Microsoft and Google have each announced syncing tools for Windows Mobile phones recently, but based on what I’m seeing, I’m sticking with a service you’ve probably never heard of.
Microsoft announced “My Phone” last week, and today announced that it will be available for free. At present, it’s in limited beta, but I’d expect it to be unleashed on willing participants pretty soon. This service looks to be pretty limited, though — it looks to be a great way to back up your phone, but not too much beyond that.
Today, though, Google announced plans to support syncing for contacts and calendars to a bunch of phones, including Windows Mobile. Woot! A closer look at the fine print, though confirms that this (like all new Google features) is a beta feature, and may not be completely baked yet. Two-way sync, in particular, seems to be iffy for Windows Mobile devices.
So who needs these services, anyway? WinMo phones already synch to Outlook just fine, don’t they?
Personally, I want something like this because I don’t use Outlook anymore.
A few months ago, in a fit of Vista-inspired digust, I loaded Ubuntu on my home desktop, and vowed never to be stuck on a single desktop OS again. I’d been using Outlook, and this was the only way I’d been able to sync contacts and calendars to my Windows Mobile phone, and so began a long quest for a wireless sync option for my phone. I was amazed at how difficult this actually turned out to be, but I ended up using a service that I’ve been pretty happy with.
NuevaSync is a free service that syncs mobile calendars and contacts to Google. It’s a little-known company that’s operating in “free now; premium later” mode, and it’s currently working great for me. The benefits of this service are many: no new software on my phone (it’s treated as if it’s an Exchange server), it works with Google Apps (on my domain), and it handles multiple calendars.
Technically, NuevaSync appears to be very similar to Google’s new sync option, though they’ve been hammering out bugs a little longer than Google has. They’ve attempted syncing to Plaxo in the past, but turned it off because they were experiencing issues. I can only speculate that part of their plan is to enable other sync points like Plaxo in addition to Google (hence, the premium offerings in the future).
Personally, I’m excited by the announcements from Google and Microsoft, though, even though I don’t plan to use them immediately. Google’s sync service, for instance, looks like it might do in a pinch if NuevaSync were ever to go away, and I take Microsoft’s announcement as a sign that Live Mesh for the Windows Mobile phone is getting pretty close.