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Android not a busines Phone - Outlook Synchronization?!

Discussion in 'Android Apps & Games' started by Ernie_P, Sep 16, 2011.

  1. Ernie_P

    Ernie_P Newbie
    Thread Starter


    I was hoping that there are other “business users” out there which use Android phones to manage Outlook Contacts and Calendars and can advise me.

    I have been unable to find how to synchronize my Outlook Contacts and Calendars (not Email) with my new Droid Bionic. I do not have a Gmail account – nor do I want one. I don’t want to synchronize Outlook with Gmail to then synchronize Gmail with my phone.

    I just purchased the Android Bionic from Motorola and have found “some” products such as CompanionLink out there to synchronize – but they are expensive - $50! Why should I after spending $300+ for a phone pay an additional $50 in order to synchronize my phone contacts.

    Synchronization between an industry standard product such as Outlook and should be readily available since a phone is pretty much useless without contacts!

    I will continue posts here if I find anything to synchronize – otherwise I will be returning my phone.

    I would also caution anyone from purchasing Droid phones for business purposes. If you want a phone to watch movies, play games, etc. then fine – but I am getting the feeling that I would be better off with a BlackBerry or (I hesitate to say it) a Windows phone.

    If anyone can provide guidance or additional information – it would be greatly appreciated.


    EDIT: Summary findings after all discussions posted below.

    I began this thread with the simple request to find the best way to synchronize my new Android phone with Contacts and Calendars on my standalone PC running Outlook.

    I do not use Outlook for anything other than Calendar and Contact management and utilize other options for Email. I also do not use Gmail as my Email system.

    If you want to sync your Outlook Contacts and Calendar with an Android phone (for the vast majority of phones - since I have not tested all) you will need to purchase a third party application such as CompanionLink (which is relatively expensive after purchasing a $300 phone with a contract) in order to synchronize the data.

    There are other options which I think I have listed below:

    1. GMAIL CLOUD: The first option that is the one most often referenced which is to create a Gmail account and then synchronize up to Gmail and then back down to your phone.

    (1)Obviously the most convenient since Android is a Google product and therefore it is relatively straightforward. This can be done by various methods which can be found below – wirelessly, etc.
    (2) It is the most technically straight forward method.
    (3) You can access your information everywhere.
    (4) It is free.

    (1) You need to upload information to the &#8220;Cloud&#8221; which is the Gmail environment. Some folks have concern of loading information up to this environment – this will be a risk decision which each will need to make but this decision should not be taken lightly.

    Increasingly this environment is a prime target for hackers since the amount and type of data available if penetrated. Therefore be aware.

    (2) Not all Contact and Calendar information will be uploaded to the Cloud and then downloaded to your phone. There is only a subset of Outlook Contact and Calendar fields which will be synchronized. It has been detailed below in some posts.

    (3) You must create a new/utilize an existing Gmail account.

    2. THIRD PARTY SOFTWARE: Utilize third party software to synchronize between Outlook and Android phone.

    1. Works relatively well. Some applications are better than others. The best I have found so far is CompanionLink even though MyPhoneExplorer has been mentioned as well.

    1. Some can be costly upwards of $50 – others while initially inexpensive – require a monthly fee.
    2. Some are very unstable and can wipe out your original Outlooks data. Back sure to backup all information from Outlook prior to attempting. Even if you simply File-> Import Export->Export to a File&#8230;.

    While many folks advocated the use of Gmail and the Cloud, etc. – I must point out that this is not for everyone. As I have mentioned people have different levels of risk acceptance based on the type of information they are loading up to this environment.

    I work in the security industry and am well aware of many failures in these environments. This is obviously not solely a Google issue - but there have been many breaches (some which have not been made public to date) and this environment will continue to be a high priority target by criminal organizations both domestically in the U.S. and abroad simply because of the nature of the information being stored there (but I digress...)

    Lastly, I want to point out (in my opinion) an obvious flaw in Android. When I purchase a phone you would think that
    (1) The most important thing on that phone would be the contacts which will be utilized to use the phone
    (2) Why would you not synchronize out of the box (without the requirement of purchasing additional software) with the "industry standard" in contact and calendar management - Outlook.
    (3) Why must I load my sensitive contact information up to Gmail in order to get it on my phone. (I think I know the obvious answer - but still wanted to post it one more time).

    I would like to finish by thanking all that have joined in the &#8220;lively&#8221; discussions on this thread for their great input and advice. Hopefully the information below (and that which will continue to be discussed) will be beneficial to others.


  2. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor

    WP7 phones are superb in my experience. There are times I ask myself if I made the right decision in an Android whenever I play around with my friend's phone. But then I just look at how many more free apps on Android and I realize I did. LOL.

    Samsung, Sony and HTC has homebrewed free software (Kies, PC Companion and HTCSync, respectively) which allows you to sync Outlook to your phone. Basically they are similar to Companionlink but free.

    In summary, only Motorola has the limitation you speak of, of not being able to sync to Outlook directly.

    However I do have to question the point of buying an Android phone when you dont get a Gmail account. Without one, you dont have access to the Android Market to download apps.
  3. Concur.
    An Android phone without an associated Gmail account is going to be seriously crippled.
  4. Ernie_P

    Ernie_P Newbie
    Thread Starter

    I will definitely take a deeper look at the Windows phones - but I choose an Android one because of the MarketPlace apps - which leads me to your second comment: I do have a Gmail account because when I purchased the phone they told me I needed to set one up. I think they might have even said that they couldn't activate the phone without one - so I created one just for that purpose - I guess unknowingly I needed it for the MarketPlace.

    I have been able to download and purchase apps from the MarketPlace without issue (I guess behind the scenes it is still tied to the Gmail account which I created). But I don't plan to use the Gmail account for anything else.

    It's just difficult because I obviously want all the great apps in the MarketPlace - but it seems if you want them - you have to go along for the "Google Ride" and load your Outlook Contacts, Calendar, everything through their Cloud applications - funny I thought it was my phone - not Google's.... :)

    When I look at this from a business perspective - you would think either (1) Google would develop a sync app for Outlook - but there is no interest for them because they want to drive everyone to their Google Cloud and then (2) You would think perhaps Microsoft would enhance Outlook in some manner - but there is no interest for them because they would like to drive everyone to their own phone (I assume).

    So in the end that leaves 3rd party developers like CompanionLink - who while filling an obvious gap - get to charge whatever they want for an application which on most other platforms/hardware would be FREE!
  5. Ernie_P

    Ernie_P Newbie
    Thread Starter

    Just to reiterate - I did have to get a Gmail account to activate the phone and to use the MarketPlace - but why must a Cell Phone require the use of an Email account and associated other applications.

    It is like buying a car from Ford and then having to purchase special gasolline from Ford to run it. You can get other gasoline from Shell or Exxon - but your car will never travel faster than 10 miles an hour....and the windows will only roll down half way....:)

    "Requiring me" to setup a Gmail account to use a cell phone sounds a little bit along the lines of Microsoft's browser "bundling" monopoly actions! But that should be a WHOLE OTHER thread!

    Google can do whatever they want with their Android environment - I am just making a big deal about here so that others will know what they are getting with their Android phone - again this is an ANDROID issue - not related to any particular phone as far as I can tell - not Verizon, not Motorola, not...

    Getting the word out that there is not direct and complete way to synchronize Outlook Contacts and Calendars to ANY Android phone without the purchase of a third party application - which in and of themselves are limited to only a few fields - is the whole purpose of a board like this - I assume! :)
  6. Pepe7698

    Pepe7698 Member

    My Captivate will Sync to an Exchange server using the stock email app. I added my company's exchange server information and it did give me the option to sync Calender & Contacts. I wonder if it is only specific to my Captivate? I will agree with you on Android being a little harder to get going than a Windows Phone. My biggest fault with my phone has been the Address book, not anywhere as business friendly as Windows (older version) or Blackberry.
  7. TallTravel

    TallTravel Lurker

    I use Outlook from my Android on a daily basis, and I've had no issues. I send and receive some 200 emails each day, and anytime the synch happens I make sure I have a solid connection using 4G, just to make sure it happens quickly.
  8. Ernie_P

    Ernie_P Newbie
    Thread Starter

    TallTravel - to be specific we are talking about synchronizing Contacts and Calendar from Outlook to your Android phone - not - Email....

    A phone is USELESS without Contact phone numbers to access....
  9. It's not the cellphone, but the OS it's running that requires the registration.
    It's a concept known as 'the walled garden', or the 'lock in/lock out concept'. Pioneered and developed with great succes by Bill Gates/Micro$haft. Eventually succumbed to and exceeded in scope by turncoat Steve Jobs/Apple. And, as you see, also firmly embraced by Google's sorcerers apprentices.
    As Kafkaesque as it may sound, it is the defacto mores in high-tech mass markets.
    And nobody objects...

    Their next trick is 'the cloud'...

    That is basically it, yes.

    It isn't. You can't get off the merry-go-round... You're in a walled garden now, remember!

    Apple's iPhone/iOS invented it (pioneered the concept with the iPod/iTunes). Google/Android jumped in. WindowsMobile is following suit. Expect the Chinese Android to make a BIG bang, when it comes. Etc. etc.

    You are not alone. There are lively threads dedicated to this subject on here. Just use the search function.

    Ostensibly it is.
    You would be surprised, though, to find how many boards IRL like this cut or otherwise frustrate comments that point out the limitations of the forum's hero. The censored fanboy boards. With a skewed view of reality.
    I can't say I have seen much of that on this forum yet, however.
  10. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor

    The simplest way to get direct Outlook sync but staying with Android is simply ditch the Motorola and get a Samsung/HTC/Sony, all of which having their own free software for syncing with Outlook off-cloud.
  11. A.Nonymous

    A.Nonymous Extreme Android User

    Ever since Froyo, all Android phones come with Exchange ActiveSync capabilities. Your Droid Bionic will sync with your companies Exchange server natively. There is no need for an app to do this. I'm not sure why you're having issues as I'm not sure what part of this process is failing for you. I have many, many, many clients using Android phones. The Droid Bionic 100% supports Exchange push natively.
    alostpacket likes this.
  12. A.Nonymous

    A.Nonymous Extreme Android User

    I would like to get the word out that this is completely false. You can sync an Exchange account natively with any Android phone running 2.2 and higher. You can buy 3rd party apps if you don't like the native support and many people do. To say that it's not there is false though. ActiveSync has been supported since Froyo. The specs on Verizon's page for the Droid Bionic confirm push support for Exchange. You can sync your contacts, your calendar and your email all the same time or any combination of the three over the air natively.
  13. I don't see what the huge issue is with having a Google account. It's not just that you have to use an 'email' account persay, it's a Google account which happens to give you Gmail (among a thousand other amazing things)
    And, this is not the first OS to do this.

    iOS you need an itunes account to do anything on it. Unfortunately music and apps only, no email, documents, calendar syncing, etc. Lame.

    Before iOS was Blackberry, and yes, you need an account for those too. Gives you e-mail if you want it, not much else.

    So, instead of complaining that you need an account that does all this stuff, you should be excited that you now have this accout that does all this stuff!

    Google contacts can sync ota. Which means you don't have to plug it in to the computer when you get a new contact, it does it for you! Same with the calendar, it's incredibly convenient to hardly ever have to plug in my phone.
    Google documents can open any Microsoft Office file. Anywhere. And edit it.

    The simplicity of it all is why many businesses use Google accounts instead of Microsoft exchange.

    And yes, androids can sync with outlook, however, it's all in the computer software. I find it hard to believe Motorolla would skip on this feature, then again, Motorolla is notoriously bad for feature blocking.

    Samsung and HTC does this with ease. Samsung Kies is probably the best phone software in my opinion. It's very much like iTunes, with more phone-orientented options.

    Don't blame the OS, blame the manufacturer software.
  14. dvhttn

    dvhttn Android Expert

    I use MyPhoneExplorer to sync Outlook with an HTC Desire HD. Free as well - an app on the phone and client on the PC. Google will find it ....

    A 'search' on the forum will see various threads on the same subject.

  15. davidwc09

    davidwc09 Lurker

    I was quite excited to upgrade from a basic Blackberry Curve to the Bionic. Needing a corporate sync is essential for me. From the research I did prior to the purchase and switch to Verizon, I understand that syncing should not be a problem.

    But....it isn't working.

    I know what information to input. I've helped others sync their Droid devices. But...it isn't working. We use Office 2007 and have Exchange 2010 servers.

    I also tried Touchdown, hoping it would resolve the problem. But...it isn't working.

    Has anyone successfully configured their Bionic to sync with their corporate account? Very frustrating. I need access to my calendar and to my email all day, every day.
  16. nomarsgirl

    nomarsgirl Android Enthusiast

    No, its not specific to your Captivate. It works perfectly with my antique Eris.
  17. Morat

    Morat Well-Known Member

    +1 for native sync.

    I have several users with HTC Desires, and there are other android mobiles synching just fine to my Exchange 07 including Desire-S and Galaxy S2.

    OP needs to clear up whether he's trying to sync to Outlook via a PC (which is the WRONG way to do it) or synch with Exchange via OWA/Activesync (the RIGHT way to do it).

    Both are possible, but if you can sync OTA then do it that way.

    Edit: Rereading the OP - I'd say it looks like the Ernie_P is a user trying to sync via his work PC and needs to get permission/settings from tech support to get his phone set up for OTA synch.
  18. khanusma

    khanusma Newbie

    I sync my android phone with my company's outlook and get push email, contacts, and calendar.

    I goto settings - accounts - add a corporate account and voila. Not sure why you cannot do that. I have a samsung droid charge running on verizon.
  19. jpgoggin

    jpgoggin Member

    I have no trouble syncing droidx with.outlook 2010
  20. Morat

    Morat Well-Known Member

    See, you're not actually syncing with Outlook at all - you're syncing with Exchange Server. It may sound picky but it makes a lot of difference.
  21. A.Nonymous

    A.Nonymous Extreme Android User

    It does, but as people have pointed out, syncing with Outlook is the wrong way to do things. Outlook is an email client, not an email server. Syncing one client with another client makes little sense. Syncing multiple clients with one server makes a lot of sense.
  22. Morat

    Morat Well-Known Member

    Yes, direct sync with Exchange is the way to go. Of course it assumes that the Exchange admin is 50% competent and doesn't have some draconian security policy to work to - but I don't think that is the problem here.
  23. A.Nonymous

    A.Nonymous Extreme Android User

    Also true. Just got through last week dealing with an IT department who insisted that RPC over HTTP access to Exchange is not even possible. **Le sigh**
  24. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum

    In truth you aren't required to have a gmail account, or sync your phone with anything ... or even own a phone at all. However, if you want to use an Android device to its fullest potential, you will need a gmail account to access Google services, so if you want access to market apps, Google Voice, Google Maps, Goggles, etc, then that is the requirement. You are free to decline if it bothers you philosophically, or gives you serious security concerns. You do realize, that in order to use a phone as a phone you are required to have a unique identifying number so anybody can call you over the telecom networks? I don't see much of a difference.

    It's more like buying a car from Ford and then being shocked when the Chevy dealer won't service it under warranty. Or buying that Ford and not understanding why Diesel won't make the engine run.

    You aren't required to have a gmail account to use the phone as a phone. You are required to have a phone number and a carrier plan to use a phone as a phone. You don't need either of those things to use an android device as a smart PDA, either, but if you want to get the things that Google provides, you agree to Google's terms.

    Actually, i think the issue is more one of misplaced expectations. Too many times peopla expect features to be universal and have no real concept of the underlying technologies and licenses. Many complaints about technology begin with "I used to have X and it did Y, why can't the newer Z do Y too?" without ever finding out before buying Z that it didn't do Y.

    It's also common to confuse Outlook with exchange, but that has already been explained. This article might be helpful.
    nikkisaurusrex likes this.
  25. aximtreo

    aximtreo Member

    That's all well and good but many of us, the majority, don't have exchange servers to sync with. Most have direct USB capabilities and nothing out there is easy to sync with Outlook using this method. I just sold my WP7 Trophy for two main reasons; the major one is MS makes it so hard to sync with their own program. If I don't take Beano, I create a cloud; one quite similar in smell to having to use MS Cloud to sync.:thinking:
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