Game Over Online ~ Intellisync 5.0

GameOver Game Reviews - Intellisync 5.0 (c) Pumatech, Reviewed by - Fwiffo

Game & Publisher Intellisync 5.0 (c) Pumatech
System Requirements Palm OS or Pocket PC
Overall Rating 80%
Date Published Monday, April 22nd, 2002 at 07:24 PM

Divider Left By: Fwiffo Divider Right

Whatever your handheld device runs on, there's a good chance that some of your time is devoted to PIM functions. PIM, in its very essence, is supposed to be simple. That's one of the things Palm touts itself as king of. But making your PIM information stored on your computer translate smoothly on to your handheld is another matter altogether. Pumatech's Intellisync has long been a player in this arena and it features some of the broadest support of handheld devices, par excellence. You can synchronize everything from old Windows CE devices to the latest Sony Clie.

Many people will wonder why there's even a need for Intellisync when Palm is obviously making strides in its Palm Desktop software and ActiveSync provides one of the most comprehensive PC to PDA synchronization suites. The fact is, not everyone uses Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express. And it's most certain that not everyone uses the Palm Desktop PIM as their favorite organizer. Intellisync basically steps in and bridges any gaps that you might have in putting PIM information from your PC on to your handheld.

The bulk of Intellisync's interface is devoted to that function. The overall feel though, is a bit utilitarian and I thought it seems inspired by the interface found in Symantec's PCAnywhere (which I'm not a big fan of). With that said, Intellisync is a great tool for people who have multiple PDAs since you can set up more than one handheld with the program. Not only can it do that, it also lets you source information from more than one PIM program to your handheld with one click. This is important when you have an organizer for your work things (for example, Lotus Notes) and an organizer for your personal use. Intellisync provides synchronization support for many PIMs from centralized server based information like Microsoft Exchange to Novell's Groupwise, the popular ACT! and many others. Compatibility is one of the chief features of this product. Intellisync can work in a variety of Windows environments from the venerable Windows 95 to the latest Windows XP. Moreover, it works with multiple handheld technologies and brings information together even from antiquated software like Schedule+.

Performance wise though, I found Intellisync a bit lacking compared to the Hot Sync Manager and ActiveSync. Both of the other programs synchronize a lot faster than Intellisync which is crucial if you're like me and synchronize before you leave the house. It also lacks support out of the box for things like AvantGo so it doesn't necessarily replace your existing synchronization software. There is an option for an Intellisync Software Development Kit that you can use to develop your own conduits between handheld and PC applications. However, Intellisync provides subtle but extremely useful value-added tools.

One of my friends used to complain to me that the Hot Sync Manager was unable to handle the different types of fields in his PIM software. As such, it shoved the wrong information into incorrect fields and made a mess of his schedule. Obviously, fixing this on the PC could take awhile, going through the records one by one. Intellisync eliminates this frustration by letting you map the fields in your desktop PIM to the fields that are available on your handheld. There's also special support for custom Outlook forms you have created. Another handy feature for people who travel a lot is the ability to filter information. Say you are going to New York and have a massive contacts list. Save time and space by only synchronizing all contacts with New York area codes from your database or PIM.

For personal use, I still think there is room for improvement, for example, in user friendliness of the product. More diagrams, walkthroughs or illustrated wizards would help make the application less intimidating. That comes with the territory when a product can do so much and people may only need one or two features from it. It's a fairly cheap way to centralize all your synchronization into one application on one computer alone. Frequent travelers will find some of the features in here attractive. Furthermore, Intellisync's product line provides an easy step-up program to creating custom connectors or conduits to other applications. Many people will loathe at setting up these rules and I imagine there will be a proportion of people who think ActiveSync or Hot Sync Manager works okay out of the box. If you have more than one PDA (especially older models) or you have to source information from more than one PIM, Intellisync continues to be an incredible time-saver.


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