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November 29, 2013

CompanionLink Solves Outlook Sync Problem after Kies3 Update

I typically do not use personal anecdotes to highlight news items, but in this instance it is useful.

I recently upgraded my smartphone ride to a Samsung Galaxy S4 after doing some comparative shopping at my local Verizon Wireless store.  And, while the Apple bigots at the office and my family tried to talk me into an iPhone, my comfort with Android prevailed. It might have been a mistake.

By way of background, I use Windows PCs at work and home. In short, I run my life on Microsoft Outlook. Thus, it should not surprise anyone that after days of downloading apps I turned my focus to syncing the S4 with Outlook.  I was pleased to see Samsung, like my previous Android vendor, had a free app for synchronization, Kies. And, remembering what the Verizon folks told me, the new phones worked with the new Kies3 software.

Here is the rub. While Kies3 syncs all kinds of goodies on your S4 (files, photos, etc.), what it does not sync with is Outlook.

Not a problem, I thought. I knew previous versions of Kies did sync with Outlook. So I downloaded the older version.  SURPRISE!  Guess what does not work with the S4?  You got it, the older versions of Kies. Let’s just say my reaction is unprintable. The polite way to say this is, “Has Samsung lost its mind?”

Fast forward. A trip to the TMC IT wizards solved my office PC sync problem. I can sync with Microsoft Exchange.

That at least was a good start. It allowed me to have an up-to-date calendar and all of my contacts, since I had not added any since that information was ported over when I upgraded the phone. However, the issue going forward was/is the inability to sync with my personal PC. I happen to like keeping things in Outlook and on my home PC hard drive, which is backed up daily. I choose not to share everything in cloud via Google. It is not that I am a luddite, just a creature of habit and probably a bit paranoid.

 CompanionLink  to the rescue?

The reason for the extensive set-up (pardon the pun) is that Portland, OR-based CompanionLink Software – the self-proclaimed #1 provider of Microsoft® Outlook® to mobile synchronization with over 1 million downloads – is out with a setup guide to switch from Kies to CompanionLink for Android Sync. CompanionLink offers direct USB and Wi-Fi sync, with support for all Outlook Phone fields, Category Colors, Tasks, Meeting invites, Notes and Journal entries. In addition, CompanionLink’s DejaCloud® service will support simultaneous sync to multiple platform devices like iPhone®, iPad® mini, and Mac®.

“Galaxy® devices are getting Android OS updates by Verizon and AT&T which change the service combination”

“Galaxy® devices are getting Android OS updates by Verizon and AT&T which change the service combination,” says Wayland Bruns, CTO of CompanionLink. “CompanionLink has created a How-To guide so people can quickly set up direct Outlook Sync. With CompanionLink, there is no reason to wipe or overwrite your contacts and calendar. In minutes, you can set up the CompanionLink system and move on to the important things in life.”

I would like to tell you that I am thrilled by the fact that there is a solution to a problem that based on my search on the Internet has shown has a lot of people very miffed.  I would like to but I cannot.  While I am all for free enterprise, in this case the emphasis needs to be on “free.”  I appreciate the CompanionLink for Outlook two-week free trial, but I am averse to paying the $14.95 subscription fee for a service that in theory I should not need.

Good for CompanionLink for exploiting a market opportunity, but bad for Samsung.  Given that Samsung seems to so attuned to the fickle nature of consumers—to the point where they have cleverly painted iPhones as yesterday’s news—how do you not sync with Outlook?

I still have a few days left on my window to return the S4 to Verizon without paying a penalty so I can switch to another phone.  My predilection at the moment, having invested so much time in getting the S4 the way I like it and my satisfaction with all other aspects of the product, is to keep the phone. Indeed, I hope that Samsung is responsive to us lost souls and comes out with Kies3.2.  That said, if you are thinking about moving to a Samsung S4 and rely on Outlook, I have two words for you, “Buyer Beware!”

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