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Innovation

The Missing Sync v4.0 beats the pants off of Microsoft's ActiveSync

I recently upgraded a couple of my devices to Windows Mobile 6 and had a chance to review a couple more devices with Windows Mobile 6. Mark/Space has been working hard to get their product upgraded to support Windows Mobile 6 and I started testing the alpha and beta versions in the last couple months. I was pleased to see they just released the full version of The Missing Sync v. 4 that allows you to sync you Mac and a Windows Mobile device. I put it through its paces and have 18 screenshots showing every setup screen in the application in my image gallery. If you own a Mac and a Windows Mobile device then I highly recommend this product.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer on

I purchased a MacBook Pro last year as soon as support for Boot Camp was announced and followed that up shortly by talking about Mark/Space Inc.'s The Missing Sync version 2.5. Version 3 of the software was then released in November 2006 that added many more syncing functions that pushed The Missing Sync past Microsoft's own ActiveSync product. I then upgraded a couple of my devices to Windows Mobile 6 and had a chance to review a couple more devices with Windows Mobile 6. Mark/Space has been working hard to get their product upgraded to support Windows Mobile 6 and I started testing the alpha and beta versions in the last couple months. I was pleased to see they just released the full version of The Missing Sync v. 4 and I put it through its paces and have 18 screenshots showing every setup screen in the application in my image gallery.


 Image Gallery: Mark/Space has released a winning product with The Missing Sync, version 4 allowing Mac users to sync their Windows Mobile devices.  
Image Gallery: The Missing Sync main display
 
Image Gallery: Photo sync options
 

New features in version 4:

* Support for devices running Windows Mobile 6 * Sort, search, annotate, export call log history on the Mac * View/search SMS message history on the Mac* * Address Book integration for call log and SMS data * Encodes and downloads video for mobile viewing * Imports video from device separately from photos * SyncMinder™ device management * Interface improvements

*SMS text messages cannot be read from Palm Treo smartphones (700w/wx, 750).

Plugins, Install, Shop and more: There are now 13 plugins available in The Missing Sync and each one can be customized for your specific needs. I'll run through each plugin below. The second main display is the Install tab that lets you select .cab files to install applications on your Windows Mobile device. You can use the drop-down list to select where to install the .cab file and then simply follow the directions on your device to finish installation. There is also a Shop tab that lets you browse and purchase software from within The Missing Sync from the Mark/Space branded store front.

Along the top of the application you will find icons for quick access to many of the program's functions like show log, synchronize, mount, disconnect, and connections (network, Bluetooth, and USB). You can also customize what icons appear on the top tool bar to your liking. Clicking the mount icon pops up your Windows Mobile device in the Finder for easy access to the file structure of your mobile device. For some reason I was only able to connect the HTC Advantage via Bluetooth and had issues with USB connectivity.

Entourage settings: Entourage settings let you choose to Do Nothing, Synchronize, Entourage Overwrites Device, or Device Overwrites Entourage. Palm's Hotsync application has these functions, but ActiveSync does not let you choose to have the device overwriting the PIM software so this is another positive feature for The Missing Sync. I personally use Entourage, but have it connected to a hosted Exchange account so I don't use this plugin myself.

Bookmarks plugin: Like with the iPhone, you can sync your Safari bookmarks to your Windows Mobile device using this plug-in. You can select specific bookmark folders if you don't want all of your bookmarks to appear on your device. On the device itself, these bookmarks appear in a Missing Sync folder as hyperlinks on a single page.

Calendar events plugin: If you do not use Entourage, then you can use the calendar events plugin to manage synchronization of your calendar with the Sync services on your Mac. Actually you can also manage a bit of the Entourage settings through this plugin as well.

Call and SMS log plugins: There are plugins that allow you to have your call and text messaging logs sent to your Mac. This is a great way for businesses to track calls for billing purposes and a nice way to backup your text messages.

Contacts plugin: Again, like the Calendar events plugin, the Contacts plugin lets you manage how to sync your Windows Mobile device to your Mac without Entourage.

File sync plugin: This plugin provides something for Windows Mobile users on Macs that Windows PC users do not get with ActiveSync and that is the ability to sync ANY folder on your Mac to your Windows Mobile device internal or external storage location. This is a great way to manage your documents and keep your device up-to-date.

Music plugin: This plugin allows you to sync non-DRM iTunes music and podcasts to your Windows Mobile device. You can select where to store the items on your device and a minimum amount of memory to keep free when syncing. You can synchronize playlists and check when to refresh smart playlists. Advanced options allow you to select file types other than MP3 for synchronization. I use this extensively for easily syncing podcasts to my Windows Mobile devices.

Notes plugin: Entourage doesn't sync notes using my 4smartphone hosted Exchange server so I use this Notes plugin to sync my Windows Mobile notes to Entourage. The Notes plugin support categories of notes as well.

Photos plugin: Many Windows Mobile devices have cameras and this plugin allows you to import devices from your device to your Mac. You designate where the photos are synced from on your device and where they are then going to be stored on your Mac. You can then have the photos removed from your device after downloading to your Mac. You can go the other way too and have photos exported from your Mac (iPhoto) to your Windows Mobile device. You can choose folders to sync, where to store the photos, how much memory to keep free on the device, whether or not the photos are scaled down and when to download the photos.

Tasks plugin: Like Calendar events and Contacts mentioned above, the Tasks plugin allows you to select how non-Entourage tasks are synced between your Mac and Windows Mobile device.

Video plugin: Similar to the Photos plugin, the Videos plugin lets you import videos taken with your cameraphone to your Mac and have them removed after importing. You can also export videos from your Mac to your Windows Mobile device and I found this to be an awesome feature. I simply dropped video files onto the Install tab and The Missing Sync took care of the conversion to a format my Windows Mobile device could read and everything worked like a champ.

TimeSync plugin: This simple plugin keeps your Windows Mobile device and Mac computer in sync. You use a slider to establish how far off the clocks can be before they are synced.

There are a LOT more details behind each plugin and if your are interested in the product I recommend you browse the Mark/Space website for all the program details.

Another global feature that I enjoy using with The Missing Sync is the setup of profiles for the plugins. I have one for no PIM syncing when I just want to sync multimedia content and logs without syncing any calendar, tasks, or contacts information.

The Missing Sync version 4 is available now for US$39.95. If you purchased The Missing Sync for Windows Mobile v3 on or after 1 June 2007 then you get a free upgrade to v4.0. If you purchased The Missing Sync (for just about any type of device) prior to this date, then you can upgrade for US$24.95. Mark/Space provides a quick upgrade eligibility check on their upgrade page in case you don't know when you bought the older version.

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