The best way to sync email, contacts and calendar

Discussion in 'Android General Discussions' started by kleach, Nov 12, 2009.

  1. kleach
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    kleach New Member

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    I am writing this post for ALL that need to solve this problem, hopefully we will get technical distinct answers that we can post to the FAQ.

    I want to get a Droid phone... BUT I do have several active businesses and have requirements for ANY mobile device.

    I have over 20 email accounts (all pop) most of which are through Network Solutions. They are all separate businesses with separate domains, but I think my problem if solved cleanly will help many others.

    Like most of the business world, I am forced to work with Microsoft Office. Excel, Word and Outlook mostly. I do not want to debate this.. it is just a fact.

    I currently have Outlook setup to with 20 email accounts. My inbox has multiple folders within it. Actually it is more of a tree of folders. I use the rules engine in outlook to move the incoming email messages to their folder so I can sort and manage my insane email scenario. Some folders are for friends, so when a friend sends an email to any of my accounts it goes to the friend folder. I mention this to make the point that it is not one folder per account.

    I also have ONE calendar and ONE huge contact list that needs to be synced wirelessly.

    Now I am willing to make changes to the configuration but I need folders or something similar that has nesting capabilities (tree structure) and the sync has to be of a push nature. I can't wait 10 min for an email to cycle through.

    I have ALWAYS has Verizon as my carrier, best overall coverage (again no need for debate). Now in the past the only way I was able to pull off the sync was to run a desktop app that monitors the .ost file from outlook and syncs up the email, contacts and calendar to a web site. Verizon OEMed Intellisync for this purpose. It sends all of your info to a web service which in turns syncs to your phone on a push (if selected) method. This works for Palm and Windows Phones. There are a few catches however. For one Verizon has NOT updated their OEM install of IntelliSync in a long time (today is 11/12/09) and as a result Outlook 2007 is not fully supported. What that means is that everything works except for appointment reminders. If you have an appointment in outlook 2007 with a reminder. The reminder will fire on the phone properly but never acknowledges in outlook. Meaning you will continue to see the reminder even after you dismiss it. It also corrupts the outlook database for that appointment and the only way to fix it is to delete the appointment all-together (the command line switches does not fix the corruption). So it if far from perfect but it does support folders... dumping ALL my emails into one inbox just is not the way to go.. it is almost 2010!!! There MUST be a better way..

    Enter Droid..
    Now Google wants to be the center of the world. So it seems that they want you to sync all of your mail sources with GMail and magically everything will work. Not the case. I was willing to try that. I created a GMail account and began adding POP accounts. GMail does not have folder but does have labels which are close but does not seem to support nesting (like a tree). I can NOT add any Network Solutions email accounts there since their SMTP port is 2525 and that is not a valid GMail SMTP port, and since neither will change I am stuck.

    I am willing to install exchange if needed.

    I do see third party apps that will run on Droid but they seem to sync calendar and contacts only. Honestly I don't see a way to avoid some form of desktop or server monitoring tool since the rules for the folders are in outlook. The cycle time from getting an email, getting it to the phone and replying back has to be reasonable.

    The sad thing was that I had this functionality for years with Palm and then with Windows Phones.. Then Crackberries can around like it was a new thing... but it does seem like it is going backwards. I understand that many are not using POP anymore... I am willing to use IMAP if it makes sense but I need a single source for all my email that I can backup and recover etc.. I am not sure IMAP will let me do that or even if it will solve my problem. One solution I have heard is to use Outlook Web Access (OWA) via the internet.. While that is possible it removes the ability to attach images from the phone or view files on the phone (pdf etc..) easily. The interface is also slow since it is using the internet for the connect and sending the graphics for the site along with the email. If this is my only option I will stay with my not so good windows phone and reboot every day. The solution should be built into the phone itself. I can see how some would use the OWA to get email and use a third party tool to sync contacts and calendar... but that seems like a patch to a primary business function for a smart phone..


    So, after that really long intro.. here is my question.
    Giving all of the above what is the absolute best way to sync my outlook, folders, email, calendar and Contacts with my new Droid phone from Verizon????
    Notes would be nice, but not needed.

    One think I do like about the IntellliSync solution is that if a hard reset my phone back to factory settings.. all I have to do is re-enable wireless sync and everything in outlook is back on my phone... contacts, email and all my calendar entries.. etc..

    I don't think it is much to ask to be able to do this on a brand new, cutting edge phone..

    Please advise and be as technical as possible...
    Many thanks for anyone brave enough to read this far...


    -KLeach
  2. Jimbo
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    Jimbo New Member

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    I am not going to get too technical here yet as I don't know your willingness to use options other than Network Solutions.

    I have multiple businesses and multiple mailboxes. But I moved my email to google apps and manage it all that way. It costs $50 per year per account but I can set it up to have many email boxes and accounts under one. It works very well and this device is google so it works great with it. Since everything is stored on their servers there is no need for backup of anything. POP is not the way to go in my opinion with your requirements.

    Actually you probably would not even have to move all of your N/S email accounts just have google apps tie to them. You really need to get an account and play with it.
  3. mercykilling
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    mercykilling New Member

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    patch for outlook 2000?

    i got a droid but my office runs office 2000, apparently not supported - i love the device but not being able to sync contacts or calendars is a bit of a drag. anyone aware of a patch? any help is appreciated.
  4. eversonsc
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    eversonsc New Member

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    Honestly if you really want the Droid here is your best option. I also own a business but only had 2 email accounts and 3 yahoo personal accounts. I changed all of my yahoo personal accounts to Gmail accounts and forwarded my yahoo mail to the Gmail. I'll continue to forward until all of my contacts know that I'm using Gmail instead of yahoo.

    For my business I also opened up 2 Gmail accounts to use with them. For example assume my email address was jeff@mybusiness.com. Basically I just made the emails mybusiness@gmail.com to make it easy. My business account is with lunarpages and I can access them via POP but I didn't want my phone polling for email every 10 minutes and draining the battery.

    I use Microsoft Outlook 2003 as my main calendar. Google has an application you install on your computer called Google Calendar Sync. It will sync your Outlook Calendar with a Google Calender (Gmail). Then when you update your calendar on your phone it will sync with your desktop and put the appointment in your Outlook calender. It works great for me. You can export your contacts and add them to a Gmail account and then sync those contacts with your phone and BAM everything is moved over and everything is synced wirelessly.

    I hope that helps
  5. mercykilling
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    mercykilling New Member

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    outlook calendar sync

    thanks, eversonsc...we're still ancient 2000 users here. word on the street is i'm SOL when it comes to synching. argh :)
  6. Caindris
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    Caindris New Member

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    It looks like your best option is to use an app that syncs your Outlook desktop to your google account and then sends the data to your phone. Something like - Google Android sync I don't find this to be a very elegant solution.

    The other option you have is to add all of the accounts by hand to your phone. While this is doable you might lose the contact syncing and you will most definitely lose the calendar syncing. The only work around is you could use Google Calendar to sync the calendar from your desktop to google to your phone.

    I understand what you're trying to do but I really don't think there's an elegant way to do it. The other option I could think of is you could tell your 20 e-mail accounts to all forward to one master e-mail account. That would make that account damn messy but that is nothing Outlook rules couldn't fix and then you could attach your Droid to one e-mail account
  7. takeshi
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    takeshi New Member

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    It's a very specific set of requirements. I seriously doubt that many others will have the exact same requirements as you. In any case, let's review:

    I'd suggest looking into implementing Exchange. The Droid is designed to use ActiveSync. You'd benefit from having a mailbox on the Exchange server instead of Outlook. Rules could be processed on the Exchange server instead of a desktop PC. It's generally best to keep desktop solutions out of your mail delivery chain. Outlook would be better used as just a client for your purposes. I'm not sure about what to do with the 20 POP accounts. I don't think Exchange can directly retrieve from them but I don't think you want 20 or more Exchange accounts either (if that's possible with your various domains).

    I think any new solution is going to require some compromises on your part despite what you've stated in the OP. What you really need is a dedicated consultant to sort things out for you. An Exchange expert would be beneficial.

    Let's not put the cart before the horse. Look at solutions before you assume that there is one. Comments like that remind me of some other forum favorites such as "For $XXX it ought to YYY" or "In this day and age...".

    There are certainly plenty of brand new, cutting edge devices that wouldn't meet your needs.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2009
  8. inspired
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    inspired New Member

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    I have same issues

    Hi, Kleach -

    I have almost the same issues/request I'm trying to resolve before I make the switch to Droid. I'd love an update. Were you ultimately able to find an easy solution? I'm a newbie to the smart phone, so syncing and being able to backup all ingoing/outgoing emails to my main computer is my biggest concern. I also have multiple business email accounts feeding into Outlook, although I feed all into one inbox and manually distribute to my hundred sub folders. Any advice with simple instructions is very appreciated.
  9. whanbury
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    whanbury New Member

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    Take two steps forward and one back please

    For years I've tried to use the various Google products, I've been both a tester and beta tester. But I work corporate which means Windows and Microsoft. There has been a lot of hype over Android and after using the phones, tablets, and the Google products they're supposed to partner with, I'm just not able to get excited about this line of OS, including the Google email and document solutions.

    As I listen to many users here it seems everyone is working so hard to find and implement products that will make their devices productive and easy to use.
    At the risk of getting tarred and feathered, I'm going to offer my solution that works well for me.

    My organization recently switched to Lunar Pages with a mixed IMAP/POP and Exchange environment. We needed multiple calendar and address book support, as well as instant synchronicity between laptops, desktops, and mobile devices.

    For our shared calendar/mobile users, we bought them Exchange accounts, and for everyone else, they are on POP/IMAP.
    We standardized on iPhones several years ago and to set up a pop/exchange account takes about 2 minutes. It's built into the iPhone OS.
    Plus you can add as many calendars and email accounts you need. The iPhone and Exchange sync automatically and all of our users are happy which makes us happy.
    You can add the various branded email services flawlessly, such as Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, etc. The elegant simplicity is excellent.

    It's so obvious to me that Android and Google are working hard to become the center of the universe, and at one time I used to consider them the good guys vs. Microsoft. Not so much anymore. They are now just another sofware giant trying to dominate the computer market, and they just aren't getting the corporate side of email use. People shouldn't have to work so hard at using the mobile phones for corporate email, and channel everything through Google.

    I hope I haven't offended anyone here, my goal is to share my good experiences I've had with the solutions that are working for us right now. What people have to go through with Google and Android sounds so cumbersome and complicated to me, if you true point is simplicity and absolute reliability, then you might consider the solution we came up with.

    Please don't think I'm anti-Droid, I have one sitting in a box by my desk I bought in a moment of excitement. But as a tech if I had to work so hard at solutions, then I knew my end users would not be happy with the product. So the brand new phone sits on the shelf in a box.
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