I Entrust My Data to… Microsoft?

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I used to love my iPhone, because it kept me all up-to-date and synced.  See – on my mac, Address Book and iCal were fully matched up to my calendar.   But then I realized that I really don’t need to sync very often, at first because syncing pre-version 2.1 was painful, but later because it’s just not needed.  MobileMe syncs over the air, but I’m not paying $99/yr for that service, especially not after the well covered problems with it, and the fact that I don’t see myself migrating from Gmail anytime soon. IMAP, however, was handling my work mail.  When iPhone firmware 2.1 came out, I began immediately using ActiveSync, which easily crawls through port 443 (or 80, I think, if you have no cert) on the firewall.  I set it up to handle my email and calendar.  Then I realized, now that my calendar was handled by ActiveSync and Exchange, iTunes wasn’t syncing it anymore.  And by the way, it was seconds behind live data.  And I had to sync my phone even less. 

Fast forward a few weeks and I finally decided to sync my contacts.  I backed up, then wiped my phone contacts and synced them with Exchange.  My contacts all arrived in good shape with their pictures.  But now iTunes doesn’t sync Contacts with my iPhone.  So the backend is now complex, but only on the Apple side.  

On the phone, email, contacts, and calendar are pushed to the phone, often times before they even show up in Outlook itself.   I sync my calendar from Outlook to Google and I pull my Google calendar down to iCal, only when I open iCal, since I’m subscribed via an ical file on Google’s servers.   I set up Address Book to sync with my Exchange server via the OWA interface that Address Book supports by default, but it only syncs every hour, and only when the Mac is running.  So it seemlessly syncs with Windows/Exchange, for free.  But it takes several programs to get to the Mac, and then, only once an hour.   

I sync less and less these days, but if the iPhone included the ability to sync via Bluetooth or wifi – both of which should be fairly trivial to implement – I’d sync much more regularly and trust my Mac to be the master copy.  Instead, due to Apple itself, I rely on Exchange.

All of this makes me wonder if one day in the not too distant future, I’ll be using a phone running Android.  After all, if all of my core data is synced elsewhere anyway, why would I want a phone that has no voice dial, can’t do picture messaging, can’t view flash, can’t do copy and paste, doesn’t allow for any wifi syncing, permits apps seemingly at will with no guidelines, gets more closed every month, has shitty battery life, and drops calls randomly?  Just because it has a pretty apple on it?

2 comments

  1. I was drooling all over the iPhone too, but the time between the 3G release and now cured me pretty darn good. I have an HTC Windows Mobile 6.0 smartphone/PDA (MDA Compact III), and while Windows Mobile is not nearly as slick as iPhone’s OS, it works like charm. It has NEVER crashed on me, doesn’t lose connection, and you can do everything with it, because thee are ten billion million applications out there, and through the .cab system, you can easily manage them too. It has GPS, so I have TomTom Navigator, it has WiFi, BlueTooth, etc. etc. etc.

    And it was free too, because I added 2yrs to my contract. It’s not as sexy as the iPhone, but at least it’s actually my phone.

  2. I also add a thumbsup on the wm side. I always said that only those preached so pathetically on the iPhone side who never ever had really used a wm-phone. Thing is, it’s closed, but it’s fairly easy to develop for it (sdk and emulator is available for free and it’s no rocket science to get used to it all), and there are so many apps for wm-based phones that numbers can’t describe. And there are very many decent, pretty and even posh-looking phones with wm on them, which means one has quite a broad choice possibility.
    That said, I am looking forward to having an Android-based phone, but from what I see currently, I’d rather wait for a G2 (or whichever name will the next iteration be called). untlil then I stay with wm.

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