1. Mikey_T's Avatar
    Hi everyone, first post here I'm Mikey_T over on Crackberry. I'm a fairly longtime Blackberry user currently running a 9900.

    I've been pretty excited about Windows Phone since it came out but stayed with Blackberry last year because of an app I need for work which was only available on that platform. They have since updated to a web-mobile app I can access from any device so I'm once again looking at WP as an upgrade this year.

    I haven't spent a lot of time on this forum but so far from what I can tell there are two issues that would still hold me back from purchasing a Windows Phone handset. Please let me know if I'm wrong on either of these points.

    1) No local sync with Microsoft Outlook. It seems absurd that a phone OS by Microsoft would not be able to talk to Microsoft Outlook but that seems to be the case. Much like how RIM has implemented the Playbook PIM; My understanding is that Outlook users who wish to port their contacts, calendar, etc from the program into their Windows Phone have to route that data through a Hotmail/Live account or similar service such as Gmail. No local syncing with your PC Outlook.

    Apple and RIM (at least on phones) both sync to Outlook, a necessity for me.

    2) No iTunes sync. I have had a hard time finding specific info on this; but from what I can tell apparently mac users can purchase software that will sync iTunes libraries and playlists to Windows Phone, but PC users are out of luck. You can manually transfer non-DRM music into Zune, but it means re-building all your playlists, etc from scratch and maintaining it seperate from your iTunes library.

    Apple (obviously) and RIM both support iTunes music sync, including playlists.


    I sort of understand the logic; the way things are going you can't just buy a phone, the company wants you to live in their ecosystem on your handset, PC and in the Cloud; but I hate the trend towards denying access to competitors services.

    As to no local Outlook sync; I guess they just really want you to keep all that personal info in their servers and use their online services, but it's a dealbreaker for me.


    Anyway you guys are the experts; please let me know if I've got this wrong or if changes are expected in upcoming OS builds.

    Thanks!

    -Mike T.
    03-19-2012 08:21 AM
  2. jimski's Avatar
    Regarding Outlook, my guess (no facts here) are that Microsoft is trying to wean regular users away from Outlook and into Hotmail/Live instead. Things like Exchange and Office360 will always be there for business and power users though. Syncing locally across multiple devices is no easy task as many of us can attest to. I was reluctant to surrender to the Cloud, but it's actually not that bad. Unless you are talking about Google. Entirely different story.

    Regarding iTunes sync, not sure if there are any physical limitations to achieving what you are looking to do. Surprising that some 3rd party has not come up with a tool to achieve it though. Used iTunes for a short while and found I to be slow and frustrating. Zune is so much better for managing my music.

    Sent from my HTC Surround using Board Express
    03-19-2012 09:01 AM
  3. Mikey_T's Avatar
    The thing is Outlook is more than just an email client; it is contacts & calendar (which I suppose you can use in Hotmail) as well as tasks and notes. I use all of them, and I also work in the field where I don't always have internet or cell coverage; so being able to work offline is critical.

    Plus I don't want to turn over all my personal data.

    As for Zune; maybe it's better than iTunes, but I don't really care - I have thousands of iTunes songs organized into a couple dozen playlists with hundreds of songs in each. I have no desire to start from scratch in a new program; especially when I'm still running several iPods. The Blackberry desktop software syncs iTunes music to the phone with no issues.

    Basically I love the look and feel of WP, but I don't want to have to change my entire digital life to adopt one of the phones.
    03-19-2012 11:47 AM
  4. diplomat696's Avatar
    Over Exchange your calendar definitely syncs with your phone calendar as I use these options frequently with my work and personal cell phone but yeah your right local sync with MS Outlook is not apparently supported (I have to agree this seems ridiculous when you think about the market penetration that MS Office has) perhaps someone (MS Team cough cough) could develop something to assist with that? I do not know though if it is even possible to be honest.

    I would say that Windows Live has come on in leaps and bounds and if you have need to operate a calendar that way I would recommend giving an open mind trial to Live to see how it works for you.

    Regarding iTunes I guess my opinion on that is will Apple let you use Zune to sync with the Iphone/Ipad? Not having ever owned one I dont know but I am pretty sure the answer would be not - agreed, would be nice if there was more cross collaboration between large companies to give consumers more choices (unlikely to ever happen!!). Having owned a Zune MP3 player before Windowsphone even debuted I can say that I have felt that Zune was better than iTunes from the get go of course though if you have been using iTunes for a while there is a comfortableness and familiarity there.

    Final Thoughts: with the upcoming release of windows 8 and windows apollo to me now is the time to make the jump for anyone not already using windows phone architecture, it is simple, intuitive and forward thinking. Yes there are some limitations but the more market penetration windows phone gets the better I think it is going to become not to mention that you are going to be seeing a whole new depth of developers moving into the market place once Metro goes live for the Windows8 App Store; This should only strengthen the firm position MS and it's partners are gradually obtaining.
    03-19-2012 12:43 PM
  5. Bifurcated's Avatar
    Yes, WP does not (and will never) sync directly with Outlook. They are definitely pushing us to use the cloud for our emails, calendar and tasks.

    For what it's worth, I use a hosted exchange service for my own email, and would never go back to the old way. Exchange gives real-time sync between phone and Outlook on the desktop. Office 365 gives you this at $6/month for a personal plan...
    03-19-2012 12:48 PM
  6. N8ter's Avatar
    The Outlook Argument is a cop-out. Microsoft is actually trying to get more casual users to upgrade to outlook, which actually makes them money because either you'll be buying it for $99 or buying it with the Microsoft Office Suite. OneNote is similar.

    They have added integrated Synching of Windows Live into Outlook 2010 in addition to the Connector for 2003/2007 and there is the Outlook Social Connector for Windows Live, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Office is Microsoft's biggest money maker. Microsoft is doing the complete opposite the person upthread stated. They even stated as much when they were publicly talking about the Connectors leading up to their release.

    Live Essentials is nothing more than a replacement for the built-in apps in Vista, which were replacements for the bundled and built-in apps in Windows XP and 2000 (Outlook Express, Windows Movie Maker, etc.) albeit with some extras. Personally I prefered the Vista versions. They were far less bloated and better integrated into the system.

    The amount of people who will seriously consider paying for a personal email account is very slim (I used to pay for Hosted Exchange, and it didn't last long but thanked them for the free copy of Outlook), and pushing it as an alternative to synching to Microsoft's own desktop software (which competing products like Blackberry and iPhones/iTouch/iPad do just fine - even HTC/Motorola Androids as well) is a bit assinine. You can use Office365 on any device that supports ActiveSync as well as Blackberries (get BES for free IIRC), so that is not a selling point for WP7. They need to add back in the PIM Synchronization, IMO. It's a huge deal for a lot of people, especially when other platforms let you sync this over WiFi in the background.

    Windows Live also has a terrible contact management system so if you're moving hundreds of contacts to the cloud (assuming you want to put all their info there and all the fields may not match, either) you can have some issues with that.
    03-19-2012 12:49 PM
  7. Mikey_T's Avatar
    Well I just visited the Microsoft Features Suggestion page for Windows Phone; looks like the Outlook sync is a pretty big deal; the top 3 suggestions under the sync category all deal with direct sync to Outlook, and it is in the top 5 suggestions overall.

    With that kind of feedback hopefully they will come around.
    03-19-2012 01:16 PM
  8. eric12341's Avatar
    Migrating from iTunes to Zune is no problem at all. You just tell Zune to look in your iTunes folder and it should add everything in there, even the playlists if they're in a format that Zune supports. Using Zune is leaps and bounds better than using iTunes, plus you can also use the smartDJ feature to auto generate playlists of songs based on the current playing song,these playlists can use the songs already in the collection and stream them from the market as well. Outlook sync is supported but only through the cloud but it isn't that big of a deal (MS isn't going to get into your personal stuff).
    03-19-2012 01:16 PM
  9. Mikey_T's Avatar
    Migrating from iTunes to Zune is no problem at all. You just tell Zune to look in your iTunes folder and it should add everything in there, even the playlists if they're in a format that Zune supports
    If this is true that solves my problem. I have no issue using Zune if it will propagate itself from my iTunes folders. This is exactly what the Blackberry Desktop Manager does when sending music and playlists into the media player on a Blackberry.

    Outlook sync is supported but only through the cloud but it isn't that big of a deal (MS isn't going to get into your personal stuff).
    It IS a big deal for me; as I've mentioned I don't always have internet access and I am a heavy Outlook user. From what I've read using the Outlook 'connector' gives an incomplete sync, shortening some data fields and skipping others. This is unacceptable.
    03-19-2012 01:29 PM
  10. eric12341's Avatar
    If this is true that solves my problem. I have no issue using Zune if it will propagate itself from my iTunes folders. This is exactly what the Blackberry Desktop Manager does when sending music and playlists into the media player on a Blackberry.



    It IS a big deal for me; as I've mentioned I don't always have internet access and I am a heavy Outlook user. From what I've read using the Outlook 'connector' gives an incomplete sync, shortening some data fields and skipping others. This is unacceptable.
    you don't really need internet access / data coverage all the time, it would automatically sync the instant you regain coverage. It also uses a very small amount of data and provides minimal battery drain. If the computers you work at have outlook 2010 installed (most business and school computers now) then you don't have to use the connector. Also if you have an exchange server you don't need the connector either.
    03-19-2012 01:39 PM
  11. Mikey_T's Avatar
    Outlook 2010 still uses the connector; it's just baked into the program rather than something you have to add manually as with earlier versions.

    Bottom line is I just want a direct sync like I get with Blackberry. Heck even Apple will sync iPhone to Outlook; it should be a no-brainer for Microsoft. Based on the comments on the suggestion page I'm far from alone in this desire.
    03-19-2012 01:56 PM
  12. dasarp's Avatar
    Outlook 2010 still uses the connector; it's just baked into the program rather than something you have to add manually as with earlier versions.
    In the Office version coming out this year, Outlook should support better Live/Hotmail syncing right out of the box (without using the connector at all):

    Outlook 15 Gets Ready for Touch Tablets | PCWorld
    http://www.winsupersite.com/article/...look-15-142613
    eric12341 likes this.
    03-22-2012 04:03 PM
  13. snowmutt's Avatar
    Michael, I hope you do find some solutions to your problems. As a former Blackberry user myself, the night and day user experience from BB to WP is so large it is almost unfair. I cannot express how much more of a joy it is to use WP. BB still serves a need better than any other OS, but it is getting less and less of a reason to stay with them as ecosystems build and improve. WP is worth the shot, trust us.

    I have always wondered what it says about me that I have owned a Blackberry, WeBOS, and WP, but never an Android or iPhone. Am I just an underdog kinda guy?
    eric12341 likes this.
    03-23-2012 01:50 AM
  14. Mikey_T's Avatar
    Michael, I hope you do find some solutions to your problems. As a former Blackberry user myself, the night and day user experience from BB to WP is so large it is almost unfair. I cannot express how much more of a joy it is to use WP. BB still serves a need better than any other OS, but it is getting less and less of a reason to stay with them as ecosystems build and improve. WP is worth the shot, trust us.

    I have always wondered what it says about me that I have owned a Blackberry, WeBOS, and WP, but never an Android or iPhone. Am I just an underdog kinda guy?
    I feel the same way - I'll switch for sure if I can get these two issues sorted out; I really like how Windows Phone looks and I'm excited about the OS.

    Right now Blackberry and iPhone are the only 2 that do everything I want; and I don't want an iPhone.
    snowmutt likes this.
    03-23-2012 06:10 PM
  15. jimski's Avatar
    The Outlook Argument is a cop-out. Microsoft is actually trying to get more casual users to upgrade to outlook, which actually makes them money because either you'll be buying it for $99 or buying it with the Microsoft Office Suite. OneNote is similar .

    .
    Don't want to hijack this thread but, OneNote is available in every edition of Office. Outlook is now a "premium" add-on, like Publisher and Access. So the casual home/student user no longer has access to it. At least not without paying extra for it. Yes, it is a great business tool. And like everything else related to business (ie. Airline tickets, hotel rooms) you are expected to pay for it. There are plenty of sync solutions available for business for a small monthly (tax deductible) fee. Students and casual users will all do fine with Live. Regardless of the requests, I don't ever expect to see direct Outlook sync again on a Windows device. That's just the way it is.



    Sent from my HTC Surround using Board Express
    03-23-2012 07:19 PM
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