Android gets two-way syncing of corporate Exchange contacts and calendars

Posted by Christian Zibreg

Chicago (IL) - Android-based smartphones fall behind iPhone
in terms of out-of-the-box support for corporate Exchange
syncing. This drawback becomes a key obstacle preventing IT
administrators from deploying Android devices as viable business tools
in corporate environments. Luckily, a number of third-party developers
were quick to fix this omission, and thanks to a new
application named ContactsCalendarSync, Android users get automatic
wireless, bi-directional
Exchange syncing.



Previously, we reported on a free Android application, dubbed ContactsSync
and released by Wrike and Intermedia, which solved this glaring
omission. The Android-based
smartphones -- like T-Mobile's G1 -- have been unsuitable for business use. However,
as is often the case, the lack of corporate Exchange syncing inspired third-party developers
to build their own solution. And now, several third-party solutions are offered which enable IT administrators to sync corporate contacts with
Android devices.

Wrike's newest application, dubbed ContactsCalendarSync, elegantly solves corporate syncing issues. Since ContactsCalendarSync brings broader syncing capabilities than their previously ContactsSync program, the new app is provided for $24.95 --Wrike still provides ContactsSync free of charge here
for those who only need to sync corporate contacts. IT managers may
find $24.95 a small price to pay to be able to integrate Android
devices into their Exchange-based corporate environments.

To use, first download ContactsCalendarSync from the Android market and run it on your G1 smartphone. Choose Menu->Settings
to provide your Exchange login credentials and other advanced settings
if needed (domain name, user name, Exchange Web Services
Address). When you have successfully setup Exchange account on the 
phone, click the Synchronize button
to start syncing Exchange contacts and appointments with your phone.
Note: The program needs not sync your corporate email accounts
since you can already access those by setting up IMAP-based corporate email account in Android's mail program.

ContactsCalendarSync works only with Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 when Exchange Web Services
are enabled and accessible online. IT administrators can make syncing even
easier by properly configuring the Autodiscover service and
making it available via the Internet. This enables the application
to automatically find all other Exchange-related settings once only your login credentials are provided.

ContactsCalendarSync
currently doesn't
support Outlook syncing or Exchange 2003 servers -- due to the lack of
support for Exchange Web Services, but developers noted they are working
on work-around solution via WebDAV and similar services.


NOW ON THE ANDROID MARKET
Once you download ContactsCalendarSync from the Android Market, the application's icon
will appear on your home screen.

 

EASY SETUP
If your IT administrator has configured the
Autodiscover service (Microsoft Exchange Server 2007) and made it available through the Internet, you will be able to setup ContactsCalendarSync by providing only your Exchange login credentials. If not, then an input screen allows everything to be setup manually.

 

TAP TO SYNC
With Exchange account setup on your phone, simply tap the "Start syncing" button to start a wireless, automatic, bi-directional
syncing of Exchange contacts and appointments with your G1
phone. Email doesn't have to automatically sync if using IMAP-based corporate email already.