If there’s one thing you can be sure of, it’s the number of times your Mac can surprise you. Especially when you’re comparing it to a PC.
Let’s talk cell phones. Let’s talk using your cell phone to synchronize your Address Book; for PC users, the Contacts in the cell phone to something, anything that holds contacts on a PC.
First, I’ll admit I’ve got it easy. My cell phone is nearly two years old. It’s a Siemens S56 with Bluetooth using AT&T. Connecting the S56 to my Mac PowerBook couldn’t be much easier unless some else did the clicking.
Pair the PowerBook’s built-in Bluetooth with the Siemens’ built-in Bluetooth. Select the Siemens phone in iSync. Click “sync.” Wait a few minutes.
That’s about all there is to it. No cables. No messy drivers. Just a few clicks, and it’s done. The same thing holds true for using the Siemens phone and AT&T to connect the PowerBook to the Internet. That took an hour and five minutes. 60 minutes to figure out the number to dial (AT&T doesn’t know about Mac OS X), and five minutes to set it up.
But that’s another story. Here’s the good one. I get to compare setting up a non-iSync connected cell phone to a Mac; after trying to do it on a Sony Vaio PC.
Here’s the deal. My wife has Verizon. It’s an old plan and a good one compared to the plans they’re hawking these days. She gets two phones; the second one is dirt cheap (her sister uses it). But the cell phone is four years old and cracked in a few places, dented in a few more, and battery life about as long as Democrats will remember John Kerry.
We waited for a year to get a Verizon cell phone that would be compatible with Mac OS X and iSync. It was important to synchronize the Address Book to her phone and mine. We waited. Finally, Verizon comes out with the Motorola v710. Bluetooth. Camera. Goodies.
Nice phone? Reviewers didn’t think much of it so we decided to pass and get the 2-for-1 price special on a Samsung a670 phone. Nope. It’s not on the iSync compatible list, so we’ll just hook it up to the Sony Vaio running Windows XP SP2.
$50 later we have a USB cable and FutureDial’s phone book synchronization CD. Except it wouldn’t install. The CD didn’t have drivers for the Samsung a670 cell phone. The web site said they could be downloaded but registration was required. Hmmm. FutureDial’s registration was broken.
60 minutes later we’re still shopping for USB drivers (the ones on the FutureDial CD were not “approved” by Windows XP) and have installed and re-installed FutureDial’s synchronization software twice on the Sony Vaio.
Frustration was growing so I sat down on my Mac and did a search on MacUpdate. Bingo. A shareware application called OnSync popped up. In 60 seconds I had it downloaded and copied to my hard drive. Double click. Select the Samsung a670 phone. Select the USB connector. Plug in the phone. Select which fields to “sync” in Address Book vs. the cell phone.
The Samsung a670 connected to the Mac. The Mac’s Address Book names and numbers showed up in the left hand of the screen (the Mac side), and blank space showed up in the right side (the cell phone side).
All I had to do was click on the names I wanted to move to the cell phone and click “sync.” That was it. Total cost? $10.
The Samsung SCH a670 cell phone which isn’t supposed to synchronize using iSync (it doesn’t) does synchronize just fine using OnSync, a $10 shareware application from a guy who helped save our bacon even though he probably can’t spell “synchronization.”
No kidding. It was that easy. It took just a couple of minutes to purchase OnSync from Kagi and a couple minutes more for the Registration Number to show up to open all the features. Compare that to the 60-minutes devoted to simply trying to install a Windows-only application on a very up-to-date Sony Vaio.
Problems so far? None. Plug in the phone to the USB cable. Plug in the USB cable to the Mac. Double click on OnSync. Click Sync.
No, it’s not quite as easy as simply clicking “Sync” with iSync and a Bluetooth phone, but it’ll do. Another reason why Macs and OS X just rock.
Is OnSync worthy? For certain phones, yes. For $149, my wife got two brand new Samsung cell phones (camera, color screen, long battery life), AND nearly instant connectivity to the Mac (where we keep all our phone numbers and addresses—they’re safer on the Mac than the Sony Vaio).
Thanks to Antonio Ferraioli for filling in a niche better than a whole company of Windows developers. Click Here for Antonio’s home page, and all the details of OnSync.