Posted by Kate Phizackerley on 23:51

Outcome: I have syncronised calendar, but not contacts

The charger for my old phone died.  As the phone was 4 years old, it made sense to upgrade - in fact it was cheaper.  Historically I have used Windows Mobile and ActiveSync to keep my contacts and calendar synchronised between my mobile and Outlook on the laptop.  It's a pretty essential functionality.

So O2 recommended I go with the new Windows 7 phone.  Wrong advice for me.  In future I won't trust O2 to recommend handsets.  Don't get me wrong: the HTC HD7 is a really nice phone.  The problem though is that it cannot use ActiveSync and there is no way of synchronising contacts with Outlook unless you are using Microsft Exchange.  Many small business

The workaround suggested on the Internet is to sign up for an Hotmail account and add the Outlook Connector.  There are two problems with that.  Firstly it doesn't offer two way synchronisation and you will need to drag contacts which change between two separate contacts folders in Outlook, and do the same with your calendar.  Of course, you will need to remember which you last updated.  In other words, it doesn't do the job.  The second problem was even more serious for me as the Outlook Connector won't work on my installation and, reading support forums, I am by no means alone in that.

So the Hotmail solution is a non-starter.  The alternative is to synchronise to Gmail.  Google offers two synchronisation tools:

1) If you are a business or school and use the Premium Edition of Google Apps then the tool will synchronise both contacts and your calendar.

2) If you are a free user, then a different tool will only synchronise a Google calendar.  (You can still import your contacts from a static file but they won't stay synchronised.)

Once you have the in Gmail (so long as you don't mind doing that), then add a Gmail account on your phone and synchronise that.  By default it will only synchronise contacts and email but if you go into the settings you can click to synchronise you calendar as well.  You may find it won't initially synchronise over the air but if you connect your phone via your laptop then it will synchronise - or at least it does for me.  I assume it is a file size issue.  Once the first sync has been done, there doesn't seem to be an issue in synchronising remotely; however, since I only need the two synchronise when I am working on the laptop, it wouldn't be an issue.

So I have a synchronised calendar but not contacts.  If you use Premium Google Apps, then you should be able to synchronise both, but for me it is a very unsatisfactory state of affairs and it means that a Windows Phone 7 is not a good solution for some of us.  With hindsight I should have gone for an iPhone which, remarkably can synchronise with Microsoft Outlook!  Really check your requirements before you by a Windows Phone for your business.

(There may be a complex workaround for contacts - I need to spend more time looking at it.)

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