchronizing. All other contacts do not display on the device even though they may be present in the device’s internal database.

Update:

We have found this is associated with the December 2010 update to Blackberry 5.0 OS in from various carriers. This includes, but is not necessarily limited to, Blackberry OS 5.0.0.1015, 5.0.0.1030, and 5.0.0.1067.

Other updates do not appear to have this problem. Blackberry OS 4.0 and 6.0 work fine, as do prior Blackberry OS 5.0 releases. The problem is not unique to CompanionLink. It is reported with other sync products including products from RIM.

Please note your Blackberry OS version carefully. Check your carrier’s website or BlackBerry for an OS update that is PRIOR to December 2010. Please install the older OS. This will likely fix the display problem.

NOTE: If you are unable to downgrade your Blackberry OS, the following steps appear to usually resolve the issue:

1) Perform a full backup of your Blackberry.
NOTE: See instructions for performing a full backup at http://www.blackberry.com/btsc/search.do?cmd=displayKC&docType=kc&externalId=KB12487
2) Perform a security wipe of your Blackberry.
3) Restore the backup you created in step 1).

If you are still in need of assistance, contact technical support at www.companionlink.com/support/contact.html

 

RIM Introduces BlackBerry Balance

Image Credit: RIM

Just the other day, Research In Motion (RIM) announced a new feature coming to BlackBerry smartphones: Balance. Balance is a technology that allows companies to define what’s work and what’s personal, then act on that information. For example, Balance can be setup to restrict a user from copying text from a business email into a social networking app. The ultimate goal, of course is to give the company more control over secure data while allowing employees to use one device for both work and personal needs.

At CompanionLink, we’re big fans of keeping your business data separated from your personal data. We’ve written recently talking about how you can use CompanionLink and DejaOffice to do just that, making it much easier for you to use your phone at work and at home. Balance does not appear to offer the same types of features as we discuss, but rather focuses on making a personal device more secure. Initially, the direct benefit to the employee may seem low. However, it is important to remember that, for many, Balance will be the key that finally allows them to carry just one device!

How do you keep your business and personal data separated? Will Balance change things for the better for you? Let us know in the comments!

An Update On Syncing The BlackBerry PlayBook

If you’re one of the many who got their hands on a PlayBook this past week, I’m sure you’re well aware of its current lake of contacts, calendars, etc. While these thing should be coming via software updates, they aren’t here yet. So, in the meantime, what do you do if you want to sync Outlook to the BlackBerry PlayBook? We currently have a few options for you:

1. If you own a BlackBerry phone, you can sync Outlook to your BlackBerry via CompanionLink for Outlook. Then, simply launch the BlackBerry Bridge app and pair it up with the PlayBook. All the contacts, calendars, tasks, & memos you synced to your BlackBerry phone will now be available on the PlayBook for as long as the connection remains open. We realize that this is not the most direct route, but it’s the most integrated option available to us at the moment.

2. If you do not own a BlackBerry phone, or want to be able to access your contacts and calendars without having to use the Bridge app, you can use CompanionLink for Outlook to sync Outlook to Google. Once the sync is complete, you can use the browser on the PlayBook to navigate to Google’s web apps. This, of course, requires a data connection to load.

Future software updates for the PlayBook are expected to bring integrated contacts, calendars, tasks, and memos to the device. At that point, we anticipate users will be able to sync via CompanionLink and the BlackBerry Desktop software as is currently done with BlackBerry phones. Additionally, Research In Motion (RIM) has stated that the PlayBook will ultimately be able to run Android apps. When this functionality becomes available, we are expecting that DejaOffice will be able to run natively on the PlayBook, further expanding the sync options available.

If you have any questions on your current sync options or our anticipated future sync options, leave a comment below or get in touch on Twitter or Facebook!

How To Do Contacts, Calendar, Tasks and Notes on the BlackBerry PlayBook

BlackBerry PlayBook by RIM

To be fair, this is not a review of the PlayBook. We haven’t had the chance to get our hands on one yet (though we’ll be getting ours tomorrow). That said, we cannot help but wonder why the PlayBook is shipping without any sort of native email or Personal Information Manager (PIM) applications, such as contacts, calendars, etc.

Yes, it is possible to “tether” your PlayBook with your BlackBerry phone to get this PIM data on the tablet, but that’s not a complete solution. While many of those who buy the PlayBook will have BlackBerries, not all will! For those users, the only option is a browser-based solution, like Google.

Of course, in the long term, there will be other solutions. For one, RIM has stated that native applications will be coming. As to when exactly that is, we don’t know. For users who are getting their PlayBook tomorrow, though, this feature can’t come soon enough!

The other solution is Android. RIM has announced that the PlayBook will be able to run Android apps, like our own DejaOffice. This capability is expected to arrive via software update this summer. We’ll have more information for you on this as soon as we know more ourselves. That said, at this point we are expecting to support DejaOffice on the PlayBook via Android.

In the meantime, we’ll be getting our PlayBook tomorrow and exploring our immediate sync options. We’ll keep you posted!

Switching from BlackBerry to Android

Thinking about making the switch?  You’re not alone.

There are at least 300,000 new Android activations every day!  The Nielson Company has some lovely graphs that show Android dwarfing both iPhone and RIM (BlackBerry) in terms of growth in the past 6 months.

But many BlackBerry owners are worried to make the switch.

  • Will I get secure email?
  • Will I get the same level of productivity that my BlackBerry gives me?
  • What happens to my beloved keyboard?
  • Is Android really ready for my business data?

Here’s a free reference guide that answers these and other questions.  It does three things:

  1. Walk you through the pitfalls of migrating from BlackBerry to Android
  2. Educate you about what busiuness capablities Android devices do and don’t do well
  3. Advise which third-party apps to download to achieve the most business productivity

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.

    BlackBerry, webOS and iPhone deflectors going to HTC EVO 4G

    AndroidCentral.com ran a poll on who was planning to buy the EVO 4G (for which CompanionLink provides complete two-way sync).  Turns out that most of the folks are coming from the BlackBerry platform.  The EVO 4G arrives June 4 on Sprint’s network.

    iPhone, webOS and Windows Mobile all tie for a distant second place.  The surprising element to the poll is the number of people buying their first smartphone (roughly the same number as those migrating away from other existing smartphones).

    There seems to be a lot of people still sitting on the sidelines, waiting for just the right smartphone before buying their first one.  AT&T’s new (lower) pricing for data plans may help bring these people into the smartphone world.  The cost of entry is now just $15/month.  If history is any indication, other carriers will follow AT&T’s price shuffle to attract new customers.