Support Update: How to Sync the DROID Incredible 2 With Your PC

HTC recently released their follow-up to last year’s very popular DROID Incredible. Aptly named the DROID Incredible 2, this Android-powered handheld is a solid update from last year’s model. The HTC DROID Incredible 2 features a 4” display, a 1GHz processor, 768MB of RAM, and an 8-megapixel camera. The phone ships running Android 2.2 with HTC Sense. All in all it’s a great device and a worthy competitor among today’s top mobile phones. For early reactions to the device, as well as some detailed photos, check out Android Central’s initial review.

Such a great device is bound to be quite popular. As such, we’re happy to inform all you prospective buyers and new owners that CompanionLink fully supports syncing contacts, calendar, tasks and notes between the Incredible 2 and PC software such as Microsoft Outlook, ACT! by Sage, Palm Desktop, Lotus Notes and more. You can sync direct via USB, over your local Wi-Fi network, via our Secure Hosted Wireless service, or wirelessly through Google. To learn more, as well as download a 14-day free trial, visit https://www.companionlink.com/phones/htc-incredible.html

ASUS: Transforming the Way We Think About Tablets

If I had to guess, I’d be willing to be that the number one complaint about tablets today is that they’re just not that easy to type on, at least for longer periods of time. Sure, you can use a Bluetooth keyboard on many, but that feels like more of an afterthought than anything. In fact, I would argue that it’s one of the biggest reasons business users might favor a laptop over a tablet as a secondary, mobile device. The ASUS Eee Pad Transformer aims to change that.

As its name suggests, the Transformer starts out as a competitive, yet standard tablet. When paired with the optional laptop dock, however, it becomes an entirely new machine. Not only does the laptop dock provide a keyboard and multi-touch trackpad, it actually adds additional usage time with its built in battery.  The ability to transform from a lightweight tablet to a highly productive laptop gives this unique device a lot of potential.

As we’ve stated before, we believe devices like the Motorola Atrix are signaling a shift in mobile computing. The Eee Pad Transformer is helping lead this charge!

 

Note: Are you looking to sync the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer with Outlook or another popular personal information manager? We have you covered: check out CompanionLink for PC and DejaOffice for Android!

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!

The Sidekick 4G: Now With More Android!

Historically, the Sidekick was always a fairly popular phone. Of course, since the Danger debacle and recent shutdown notice, we’ve seen this popularity fade away to some degree. Don’t expect the slump to last, however. The Sidekick is back and it features some solid specs, including 4G data.

The biggest news, however, is that the Sidekick 4G will be running Android. This opens the door for a lot of potential. Business users who want to move away from BlackBerries, but still want a solid physical keyboard will want to take a look at the Sidekick and its great keyboard design. Those who know a little about the previous Sidekicks might balk at this suggestion, claiming that the Sidekick is not designed to be a business device. Admittedly, it is marketed more towards a younger crowd. However, the Sidekick 4G features a few nice additions, such as WiFi calling and “cloud-based” texting that serve to extend the phone’s functionality and maximize productivity when you’re away from cell signal or at the computer. And, of course, after downloading a few business-focused Android apps, like DejaOffice, the Sidekick can be just as productive as any other Android available today!

Looking for information on how to sync the Sidekick 4G with Outlook and other popular databases. Click here!

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!

DejaOffice Now Available In The Amazon Appstore

Amazon has worked hard to help widen and curate the distribution of Android apps. Amazon has their own app acceptance process, which they say will guarantee that only meaningful and legit apps will be distributed on their Appstore.

We want to make it easy to download DejaOffice, no matter which app store you prefer using. Therefore, we’re pleased to report that DejaOffice is now available in the Amazon Appstore!

DejaOffice in the Amazon Appstore is, of course, free and can be downloaded by clicking here. We do want to make you aware of one thing: if you download and install DejaOffice via the Amazon Appstore, you need to continue to use the Amazon Appstore in the future to update DejaOffice to the latest versions. You will not be able to update the app from the Android Market (it will fail to install – you can get around this by deleting DejaOffice and reinstalling from the Android Market if you need). This is due to the way that Amazon handles app installs and is not unique to DejaOffice, so take note for your other apps as well!

We hope you’ll find the increased availability of DejaOffice useful, and we want to hear your feedback. We’d love for you to leave us a review in the Amazon Appstore! It helps us to constantly improve our app, as well as where we distribute it.

The Plight of the Standalone Microsoft Outlook User

These days, “the cloud” is all the buzz. The cloud, in terms of contact and calendar sync (among others), means using a service like Google, Gmail, or Windows Live (Hotmail). Just host your data in the cloud and it will magically show up on your device. Simple, right?

Not so, say the people (as they rise in mutiny).

Google started the move to store personal information in the cloud. First with email, then with calendar, and then with contacts. If you buy a new Android phone, all your email, contacts, and calendar data that is hosted in the Google cloud will magically synchronize with your phone. Oh, and this magic works with iPhone, iPad and BlackBerry too.

Microsoft joined the cloud party with their Windows Phone 7 launch. They now require people to have a Windows Live account in order to sync PC data to the device. This means Microsoft Outlook users who have maintained years of contacts, calendar, tasks and notes data on their PC now have to trust that data to the cloud. The cloud will then synchronize with Windows Phone 7.

So what’s wrong with this?

Well, for starters, we’ve already seen this movie! Palm tried the same thing with their Palm webOS launch.  They required people to have a Google account, which integrated with Palm Synergy. If you wanted to keep your PC data in sync with your webOS device, you had to first sync to your Google account in the cloud. The story for Palm didn’t end so well. (HP may beg to differ.)

While the cloud is an amazing resource that should be used, not all Outlook users can digest trusting their PC data to the cloud. Many people have security requirements in place that simply don’t allow cloud storage of their data. Others are leery of hosting their sensitive information online. Their question is simple, “I’ve used Outlook for years. Why am I now being forced to add a web-based account, and trust everything to that?”

The cloud providers will argue that you trust a lot of things to the cloud, whether you realize it or not. They’re right. Your credit card details you use for that online orders, tax returns you prepare and submit online, or the numerous online banking and bill-pay services you use – they all store data in the cloud. And we don’t even blink.

But this is different. It’s not an argument on the security of cloud storage. It’s about having options. Put simply, not everyone wants to sync their Outlook data to the cloud – and they shouldn’t have to!

The good news is that there are alternatives. You’ll need to find a tool that allows you to keep your data on your PC and sync directly to your device. There are a few ways to go about this:

1. Check if your phone’s manufacturer offers a sync solution. BlackBerry and iPhone both offer such solutions to directly sync with Outlook.  BlackBerry offers BlackBerry Desktop Software, and Apple offers iTunes. Android, on the other hand, is more fragmented (HTC has HTC Sync, Samsung offers Kies, etc).

2. If the option from the phone’s manufacturer is non-existent or insufficient for your needs, look for third-party software. Shameless plug – CompanionLink has software that can sync your Outlook contacts, calendars, tasks, memos, and categories to your mobile device. It works with all Android, iPhone, iPad, and BlackBerry devices. There are a number of other options available as well, but few offer the complete sync solution that CompanionLink does. For Android, SyncDroid has a solid list of most all of the sync options available. For iPhone and iPad, you’ll most likely have to piece together a solution from a few different apps in the App Store. For BlackBerry and other devices, your options are few and far between, but a search on Google should turn up some options.

In the end, the cloud is certainly where the industry is heading. As time goes on, it will likely become as ubiquitous and secure (or even more secure) than traditional data storage options. Until that time, however, those who wish to sync their data locally still do have options!

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.

Go Ahead, Make The Switch!

The HTC Thunderbolt is (finally) launching tomorrow. As such, I felt it would be appropriate to touch on the process of switching phones. With 4G data speeds, a 4.3” screen, an 8 megapixel rear facing camera, a front facing camera for video calls, a 1GHz processor, and more, the Thunderbolt should prove to be quite popular, causing many customers to trade in their current phone. Of course, this means going through the process of backing up and transferring all your data will become a top priority.

Switching phones used to be quite a pain. Often, you’d find yourself re-entering all your data, which could take a very long time, especially if you used your phone for business. These days, many phones include some kind of sync to help you get most of your data moved over, but it’s not always so easy. A user hoping to switch from an iPhone to the Thunderbolt, for example, will likely run into some roadblocks. Getting contacts, calendars, tasks, memos, and more transferred over isn’t as simple as it is if you were to simply upgrade to a new iPhone. Unless, of course, you use CompanionLink and DejaOffice!

We’ve developed our products in such a way that you can move to a new device quickly and easily. After installing DejaOffice on a new device, you’re just a quick sync away from having all your important contacts, calendars, tasks, and memos back at your fingertips. After all, it’s your data – you should have easy access to it no matter what device you prefer to use!

For more information on how to sync the HTC Thunderbolt with your PC, click here.

AES-256 Security: Now Standard in CompanionLink & DejaOffice


Whether it’s a company requirement, an industry standard practice, or a personal preference, many users find their wireless sync options limited by the lack of secure solutions available to them. Most cloud-based systems are not an option as user data is stored on an outside server. Even local Wi-Fi can be an issue if the data is not securely transferred.

At CompanionLink, we take data security very seriously. Keeping your data in sync is our end goal, but keeping it safe in the process is extremely important as well. That’s why we’re now using AES-256 Security in the latest versions of CompanionLink and DejaOffice for Android (and iOS soon). So just how secure is AES-256 Security? Let’s take a look.

AES stands for Advanced Encryption Standard, and the number 256 refers to the number of bits in the key size. Bits? Keys? I know, it sounds technical – and it is! If you’d like to read up on all the specifics of AES-256 Security, I’ll refer you to other online sources. With that said, let’s get back to explaining just how safe your data is under this security protocol. I’d like to refer to a quote from the Computer Security Division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology stating:

“The design and strength of all key lengths of the AES algorithm (i.e., 128, 192 and 256) are sufficient to protect classified information up to the SECRET level. TOP SECRET information will require use of either the 192 or 256 key lengths.”

In a nutshell, the NSA considers AES-256 secure enough to protect TOP SECRET classified information. Data doesn’t get much more secure than that. With AES-256 Security built in, you can rest assured knowing that your data is secure with CompanionLink and DejaOffice!