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.

DejaOffice On The New iPad

We’ve had our new iPad in the office for a few days now and have put it through its paces with DejaOffice and CompanionLink. I’m happy to report that everything is performing as expected. So don’t hesitate to download DejaOffice and start syncing that new iPad of yours.

On a related note, we are in the process of updating DejaOffice to take advantage of the new iPad’s Retina display. Expect a new version with crisp graphics soon!

An Update On Syncing the DROID RAZR

The DROID RAZR is now available! We’ve been busy testing ours to ensure complete compatibility with CompanionLink and DejaOffice, and I happy to report that it performs as expected.

To sync the DROID RAZR with Outlook (and more), just make sure you’re running the latest version of DejaOffice (1.12.3) and connect the RAZR in “Charge Only” mode. After that, you should be set to sync.

If you’re new to CompanionLink and DejaOffice, we have some great resources to help you get started. Visit our Getting Started page to learn how to set up a reliable sync. Check out our Android Setup Guides for help configuring our software. And head over to our Support Center if you need more help getting everything up and running. Whether your a seasoned Android pro or are new to the platform, we’re here to help!

Now go on and enjoy your sleek new phone!

Resolving A Google Calendar Error [Tech Tip]

Some users have reported seeing the following error message display in CompanionLink when attempting to sync with Google:

“Unable to access Google Calendar. Please create a record in Google Calendar first, then try again.”

If you are seeing this message, and have already created at least one event in your Google Calendar, please do the following to resolve the issue:

For Google hosted domain users:

1. Visit the following webpage in your browser:
https://www.google.com/a/<your domain name>/UnlockCaptcha

2. Enter your Google username and password (the same as the email and password you entered in CompanionLink), then solve the captcha and unlock.

3. Reattempt a sync.

For non-hosted domain users:

1. Visit the following webpage in your browser:
https://www.google.com/accounts/DisplayUnlockCaptcha

2. Enter your Google email address and password (the same as the email and password you entered in CompanionLink), then solve the captcha and unlock.

3. Reattempt a sync.

CompanionLink Build 4047 Now Available

Today we released CompanionLink Build 4047. The most notable change comes in the form of a fix surrounding syncing with Google Tasks.

Build 4047 has fixed an issue where some users who sync Tasks to Google Tasks would see a “503 Daily limit exceeded” error. This error was caused by a daily request limit imposed by Google on their Tasks API. We’ve been able to increase this request limit, so users should not encounter this error again.

The full release notes for CompanionLink Build 4047 are included below and you can download the update now by visiting http://www.companionlink.com/downloads/updates.html.

 

CompanionLink 4047 Release Notes:
* Fixed issue where Google would sometimes throw a “503 Daily limit exceeded” error. This error was caused by a daily request limit imposed by Google on their Tasks API.
* Fixed issue syncing Salesforce contacts with Android via USB.
* Made stability improvements for Android WiFi sync.
* Fixed issue where Outlook BCM communication histories could sync with an incorrect date.
* Made stability improvements for sync with Zoho.
* Fixed issue syncing Franklin-style task priorities from Android to PC.
* Fixed issue syncing recurring events with Google using Alaska time zone.
* Fixed issue where cleared recurring events in Outlook could sometimes sync as active.

Which Sync Method Is Best?

This post will help you understand the differences between the four sync methods that CompanionLink offers you: Direct USB Sync, Local WiFi Sync, Secure Hosted Wireless Sync, and Sync via Google. Below, I’ll explain each one to help you find the best sync method for your setup.

Direct USB Sync

This method synchronizes your data via USB cable. It’s the plain “old-fashioned” method that HotSync provided in the old days. Data is directly transferred to and from your device without the need of any cloud or hosted services. USB sync is recommended if:

  • you require a high level of security
  • you are averse to hosting your data in the cloud
  • you do not need your data synchronized continuously throughout the day

Simply dock your phone to your PC and sync.

Works with: Android, BlackBerry, and webOS devices

Pros:

  • Secure and direct transfer
  • Data is stored locally
  • HIPAA friendly

Cons:

  • Must be connected to PC
  • Not a direct sync for iOS devices*

*Syncs via Outlook/iTunes

Local WiFi Sync

This method uses your local WiFi network to securely sync information from your PC directly to DejaOffice on your device. Both your PC and device must be connected to the same WiFi internet connection. Local WiFi Sync will then detect when you are within range of your local WiFi network and sync in the background, hands-free!* WiFi Sync is your best choice if:

  • you want a quick, wireless options for syncing data
  • you are in and out of the office or house all day
  • you regularly update your data throughout the day

Set it up once, then enjoy the convenience of a wireless sync.

Works with: Android, iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices

Pros:

  • Wireless sync – no cords!
  • Optional automatic sync*
  • AES-256bit encryption for security

Cons:

  • Range is limited to your local WiFi connection
  • Not available on BlackBerry, webOS, or Windows Phone

*Automatic sync is currently Android-only. iOS users must initiate the sync on the PC.

Secure Hosted Sync

Secure Hosted Sync is our most robust and reliable sync option. CompanionLink will sync your data securely to your device using AES-256 bit encryption. Most importantly, we do not host your data, meaning users who are concerned about security and hosting data online now have a convenient wireless sync option, all for just $9.95 per month! Secure Hosted Sync is recommended if:

  • you need a fast, secure, hands-free sync
  • you do not want your data hosted by a third party (such as Google)
  • you want the convenience of a wireless sync with the security of a wired sync

Secure Hosted Sync works in conjunction with our free Android and iOS app, DejaOffice (or DejaLink for BlackBerry users).

Works with: Android, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and BlackBerry devices

Pros:

  • Secure wireless sync
  • Works anywhere you have internet
  • We do not host your data
  • Automatic, real-time sync*

Cons:

  • Monthly fee
  • Not available on webOS or Windows Phone

*Currently Android-only. Coming soon on iOS, as well as for Zoho and SugarCRM.

Sync via Google

Sync via Google allows you to sync contacts, calendar and tasks from your PC to any Google, Gmail, or Google Apps account. Once your PC data has been synced to a Google account, Google provides wireless sync with most smartphone and tablet platforms. Sync via Google is best if:

  • you are looking for a free wireless sync option
  • you already rely heavily on Google for other services
  • you want hosted access to your data online
  • you have basic contact & calendar databases*

For more information on how to sync your device with your Google account, visit google.com/sync.

Works with: Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, and webOS devices

Pros:

  • Free wireless sync
  • Creates an online backup of your data
  • Sync your Google account to multiple devices

Cons:

  • Data is hosted by a 3rd party
  • Google controls the sync process to your device
  • Data is limited to basic contacts & calendars

*Google imposes certain limitations on the type of data we can sync. As such, we do not recommend Sync via Google for those with more complex databases.

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

 

How to Sync Windows Phone 7 with Outlook


A number of years ago, Windows Mobile 6.5 was released to the public. Though it had its quirks, the Windows Mobile platform gathered a small but loyal following of business professionals and productivity enthusiasts. Perhaps the biggest reason for this following was just how easy the platform made it to sync with Microsoft Outlook.

When Microsoft released Windows Phone 7 last year, they completely revamped the interface to make it much easier to interact with. Some would even say they’ve made it pretty. At this time, many existing Windows Mobile owners assumed that Outlook sync would work the same way it had before. It didn’t. Disappointed, confused, and upset are only a few of the words that would describe the general reaction to the situation. Amazingly, Microsoft offers no method to sync Windows Phone 7 to Outlook directly via USB.

What are Windows Phone 7 owners supposed to do? Microsoft offers two official solutions: Sync via a hosted Exchange server or use the Outlook Hotmail Connector. Exchange setup is fairly straightforward – if you have an Exchange server, that is. For those who don’t, the Outlook Hotmail Connecter is the only other option from Microsoft. This option requires you to sync your Outlook data to Windows Live/Hotmail, which then wirelessly syncs to your phone. Both options limit you to syncing contacts and calendars only.

While current Windows Phone 7 API’s prevent CompanionLink from providing a direct sync option, we can sync Outlook to Windows Phone 7 devices via Google. This option offers advanced wireless sync of contacts and calendars, as well as tasks and categories. We sync your Outlook tasks to the calendar as untimed entries, and we sync Outlook contact categories as Google Groups. Once CompanionLink syncs your data to your Google account, it is automatically synced to your phone, courtesy of Google. This happens through your phone’s wireless data connection. Two-way sync is fully supported too, so you can make changes from anywhere.

To get started, simply download CompanionLink for Outlook and configure it with your Google username and password. Detailed setup instructions can be found on our support page. Next, set up your Windows Phone 7 device to sync with your Google account and you’ll be done. It’s that simple!

We’ll be keeping an eye on the Windows Phone platform. With any luck, perhaps a future update will allow developers such as ourselves to implement a more robust sync solution.

If you have any questions, please let us know in the comments.

Support Update: CompanionLink Build 4036 Now Available

CompanionLink build 4036 is now available on our updates page. This update addresses a USB sync error that affects a small number of devices when syncing with the latest version of DejaOffice for Android. If you have experienced the following, please update now:

– USB drive mounts to the PC properly and the user is able to read/write data to it, but CompanionLink never starts a sync
– Previously able to sync with build 4033 and earlier
– Only the very first USB sync works after deleting the companionlink.db file and starting over

New Online Knowledge Base Makes Using CompanionLink Easier Than Ever

CompanionLink is pleased to announce the launch of our new support knowledge base (KB). Our goal to make public the sync and configuration expertise that we have in-house. We’ll be sharing setup guides, tips & tricks, productivity tweaks, and more. Over time, the KB will grow, adding additional setup guides for existing devices, as well as guides for new devices as they are released.

Currently, the KB features easy-to-use setup guides for Apple and Android devices. Learn how to sync your new Nexus S to Outlook. Or, learn how to sync ACT! data to the Verizon iPhone. Whatever your setup is, we’ll show you how to get everything up and running. Just visit www.companionlink.com/support/kb. Then, simply choose your device and sync method and you’ll be directed through detailed steps, photos, and videos showing you exactly how to configure CompanionLink and DejaOffice.

We will be expanding the KB in the future in an effort to better serve CompanionLink and DejaOffice users!