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!

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!

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 Desktop Manager support for Outlook 2010 32/64-bit

    RIM announced they will support Outlook 2010 32-bit some time in August 2010.  They will release support for Outlook 2010 64-bit in 2011.

    BlackBerry owners who need to sync their Outlook contacts, calendar, tasks and notes rely on BlackBerry Desktop Manager to do this.  People looking for an immediate solution can use CompanionLink Express.  It supports both Outlook 2010 32 and 64 bit.  In addition to Outlook, CompanionLink can sync from other PC software like Palm Desktop, Lotus Notes, GroupWise, ACT! by Sage and Goldmine.  CompanionLink Express costs $49.95, one-time, and comes with free phone support.

    Alternatively, CompanionLink also develops a $9.99 product called O2g, which will sync Outlook to your Google account.  The Google Sync service (offered by Google) will then sync Google Contacts and Calendar over-the-air with BlackBerry devices.

    iPhone catching RIM/BlackBerry on sales

    rim_apple_palm_currentSource: CNET and ChangeWave Research

    From CNET:

    “ChangeWave Research on Tuesday released the results of its week-long September survey of 4,255 consumers, which showed that RIM retains its lead in smartphone ownership with 40 percent market share. That’s actually a dip of 1 percentage point since the last survey in June, and the lowest share RIM has registered in two years.”

    Here’s the full article.

    CompanionLink has custom apps for the iPhone and Palm webOS platforms.  These custom apps add business functionality above and beyond what the native apps on those platforms offer.

    CompanionLink’s iPhone app (called iClink) adds a custom Calendar and Tasks module to the iPhone.  The custom Calendar allows business users to link their contacts to their calendar events.  It’s important for business users to not only see when a meeting or call is scheduled, but to also quickly read past notes about the person with whom the event is with.

    CompanionLink’s Palm webOS app (called CL USB Sync) allows USB sync between the PC and Palm device.  It also adds a custom Tasks and Memos app that allows categories, priorities, and sort features.  These features cater to users who extensively use Tasks and Memos, and need a robust way to categorize them for quicker access and viewing.