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timjs
05-23-2010, 11:04 AM
I'm a small business owner and don't have need for Exchange Server. I also have an established e-mail address that is probably over 10 years old. I've been using Palm Treo smartphones for a number of years and Palm PDAs prior to that. Therefore I've become quite accustomed to the near seamless integration between handheld and Outlook desktop. I just transitioned to an iPhone 10 days ago after much exacting research only to find out that the information that was presented by Apple, AT&T, and other internet sources was errouneous and imcomplete at best. Now I find myself at a loss for operating efficiently in the iPhone environment that lacks the following capabilities (these would be my enhancement requests, but as far as I'm concerned they're not enhancements, just features that should've been native to the iPhone as part of the initial software design):

1. E-mail - The Treo allowed me to selectivity sync Outlook folders to my phone. Unfortunately the Treo's limited memory did not allow me to select all 300 of my Inbox sub-folders. The necessity: I have a meeting set with a client and vendors and want to make sure that I have reference to all of the e-mail correspondance with this customer without having to bring my laptop or a paper file to the meeting. The solution was simple: use the sync software on the PC to specify which Inbox folders to sync to the phone prior to the meeting and then initiate a manual sync. The iPhone does NOT accommodate this capability in any easy way, shape or form without very complex and convoluted workarounds that usually require setting up internet IMAP e-mail accounts to help manage the information. That is WAY to much administration just to simply do something that iPhone does already with music and videos. The iPhone takes music and video organization and synchronization to the extreme and leaves all business applications in the "dust".

2. Calendar - I often like to set meeting reminders well beyond the 2-day limitation of the iPhone's native calendar app. This allows me to remind myself of an important meeting five days prior to the meeting which serves as a "trigger" to also remind me to prepare for the meeting. I also often used the capabilitity of inviting attendees from my Contacts lists or direct entry for sending meeting notices. This allowed me to include a brief agenda in the meeting notice, track the status of the attendees (accepted, declined, tentative) and ensured that every invitee was getting the same meeting information: time, date, and agenda in a single "container" that typically would auto-populate their calendar depending on their calendaring application. iPhone: NADA on both fronts. I have to setup two meeting notices for myself when I'm on the road: one to remind me to reset the meeting reminder to 5 days and to add invitees and agenda to the actual meeting when I get back to the office, sync the iPhone to my Outlook calendar and then open the actual meeting, apply the changes and then delete the reminder that reminded me to make the changes.

3. Contacts - I have over 150 categories in my contact list. As a customer builder I continually build a portfolio of contacts and rely heavily on categorizing sub-contractors and giving them a rating so that when I need to contact a painter or carpenter I could just open my Contacts on the phone and search for Painters and get a list of all of the painters stored on my phone and work through the list by rating in order to call them to discuss their availability for a particular project. Now with the iPhone I have to put a reminder in the calendar to search for a painter when I get back to the office. This doesn't work very well when someone asks for a referral when I'm out of the office. I used to just be able to search for whatever they requested and respond with a list of good referrals. Also, I've seen some of the address book apps that have some categorization capabilities, but they don't allow for assignment of more than one category to each contact. What if I have a painter that also applies wallpaper? I would have to put them in the address twice; once as a painter and once as a wallpaper specialist. Some of my contacts have more than 7 categories.

4. File Management/Transfer - again, it's much easier to walk into a meeting with a minimal amount of "paper" and the maximum amount of information. I used to just move customer files between my PC and phone just like Inbox folders as described above. I used the phone as a physically oversized flash drive, why not? After all that's why I started using smartphones years ago, so that I didn't look like the digital cowboy walking into a meeting with a PDA in my holster on one hip and my cell phone in a holster on the other hip. Actually I don't much care how I look, but the hassle of having two or three devices, associated chargers, software and accessories....the smartphone was a panacea toward that end. The iPhone will allow you to manage songs and movies 24x7 to your hearts delight, but doesnt' allow for basic file managemnt and data transfer. Again, I've seen many standalone apps that allow this function, but I've yet to locate the "killer" app that does it all.

I understand that I could "bite the bullet" and get an Internet mail account that easily solve many of these problems and allow to maintain realtime data for both my PC and iPhone without the necessity of the syncing and "micro" data managment. However the real "kicker" is that I don't always have Internet connectivity for my PC or phone in my geographical territory. It would probably work just great if I was located in Siicon Valley near Apple Central, but I don't and neither do many other iPhone users. It's critical to be able to open Outlook and get access to all of my e-mails (with the exception of new e-mails) when I don't have an internet connection while I'm on a jobsite or to be able to access files, e-mails etc. when I'm at a remote jobsite outside of cell range (there are unfortunately too many dead zones in my locale) on my phone.

My suggestion is that you get a Treo or comparable smartphone that uses Windows Mobile OS and a standalone full version of Outlook 2007 and create an app that does everything that can be done with combination of hardware and software and then add more capability to it such as file transfer and I'm sure you'll have the killer app that will spread like wildfire throughout the iPhone business user community. That app will make the iPhone the true business productivity tool that it should have been in the first place.

On a final note: I've been a computer specialist since 1978 and just started my custom home building business 4 years ago. I continue to try to remain informed and on the leading edge and many of my colleagues and fellow builders recognize my expertise in this area and have come to me for advice. Most recently a fellow builder that uses Sprint/Nextel PTT phones wanted my opinion on upgrade his field and office staff to an integrated business communication environment. I had to tell him how poorly the iPhone performs in this capacity and suggested that he look to Blackberry products to meet his needs. There are other things that the iPhone does that make it indispensible, which makes it difficult for me to look backwards, so I'll keep looking to make it function in the best possible way to meet my business needs.

DJOCTO
05-23-2010, 02:40 PM
Timjs welcome to the forum!

At DejaOffice, we are trying to help. Please don't direct your anger at us. If you are unhappy with your iPhone, you are free to talk to those folks.

We're doing what we can.

nadim
08-10-2010, 01:19 PM
Hi, I am in the same position as Timjs (director within a small company with no use for Exchange and old user of Treo). But Instead of switiching to Iphone, I choose Android and I am loosing efficiency not only due to the change from a working environment to another one but mainly to the lack of efficiency in synchro between outlook and mobiles. Honestly I do not understand why you'r not able of giving this plug and play feature as we have had with Palm which was for the best of breed in terms of synchro between outlook and treo...

Soapy123
08-20-2010, 01:21 PM
Need I say more? I am in the same position as the above. I just bought a Samsung Vibrant Android that wants me to sync with a google "cloud," meaning my business and personal stuff would be "out there" somewhere.

I also do not use exchange, but I still "live" in Outlook 2007. I was using a Blackberry before this android thing. It synched perfectly with Outlook. I am not mad at this group. I am happy to at least have a little measure of synching with Outlook, but I too am frustrated with the lack of some of the features. I loved the request of Timjs about trying to match up more of the features that worked.

I hope they can make it work better for us. Thanks!