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SyncTalk 2.0

Wed Feb 28, 2001 - 9:42 AM EST - By Scott Hanselman

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Product Info


SyncTalk's User Interface (UI) looks VERY similar on each device you install it on. I installed it on a Windows CE 2.11 IBMz50, a Casio E-115 PocketPC, and my Handspring Visor Prism running PalmOS. Screenshot on PocketPC

It's features include:

  • Beam contacts, appointments, and notes between devices running the Palm OS, Windows CE (including Pocket PC), and EPOC operating systems.
  • Create a customized package of information that includes contacts, appointments, and/or notes that can be sent from the Outbox in a single send.
  • Wirelessly upgrade to a new device by transferring (in bulk) all contacts or appointments from your old device to your new one.
  • Send the SyncTalk Professional application wirelessly to Palm OS devices from either EPOC or Windows CE devices.

Let me go over each of these feature claims one at a time. First, beaming information. Yes, you can beam contacts, appts, and notes. Using contacts as an example, you select the contacts you want from a list of all the contacts on your device. You add them to a "package," and this package is put into an Outbox. Then you hit Send to initiate a transfer to the receiving computer. This process is often interrupted by annoying and poorly placed Message Boxes. For example, when you hit Send to start the transfer from your Outbox, you are prompted to "make sure the other system is ready." Well, now I wouldn't have pressed Send if I wasn't ready! Silly usability issues like this are not present when beaming via the Palm's built-in apps. We start whenever, and the receiving device is always ready.

You can as many (or all) the items you want to a package, including items of varying types. You can't, however, send what Palm users call "ToDos." Since there are tasks available on Windows CE, I presume they are not available on EPOC? Either way, it's a disappointing omission, as I am able to sync my Prism with my IBMz50 using Outlook as the intermediary. I'd like to see this feature included in SyncTalk in the future.

Screenshot on EPOC, beaming to EPOCYou are also able to send all items in bulk, which could facilitate upgrading from one device to another. This is mostly useful if you don't use a computer as a go-between or as the authoritative source for your data. I tried to simulate this process by beaming all my contacts and appointments from my Prism to the IBM z50 running Windows CE 2.11. The acutal beaming took a fairly long time, several minutes for 500 contacts and 500 appointments. Everything worked fine. But, when I hooked up my z50 to sync with Microsoft Outlook, I ended up with duplicates of everything. These duplicates were caused by the Windows CE to Outlook conduit thinking that the data in my z50 was different than the existing data in Outlook. It doesn't speak to a deficiency in the SyncTalk software, but rather a deficiency in the philosophy of using a program like this as an upgrade tool.

SyncTalk allows you to beam a copy of the SyncTalk Professional application wirelessly to Palm OS devices from either EPOC or Windows CE devices. This is kind of a double-edged sword. How often do you find others in a meeting with PDAs? Often. How often do you have a Pilot and they have something else? Often. But if I can't beam them the SyncTalk application, it doesn't do me much good. If you do have a non-Palm device, this is a very cool option. You just beam them the Palm app, and then the data they need.

The Interface >>

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