Why we can’t sync Windows Phone 7 via USB (Yet)

Edit note:  CompanionLink can now synchronize with USB and Windows Phones.

If you’re here, you’re not alone. Many people are looking for Outlook USB sync with Windows Phone 7. Unfortunately, Microsoft doesn’t provide this feature. Windows Phone 7While CompanionLink does offer wireless sync options for Windows Phone 7, limitations with the Windows Phone SDK technology prevent us from offering direct USB sync. We want to offer it, but we can’t.

CompanionLink has a long history of offering direct sync with all major smartphone platforms including Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Palm webOS, and the previous Microsoft Windows Mobile platform. When Windows Phone 7 was announced, we jumped to be the first to offer PIM synchronization for the platform.

Unfortunately, we discovered there is no way to interface with the device using USB protocol. Also, we lack the necessary app permissions to write contacts, calendar, tasks and notes to the device. Double-whammy; our hands are tied in two ways. Unfortunately, this means that CompanionLink, as well as any other third-party developers, won’t be able to offer direct sync to the Windows Phone platform until the tools are provided.

We’ve asked Microsoft about this issue, but have not yet received a reply. It’s possible Microsoft may open more options for developers in the future. We eagerly await that day!

CompanionLink announces Outlook sync for Windows Phone 7

Sync with Windows Phone 7CompanionLink is happy to announce sync support for Windows Phone 7 devices like the Samsung Focus, HTC Surround, HTC HD7, LG Quantum, and Dell Venue Pro.

CompanionLink syncs Outlook contacts, calendar and tasks to any Google, Gmail, or Google Apps account. Google provides wireless contact and calendar sync to Windows Phone 7 through the Exchange ActiveSync protocol. In addition to Microsoft Outlook, CompanionLink supports sync with Outlook Business Contact Manager, Sage ACT!, Palm Desktop, Novell GroupWise, and Time & Chaos.

CompanionLink’s sync solutions for Windows Phone 7 start at $39.95. More information and a 14-day free trial can be found at www.companionlink.com/windowsphone/

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