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Outlook contact and calendar information via USB sync coming to BlackBerry Link

Outlook via USB sync coming to BlackBerry Link
By Bla1ze on 18 Feb 2013 12:17 am EST
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If there has been a topic on the minds of BlackBerry Z10 owners that needs highlighting, it's the fact that the newly introduced BlackBerry Link which replaces BlackBerry Desktop Software for BlackBerry 10 devices, currently lacks the functionality to sync Outlook via USB.

Sure, there are ways to get it working similarly assuming you have an Outlook.com webmail account but that's not ideal and not what previous owners had access to. Previous BlackBerry owners want their desktop Outlook sync via USB and many, are wondering why the hell it was removed in the first place.

Luckily, BlackBerry has now commented on the matter and desktop synch via USB will be making its way to BlackBerry Link via an update that will include the ability to import contact and calendar information directly from Outlook to your BlackBerry 10 smartphone and another update shortly after that will bring full two-way sync.

With BlackBerry 10 the syncing of PIM data between your BlackBerry Z10 and computer can be easily configured to happen over the air.  You need to add your existing webmail accounts on the BlackBerry Z10 and set the email, contacts, calendar for syncing. We have posted information on how to do this for example with Outlook.com on the Help Blog.

For those of you for whom over the air synchronization is not an option, we want to assure you that direct sync via USB is also being worked on and we are committed on adding this capability as part of our BlackBerry Link software suite. Our first major update for BlackBerry Link coming in the next few weeks will include the ability to import contact and calendar information directly from Outlook to your BlackBerry 10 smartphone. Full two-way sync will be added in the next update shortly thereafter. We will provide more information about timing of these features on our various forums and blogs, but you can also look for updates at http://BlackBerry.com/BlackBerryLink

That of course, doesn't explain why it was removed in the first place but I suppose it will put those who are looking for the function and not having any luck minds at rest. Personally, I've never used the desktop synching option and always found it to be one of the reasons BlackBerry Desktop Software was slow as cold molasses running up a hill backwards in Winnipeg but clearly, a lot of folks enjoyed using it and for some it's a must-have offering.

Via: Berry Review

Reader comments

Outlook contact and calendar information via USB sync coming to BlackBerry Link

77 Comments

They better update this software and BB10 quickly and often if they want to stay ahead of the negativity.

*Nothing* pleases you people, eh?

1) Gripe endlessly about "missing feature that will kill the platform"
2) Blackberry adds feature
3) Find something wrong with #2, gripe some more
4) Go to 1

How about the fact that it's not available to US customers (for at least another month) gripe. I think that one's LEGIT!

Only if you assume that the delay is BlackBerry's fault.

BTW, Nokia showed off the Lumia 920 in early September, and it didn't hit the street until two months later. The Samsung Galaxy IV is going to be shown next month, but isn't likely to be available until May. This kind of gap between launch and general availability is becoming the norm.

My major gripe is the June release of the Q10. That's just absurd. BB should've released that first, or very soon after as they had been saying repeatedly right up until Jan. 30

Actually I agree with the strategy of releasing the Z10 first. It was very important to have the all touch version out there first to attract and get the attention of people from the bigger market segment(Androids/IOS/etc) I don't think this would have happened with the Q10 being released first.

Complain to the carriers. They could have had it sooner if they wanted. Other carriers do.

Also, I get the importance of the US market, but no one launches globally at the same time.

FTR, I was fine with it being removed... LOL! Now, I'll likely never update BB Link so as to avoid the bloat I thought they had finally gotten rid of.

Agreed! I've disabled it from loading up automatically and disabled all automatic syncing. I like just being able to drag and drop my files from/to computer/Z10 (or PlayBook).

FTR, I never used any part of DM except the device backup and Outlook syncing. To me, the other stuff is bloat that I'd be happy to see go away (which was apparently all they left in Link).

I find that drop and drag in Windows Explorer to be better when dealing with media files.

Bla1ze that's very short minded. It's the only part of the DM that I use and I do pretty regularly.

For me sync over USB is the only secure option for PIM management.

Now I understand why people didnt complain about the fact that every time you plug an OS7 device to a computer even just a few minutes for syncing it does drain the battery within a few hours, probably few people still use it.

C'mon Bla1ze, we know you can't resist an update... you'll apply that as soon as it's ready... ;)

As a side note, nice to see BlackBerry respond and that there are plans to have that functionality added. Hopefully it's sooner than later.

Hey thanks Omnitech for the appropriate comment. Hit the nail on the head that time.

I'm just grateful that these features are getting added.

I'm happy to hear this is being taken care of. Doesn't affect me, but there are definitely lots of users out there who use Outlook strictly as a local client.

Finally!!!!!!! I mean there are So many threads concerning all this. Good our prayers have been answered. Hopefully this is done close to US launch.

Hmm.. do I upgrade to a Z10 based on their word, or do I wait until they've actually implemented the feature?

How is that 16MB PlayBook working out for you? Personally I find my 16GB version could use a little extra memory....

Please let Link work better than DM7. DM6 can sync my Outlook calendar (500+ entries with recurring events) in a matter of seconds. DM7, when I upgraded, took almost an hour. Had to move back to DM6. Good move, just make sure it works and isn't just a half a$$ pacifier.

If they are listening, when are they going to restore the FULL BRIDGE functions that exist for OS7 and prior devices like Memo, Calendar, Email (non-native)???

I have the dock for my 9800 on my desk next to my monitor. It takes a matter of seconds to dock it and load up the desktop software, and not much longer to sync.

If that's too much work then better just stay in bed all day :p

This basic feature is needed!

One of the reasons why I stayed w/ BBRY is because I don't want to upload all my contacts into google/cloud/etc.

Makes me wondering, after two years of delays, is BB10 really ready for launch? I'm still waiting here in the US.

Good to know they will reinstate this feature again. I really hate posting my contacts and other private info to the Net (I avoid it if I can).

~I am BlackBerry by choice~

Good to see that after people have brought up the issue and BB help commented on it, now BlackBerry comes out with an official comment on this being worked on.

For me this is a must have feature and am really happy that it is coming. I just hope it does not take too long.

I can appreciate that with the new OS built and all some things will get a setback but certainly is positive that Blackberry heard out on this one.

Z10 here I come...!! :)

How could the BB10 team miss out on this feature when they know that business groups use this feature every single day to update their data and sync !!

After 2 years of wait who will want to buy a half baked product?!! ......who cares about an OS being built from ground up when it can't deliver the basic functions.....plus the wait is too long .... the pricing too high to capture the market.....and the BB bridge is still not working smoothly!!

Heins has really worked hard to set things straight but he still has to make BB a lean mean machine .....

Emerging markets are really losing a lot of interests due to the time gap of product launch and lot of consumers are migrating to the iOS as Apple has woken up and aggressively started marketing their products in India with attractive financing schemes and continous adverts.......even Lumia is picking up the steam with 2 handsets set at attractive price points and agian more than 55% of the market captured by Samsung (Android)!!

They will have presumably put the priority on features used by the majority of people which would actually be ota synching from exchange for vastly more business users than would use outlook in standalone mode and for consumers the vast majority of them will tend to be perfectly happy with cloud-based options.

BB bridge works fine for me, just because it focuses on other areas than the bb7 version does not mean it doesn't work

Good news.

I was looking at
http://www.companionlink.com/products/bb10-outlook.html

and had thought that that program would be necessary to sync over usb, and feeling a little bothered that the cost seems, in that case, to be high.

I am glad to hear that the BlackBerry Link will, eventually, sync calendar and contacts with Outlook 2010 over the usb connection.

Well I trust that this is what this announcement means.

So it keeps looking like the launch of the Z10 was possibly premature and RIM is scrambling still to complete for t he US launch. And of course the BlackBerry mantra "It's Coming" is used again! What's funny is I'm sure Playbook owners told them they wanted this too but they've been ignoring that product pretty much since the 2.0 release.

If the absence of this niche feature means that the launch was premature, does that also mean that pretty much every phone release from any company in the last few years is premature since not many if any of those support this way of synching either.

I agree that there were some missing features. But it's version 1.0 of a brand new OS that was completely built from scratch. If you look at version 1 of the iPhone or Samsung Galaxy, both very popular mature products, you will see that they went through the same process. The missing features on the Z10 will be added in future software updates. I disagree with you when you say that the Z10 is a half baked product, as right now it does the basic stuff that 8/10 users need pretty well.

Blackberry/RIM has committed to filling in the rest and I believe that they will. It's funny how it just impossible to satisfy some people. First they gripe that the feature is missing then when Blackberry/RIM says that it will be added they continue griping about it. If you go over to other forums, (iMore, WPCentral, Android Central, etc) you will see that the IPhone, Windows Phone, Samsung Galaxys and others have issues as well. No product is completely perfect.

The other thing that seems to come up again and again is the comparison to the playbook was when it was first released. The Z10 in its present form is a lot more complete and functional than the playbook ever was when it was first released.

This is just one of many missing features. Also this is not a 1.0 OS, it is a 3.0 version of the OS. PlayBook was 1.X and 2.X version. Don't want to believe that, then throw the BB10 FIPS certification out then because they are using the Playbook's cert to cover BB10 devices.

I agree with you 100%. The idea this is a 1.0 release is an excuse. When Google brought Android and Apple brought iOS for the first time neither had done a smartphone before. If either now radically reform their OS and forget things they are known for - they would be asked if they had ever designed a smartphone before. BBRY/RIM are credited with, if not the invention of the smartphone, the introduction of it into everyday life and to leave out features that were defining of the brand is worthy of criticism. This is not BBRY's first ever attempt at a smartphone.

BTW for the others who say "others don't have this ability" I believe iOS do (I don't have nor will ever have an iPhone) and I know Samsung does through Kies. Does anyone else matter?

I have been using my Z10 since the launch date and I love it. This is the only major issue I have with the device.. It has some bugs here and there and some features are currently missing, but the USB sync was the biggest issue for me. For those who sync via cloud or outlook.com, great, but a lot of small business owners like myself don't want to do that. I have valuable client information on my contacts that I need and don't want it stored any place other than my PC or z10. I was able to transfer all my 1200+ contacts from my Torch 9810 successfully so I had a base to start with and in the short time period, I was emailing my updated or new contacts back and forth as .vcard as a temp solution..

Thank you BB for listening to the needs or your die hard users.

This is a great relief for me. USB Sync was the primary reason for moving to BB, when it was dropped from Windows Phone with the move from Windows Mobile 6 to WP7.

I really don't understand the fixation with doing everything wirelessly, but there seems to be an incorrect assumption by technology companies that data connections are free.

I travel a lot internationally. Data roaming can be expensive (and slow) in some countries and WiFi is not always free.

The good old-technology USB cable allows me to sync when I want to and where I want to without having to incur extra cost.

All I know is that I couldn't bring my contacts from my 9900 to my Z10 which is fucking ridiculous, that's what I know. These guys had two years to get this shit straight and are still fucking up. Why is it so difficult to bring over a phone book and calendar from one Blackberry Device to the another. This was never a problem with DM, so how about they fix that fucking problem first because I'm tired of carrying around a second shit device just to get contacts, and no I won't manually insert them, because a SMARTphone should be fucking smart enough to do that.

I suspect cost was the reason it was removed, since they licensed the support from Intellisync/Nokia. Sounds like they might be writing their own sync code now given the description of import first followed by two-way sync.

I like the fact it is coming to the "LINK". I'm not a fan of google sync. Multiple contacts and merges then a MESS! Outlook sync performs straight up and leaves me "Doing with my Blackberry. Can't wait for USA Z10!!

This is great news for a Monday morning. Thank you for both listening and letting us know this feature is coming, BlackBerry.

While it is true that cloud is easy, it is not an option for small business owners that need to keep data secure. I must stay HIPPA compliant. That was what brought me to BB in the first place. ( It is amusing how many comments in the forums essentially state that because they don't need data security, nobody does and it is not a legit feature).

I am in the U.S., and really hope Outlook USB sync and full Bridge features are there at launch. If not, I will just have to wait until they are. I need to stay functional in my business and can't afford to move backwards.

How do small business medical personnel who use iOS and Android devices stay HIPPA compliant? Because I can just about guarantee you that the majority of their devices sync Outlook via the cloud or Exchange ActiveSync.

Many HIPAA security requirements, including mobile device security, are addressable HIPAA requirements. If you control the ActiveSync server or BES, you can be HIPAA-compliant and use mobile devices to transmit PHI over email provided that you comply with all of the other security requirements applicable to a company of your size. The real issue is when you use a cloud or other server that you don't control to store or transmit PHI, e.g., Outlook.com, any sort of text messaging or WhatsApp type of application, Dropbox, etc. Then, you are most assuredly not HIPAA compliant as your PHI is residing on an insecure server somewhere. If you need more info, PM me - I am a healthcare attorney specializing in e-health issues such as this.

I agree. Lawyers have the same concern with client secrets and privilege. I have not yet found a cloud service that is compliant. I just discovered this hole in the new BB OS. I'll have to cancel my pre-order until it's fixed. Security is my only reason to stay with BB.

This is good news, but I have to say I'm disappointed that they are not including memo and task synchronization. For years I have used calendar, memo, task, and contact features in Outlook. I have been synching them with my Bold and was able to easily find each item when I needed it. I know - it could be coming in a later release, but I think if they were going to sync memo and tasks as well they would do it in this coming release.

I have always thought the DM was slow and clunky, but it worked. I will not sync my personal information to a cloud.

The reason I use Outlook is because it is easy to input and view data on a daily basis while I am at work. We can all get used to new behaviors when dealing with new technology. However, this is exactly what has prevented me from getting an iPhone or Android phone. I don't mind innovation and I think we got it with BB10. I do mind Blackberry booting the things that BB folks liked having. While I appreciate this gesture by Blackberry and for listening to users, who knows if it will work seamlessly? Besides Peak and Flow and the Hub, if I wanted everything to work like an iPhone or Android, I would have gotten one of them.

Long live Blackberry.

+1 I hope BlackBerry comes out with native Tasks and Notes sync.

Remember is nice, but I have hundreds of memos already inputted into Outlook. Is it possible to copy them automagically to the cloud/Remember?

Finally Blackberry listened to their faithful. I had a Z10 but took it back. I will wait to make sure they live up to their promsie and will now buy a Q10 when they come out. I love my Outlook data and now i can sync it again to my personal BB. Not everybody out there is on Microsoft Exchange.Just maybe the BB10 will succeed after all....

Finally this will complete the awesome Z10. I was upset when I noticed that this was missing from LINK. I do not like having all my stuff on the cloud. It usually ends up creating multiple entries and generally being a pain in the behind. I did set it up with hotmail in the mean time and half my entries were missing... I am happy that Blackberry saw that this was needed and will be updating Link so we can go back to the way things were.

Outlook 2011 isn't even able to sync GMAIL natively! What a joke, quite seriously. Entourage was able to but Outlook isn't. Sorry for the rant.

Thanks CB Team for addressing this hot and volitile issue with Blackberry. These features are needed to set BB aside from the competition. Now if we could just get the full functionality of Bridge on the z10 .. then things will really be cooking :)

BlackBerry needs to have this Outlook-via-USB sync ready before USA market gets its hands on Z10, otherwise it'll be negative PR that is self-inflicted...

I for one was horrified that there was no native Outlook-via-USB sync in the BB Link software...

Who decided this was "not needed" ??

I don't use outlook or calendars, since I still have the paper thing hanging on the door. :P

Glad this is coming! It should shut the complainers up. :) GO BLACKBERRY!!

Ditto, would like to know as well...

Perhaps in time for the US launch of the Z10 on March 22??

BB's silence is deafening.

i need some help. i backup my bb 9900 and sold it to get bb10 and when i tried to restore backup from bb link then i noticed i didnt get contacts coz i did backup of 9900 from old desktop manager. then i synced contacts from hotmail account. but after a couple of days i got one 9900 from my friend. so i wants to fix it and backup and restore contacts on bb10 phonebook.
can i restore bb10 backup to 9900?? or should i restore my old backup to 9900 and backup from 9900 thru bb link and then restore to bb10.
suggest any better solution

Why should I be called a complainer, just because synchronising my agenda and all my contact details on my mobile device with outlook on my pc (with a USB-cable) is a must for me to do my job properly?

Yes, purchased this and deployed. It did not work. Company responded quickly. They are working on fixes.

Mine was able to partially transfer contacts, could not transfer any calendar, tasks, etc.

I do hope they sort it out, otherwise, I will downgrade back to Torch to avoid putting PIM data in the cloud. I also use an iPhone 5 (believe in redundant systems) and am glad I can still do two way sync to Outlook via iTunes, no cloud involvement.

As an added comment, it is unclear how many BB users rely on 2way USB sync to Outlook. There is no doubt that BBRY either sees this as a lower priority than many would wish or there is difficulty implementing a solution: hence no fix today with Q10 release, though fix release was suggested as imminent a couple of months ago.

I would love to have an answer to how many users rely on/want 2way USB sync to Outlook. Could be a non-issue for BBRY if # is low, or a reason the Z10 and Q10 sales don't live up to expectations. The BBRY forums have lots of complaints, hard to know if this is a vocal minority or otherwise. Just don't understand how BBRY is telling users to post their PIM data to 3rd party cloud sites (outlook.com, gmail, etc) while they sort this out. I thought BBRY was supposed to be the epitome of security?

Any data on these relative #'s would be appreciated.

Well, here it is May 8, and so far I can't find hide nor hair of the elusive (mythical?) Outlook sync feature.

It is amazing how dense BlackBerry has become. I get the feeling that whoever is running things has made a conscious effort to alienate all serious users. First they remove the ability to to sync with Outlook; then they promise that they are working on a fix (which was a lie.) Then they tell us all we have to do is sign up for a different email account with Live Mail (or join Outlook .com.)

So - in order to just do what I have been doing, for the past 8 years, I must pay a third party vendor $50.00 because BlackBerry engineers are incapable (or unwilling) to do it.

Tomorrow will be the first day that I can get the Z10 at the discounted price. If I am going to have to completely change how I am doing things, it might be better to just change, now, to an iPhone or Android. Until now, I have not thought seriously about changing, because I really like the way Desktop Manager works with Outlook. I have no need for syncing media files, because drag and drop is easier, for those.

Dr J - I'm in agreement with everything, except the "LIE" part. I don't think they've lied. It's just that they are not communicating! I sell high end jewelry and watches for a living and I would NEVER be able to get away with that. Communication (especially about negative topics) is the ONLY way to keep your customer. When you stop communicating, they stop trusting you.

Ok.. It's May 16th. Us grown-ups (and I believe there are thousands of us with this issue) have patiently waited 3 months. How's about an update on this critical fix for Outlook users. BTW, since this has made it to the BlackBerry leadership team as a critical issue I am expecting the fix to be in final polishing - NOT in a suggestion box.

How's about communicating something re a rectified LINK??

My Q10 is E-Waste? They say it will be the end of the year. Now I find out it is essentially useless. Back to the Galaxy. I may not revive this device. If the windows opened on my 7th floor office....

End of the year!!!!!!??????

I hope "THEY" misspoke. I'm now getting really mad about the failure to have synced files. I'm making mistakes that will cost me money. They NEED to bring back this functionality.

I feel a primeval scream coming on.

Wish I hadn't traded in my Bold...

Grrr.