CompanionLink Professional and DejaOffice for Android
Related article: Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Android ICS.
Switching to Android—must be able to sync with Outlook
May 5, 2012 update: For some reason syncing contacts with Companionlink is unreliable. I am still seeking the solution and it may be something I am doing wrong. But even if that is true, it shouldn’t be so hard to figure out. Last week I needed a contact on my smartphone. It simply wasn’t there. I got home and discovered it was still on my “master” database in Outlook. I did a manual sync with Companionlink and the record was still missing on my smartphone. It happened again a couple of days later when I needed a different record. I don’t know why an apparently small number of contacts would disappear like this, but if I cannot rely on Companionlink to have the data for me when I need it, then its value drops considerably. I then initiated a full records sync from Companionlink, setting it to remove and replace all the contacts on my phone. Then the record was there. I’ll keep trying to figure it out.
A few months ago when I contemplated replacing my Blackberry Storm 2 smartphone with a more capable new generation variety, one of my biggest concerns was ensuring that I would still be able to keep contacts and calendar in sync with Outlook 2010 64-bit on my PC.
There was still uncertainty about this when I made the switch to the new Samsung Galaxy Nexus.
During the transition to Android ICS (my first experience with any Android), I had a lot to learn including not a few paradigm shifts. I quickly found that I (mostly) like Android Market. Still, as I searched for Outlook sync solutions I discovered that the prospective apps could be very confusing in their limited descriptions.
Then I discovered DejaOffice by Companionlink Software (for details see the DejaOffice website). When used together with CompanionLink on the PC I ended up with a solution that is superior to what I had on the Blackberry.
Now if they would fix their branding to avoid confusion. DejaOffice on the Android needs CompanionLink on the PC for a complete sync solution. Actually, they are completely different products. DejaOffice is a suite that includes common PIM (personal information management) modules: contacts, calendar, tasks, notes. CompanionLink handles the syncing between PC Outlook and the equivalent modules in DejaOffice.
Today my contacts and calendar are synced between Outlook 2010 (64-bit for me) on my PC and DejaOffice on my Android ICS phone (Galaxy Nexus) and it works just as smoothly and transparently as Syncing.net which keeps Outlook in sync between my desktop and laptop.
Even better than my old BlackBerry, the Companionlink syncing is done wirelessly (WiFi) and automatically, so I don’t even have to bother with USB cables and being out of sync between tethered sync sessions.
Furthermore, DejaOffice Contacts has a notes field that accepts the full length of the notes field in Outlook. So unlike BlackBerry contacts (or native Android contacts), the notes information on my Android is not truncated.
Note: when using Companionlink to sync to Android ICS, you must use WiFi instead of USB cable…which is fine by me for the unattended convenience of WiFi sync.
Installation and Configuration
Installing DejaOffice is as easy as it gets with the convenience of Android Market. Similarly, installing Companionlink to the PC is straightforward and simple. Even the configuration of Companionlink is easy if you follow the setup guide. When I tried to do it without reading the manual, I ended up using the wrong device name, so sync failed until I corrected it.
I replaced the native People icon in my bottom row with DejaContacts, but I still use the People app to mark favorite contacts. Then I have a speed dial function of sorts in the native dialer. This is possible because DejaOffice syncs the DejaOffice database to a specific account in the native Android database (Understanding Android Contacts). You can also force DejaOffice to sync with the native account using the “Read Android Data” button in DejaOffice.”
Important Things to Know
If I set syncing to be bi-directional, what will happen to content in the notes field that is formatted in Outlook?
Answer: If content is changed on the device, then it will sync to Outlook as plain text (for the changed record). That would make me a very unhappy camper, so if you format content in your notes field, don’t sync both ways. Instead set it to sync “Outlook to Android”.
How to change how DejaOffice sorts records?
Answer: DejaOffice allows you to sort by a variety of fields, including first name, last name, company name, or file as. When viewing the contact list, press and hold (long press) “DejaContacts” at the top of the screen to bring up the context menu and sorting options.
When I temporarily changed a setting (contacts) to sync bi-directionally, and then did a sync, instead of the normal fast sync, it started reading every contact very slowly. Similarly when I changed by to “Outlook to Android”.
Answer: Changing the sync direction will force a reread on the PC and device, but this should only occur once after changing the setting. You can check and make sure the reread option is unchecked from the CompanionLink Options menu (at the top, next to File and Help).
I added my gmail account to the Android. Then I signed in and saw that DejaCalendar (or the native Android calendar) synced to my Google Calendar. Nice. However, contacts did not sync to Google contacts.
Answer: Android contacts and calendar data can be stored under one or more “accounts” (Google adds a separate account for Google contacts and calendar). DejaOffice allows you to set which native Android account you wish to sync with – check the DejaOffice settings.
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