Hallelujah! For Android version 2.2 or newer, we no longer need 3rd party software or an Exchange Server to synchronize contacts and/or calendar items with Microsoft Outlook or Windows Live Mail programs (which I'll collectively refer to here as "Outlook"). Hotmail, MSN Mail, Microsoft Live Mail, & Outlook.com (which collectively I'll refer to as "Hotmail") now enable synchronization between Outlook and Android's standard, built-in apps for contacts (a.k.a. "people"), calendar, and email through Android's built-in ActiveSync functionality. And you don't even need to use Hotmail for email. If you're not familiar with Hotmail, it's Microsoft's free webmail service, which is similar to Gmail or Yahoo Mail except that Hotmail contacts & calendars integrate & synchronize nicely with Outlook. You simply need to do the following: 1) For Outlook users (not Windows Live Mail users) on your PC, install Microsoft's free Outlook add-in called "Outlook Hotmail Connector" (which enables Outlook to syncrhonize with Hotmail). 2) Add a free Hotmail account to Outlook 2010, or add it to Outlook 2003/2007, or add it to Windows Live Mail. Be sure to add it as a MAPI account, not as a POP or IMAP account. The Hotmail account with new folders for contacts & calendar will appear on the left-side Navigation Pane of Outlook below your current email accounts. In order to see it you should have the Navigation Pane turned on, and you should be in the "Folder List View" (Ctrl+6). 3) Copy & paste (or import) your contacts & calendar to those new folders in Outlook. (See instructions below under the headers, "To migrate..." and "To move...") 4) Add your Hotmail account to your phone by going into your email app, hitting the settings button, and selecting "Add Account" (or something similar). Then: ---A) Select "Corporate" (even though it's not technically corporate). ---B) Enter your Hotmail email address and password. ---C) Domain\Username: Clear it out and enter your full Hotmail address. ---D) Password: Enter your Hotmail password. ---E) Server: s.outlook.com. ---F) Check SSL boxes and hit "Next". ---G) Choose/checkmark the desired sync categories, like email, contacts, & calendar. ---H) Enter your desired in-box name (which is how Android will label it in your list of in-boxes). That's really all there is to it. But following is a detailed explanation of some key points and answers to many of the questions that have been asked on this thread. You do not need to use Hotmail for email and you don't need to use the Hotmail app. You can still use Gmail (or whatever POP or IMAP email service you prefer) as your primary email account on Outlook and on your Android device. You can choose whether or not to sync and/or view Hotmail as an additional email account, or as your primary email account, or not at all. (See below.) Many of us use Hotmail primarily to sync our contacts & calendar while using Gmail, Yahoo Mail, etc. for our primary email accounts. All of your Outlook/Hotmail contacts will appear in a "contacts" folder on the left-side Navigation Pane of Outlook, under your Hotmail account, and will automatically appear inside the standard built-in Android app for contacts, along with any Gmail contacts, if you like. But at any time, you can simply change the ActiveSync settings on your Android device for each Hotmail and Gmail account to choose whether you want to sync the contacts in each of those accounts. (To do so, open the Android Contacts app, press the settings button, select "Accounts", and then tap each account to toggle sync on/off.) You can use your Hotmail-based contacts to make phone calls, send emails (from whichever email account you choose), get turn-by-turn directions, etc, just like you would with a Gmail-based "Google Contact". All of your Outlook/Hotmail calendar items will appear in a calendar on the left-side Navigation Pane of Outlook, under your Hotmail account, and will automatically appear inside the standard built-in Android calendar app along with any Gmail calendar items, if you like. (The items will be color-coded by account.) But at any time, you can simply change the ActiveSync settings on your Android device for each Hotmail and Gmail account to choose whether you want to sync and/or view the calendar items in each of those accounts. (To do so, open the Android calendar app, press the settings button, select "More", then "Calendars", and then tap each account to cycle through the option of synced/visible, synced/not-visible, or not-synced/not-visible.) All of your Outlook/Hotmail email items will appear in folders (inbox, draft, sent, etc.) on the left-side Navigation Pane of Outlook, under your Hotmail account, and automatically appear inside the standard built-in Android "Email" app along with any Gmail email items, in a "merged" inbox if you like. (The emails will be color-coded by account.) Or you can choose to view the inbox for each account separately. (To do so, open the Android Email app, press the settings button, then select "Accounts" and make your selection of which inbox to view.) Or at any time, you can simply change the ActiveSync settings on your Android device for each Hotmail and Gmail account to choose whether you want to even sync the email items in each of those accounts. (From the home screen, press the settings button, select "Settings", then "Accounts & sync", and make your selections for each account. Under "Email check frequency" select "Never" if you don't want to sync Hotmail email.) So for example: On your Android devices you could choose to sync both your Hotmail email and Gmail IMAP email. You could choose make your Gmail account your default inbox (but you can also easily check your Hotmail inbox anytime you like, and you can send mail from either account). And you could choose to view and sync the contacts and calendar for a Hotmail account (but not to sync contacts and calendar with Gmail). Then your email, contacts, and calendar items would be perfectly syncrhonized between all of your Outlook-PCs and all of your Android devices. (This example is how I synchronize my desktop PC, laptop PC, and Android phone.) Bonus points: Synchronization is done over any Internet connection (cellular-data, WiFi, or wired). The synchronization can be set up to syncrhonize automatically (push new stuff), manually, or on a timed basis (like once per day or once per hour). Your contacts and calendar will also be available through Hotmail's (password-protected) web interface, from any device with web browsing capability, just like Gmail or Yahoo Mail. If you have multiple PCs running Outlook, your contacts, calendar, and Hotmail can be synchronized across all of your PCs (as well as multiple Android devices) through Hotmail. If you use this method to synchronize your contacts, your contacts will appear on your phone in your contacts folder like normal, but if you open a contact to edit it, you will notice that it is designated as a "Corporate Contact" (which is a misnomer) rather than a "Google Contact" and those contacts will be out of reach from very scary Google. (But of course, then Microsoft will have access to them... which you may or may not find as scary.) No third party software app is needed on your phone or your PC. Caveats: You need to install an Outlook add-in called Outlook Hotmail Connector (which is a free download from Microsoft that enables Outlook to syncrhonize with Hotmail). You must keep your Outlook contacts and calendar events in the default contacts and calendar folders of your Hotmail account on Outlook. Your Hotmail contact, calendar, & email items will not be synchronized with Gmail (which is arguably a good thing if you don't trust Google with your contact information). Your phone's built-in voice dialer will work with the Hotmail contacts, but "Google Voice Search" will not recognize those contacts (unless you also keep those contacts on the Gmail servers). That's because "Google Voice Search" searches through the contacts on the Gmail servers, not the contacts on your phone. If you want to use Google Voice Search on your contacts, you could occassionally export your Outlook/Hotmail contacts to a CSV file, and then import the CSV file into Gmail contacts or periodically upload through Go Contacts Sync Mod one-way from Outlook to Gmail (but not necessarily sync them with your Android device). Although Outlook supports multiple contacts folders and subfolders for each email account, Hotmail only supports a single contact folder. If you want to maintain and synchronize multiple separate contacts folders on Outlook & on your Android devices, then you must create multiple Hotmail accounts and add them to Outlook and the Email app on your Android devices. Although Outlook and Hotmail support multiple calendars, only the default calendar will be syncrhonized with Android. If you want to maintain multiple calendars on Outlook, then you must create multiple Hotmail accounts and add them to Outlook and the Email app on your Android devices. Alternatively, you can use the Hotmail app. Each field in Hotmail (like Name, Company Name, Street Address, Notes, etc.) has a maximum number characters that can be synchronized with the Hotmail servers. The specific limits for each field vary, but based on information from Microsoft's website, it seems that: most name fields are limited to 40 characters, street address fields are limited to 256 characters, company names and titles are limited to 120 characters, and the notes field is limited to 1024 characters. You can have more characters than that in the Outlook contact on your PC, but the data will be truncated on Hotmail the server and on the Android device, so you should probably try to stay within those limits. If, on Outlook, you try to copy or create a Hotmail contact that exceeds the maximum character limit, you will be warned and asked to confirm that you are willing to truncate the data on the Hotmail server. When you create a Hotmail contact from your phone, your phone won't let you type more than the maximum number of characters for a given field. At this point, contact photos are not synchronized, though you can input photos on Outlook and on Android. Not all of Outlook's other fields are synchronized with the phone because (I think) Android doesn't have such fields to contain them. For example, "Categories" will not be synchronized from Outlook to the phone, but it will remain in Outlook. The list of synchronized fields seems to have grown since I first posted this article. As of 10/5/11... Only the following 24 fields synchronize between Outlook & Android through Hotmail: First name, Last name, Company, Suffix, Home phone, Home2 phone, Home fax, Business phone, Business2 phone, Business fax, Home fax #, Mobile #, Pager #, Radio #, Email 1, Email 2, Email 3, Office address, Home address, Nickname, Website, IM, Birthday*, & Notes. * The birthday field from Outlook displays in the Hotmail/Android contact and on the Hotmail/Android calendar, but you cannot edit the birthday field on the Android device. To migrate from Gmail-based contacts to Hotmail-based calendar & contact from Outlook: 1) Make sure that all of your contacts (from your phone & Gmail) are in an Outlook Contact folder on your PC. (You may wish to back them up for safety.) 2) Delete all of your Gmail contacts from your Gmail account and your phone (if you don't want duplicates) or change the ActiveSync settings to stop synchronizing contacts with Gmail. 3) Add a Hotmail account to Outlook. 4) Copy & paste the contacts from your Outlook contacts folder into to your Hotmail contacts folder. That is, open your old contacts folder, left-click on any contact, then hit Ctrl+A (select all) and Ctrl+C (copy). Then open up your Hotmail contacts folder, left-click anywhere inside of it and hit Ctrl+V (paste). 5) Add that same Hotmail account to the Email app on your Android device and set up your synchronization preferences. To prevent spammers from creating Hotmail accounts for spamming, Hotmail used to have an initial, temporary contact limit of 1500-contacts. However, as of June 2012, it appears that limit may have been extended to 3000 contacts. In either case, it appears (from my research) that Hotmail will increase your limit to 6000 contacts over time (as you prove to them that you're not just a temporary spammer account). Or you can log into your Hotmail account and provide your mobile phone number in the SMS settings. (If you provide your mobile number, and if you add your social networking sites (which is not necessary), then you may want to review your Windows Live/Hotmail profile and remove the checkmarks for "notifications" so that you don't receive update notifications from your social networking sites.) At one point (to thwart spammers) Hotmail only allowed 1000 contacts to be imported at one time. I'm not sure if they've eliminated that restriction. If that restriction is still in place and you have more than 1000 contacts, you'll have to copy them over in multiple tries in groups of less than 1000. Also note that, "contact groups" (i.e. email distribution lists) may not be transferred from Outlook/Hotmail to the Hotmail servers or to the phone. So, for example, if you have ten "contact groups" in your Outlook/Hotmail contacts folder, you might notice that you will have ten fewer "contacts" in the Hotmail web interface or on the phone. To move your calendar from your Outlook Personal folders calendar to your Hotmail-based calendar: 1) Right click the icon for your old calendar and select "Copy folder". 2) In the menu that appears, select the destination Hotmail contacts folder. From that point on, stop using the "contacts" folder and "calendar" folder in your "Outlook Data File" on Outlook, and start using the "contacts" folder and "calendar" folder under your Hotmail account (which you'll find on the left-side Navigation Pane of Outlook). Your Outlook/Hotmail contacts & calendar will be synchronized between your Outlook-PCs and your Android devices. You may even want to collapse your "Outlook Data File" so that you don't have to look at it or accidentally use it. The contacts and calendar folders in your Hotmail account (on Outlook and on the web and on your phone) will not synchronize with the contacts folders in your Outlook Data File. When creating contacts or calendar events on your Android device, be sure to create them under your Hotmail account (which will appear as an option when you create a new item). In Outlook, you may want to go into your "Account Settings" and change your default "Data File" to your Hotmail account. (In Outlook 2010, go to File/Account Settings --> Data File tab, then select your Hotmail account and clicked "Set as default".) That way if you add a contact from within an email or create a draft mail, etc, it will end up in your Hotmail account. If you receive email-based calendar invitations in a Gmail account (or any other IMAP or POP account) and you want to be able to accept them to your Hotmail calendar, but you don't want to change your default "Data File" as described in the previous paragraph, then you should probably implement a rule in Outlook for each of those inboxes, whereby you move a copy of such email-calendar-invitations to the Hotmail Inbox, "with specific words in the header" and I set the specific header words to "calendar". If you do so, Outlook will automatically move a copy of calendar invitations from those inboxes to your Hotmail Inbox. Then if you accept the invitation, it appears on the Hotmail calendar. (It's an inelegant workaround, but it works.) At last... a good, free, synchronization option for Outlook! Goodbye Gmail Contacts. Hello Outlook/Hotmail. P.S. I periodically update this original post to cover questions and feedback contained in the following posts, so please don't feel that you need to read the next several pages of posts in order to get a better understanding. You'll be able to see below when I last edited this post.