Utility software

The Missing Sync for Windows Mobile 2.5.1

A smart phone running Microsoft’s Windows Mobile operating system can offer features ranging from editing Microsoft Office documents to watching TV. But when it comes to managing your calendar and storing contacts, the smart phone turns out to be pretty dumb: you’re stuck with entering data on the phone’s keypad, because Windows Mobile won’t talk to your Mac.

The Missing Sync for Windows Mobile 2.5.1, from Mark/Space, opens that line of communication. The software launches and establishes an active connection when you plug in the phone via USB (Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections are also supported, though Microsoft disabled Wi-Fi synchronization on devices running Windows Mobile 5). To synchronize data with iCal and Address Book, The Missing Sync uses the Sync Services technology built into Mac OS X 10.4.

A plug-in for syncing with Microsoft Entourage 2004 (   ) is also included, and worked as expected. You can enable or disable plug-ins just by marking checkboxes, which provides the added benefit of mixing and matching your software (such as using Entourage for your calendar and Address Book for your contacts).

During my first synchronization, a couple of calendar records wouldn’t synchronize—for no obvious reason. I was able to identify them using the application’s synchronization log, delete them, and re-create them without incident. The Missing Sync also offers troubleshooting options such as performing a more comprehensive slow sync, which was useful but quite time-consuming: my aging 1.25GHz PowerBook G4 took nearly an hour to process 1,200 records. Also helpful is the software’s battery status indicator, which warns you to recharge the battery before the phone goes dead.

Smart phones can also view photos and play music, so The Missing Sync ties into iPhoto (   ) and iTunes (   ) when you mount the device on your desktop—though at times the phone did not stay mounted. The Missing Sync plug-in for iPhoto worked flawlessly, placing the picture files into the proper folder on the Treo 700w I used for testing and letting me change image dimensions.

The software’s iTunes interaction was problematic, though: the Treo showed up as a device in iTunes 7 and properly copied the song files I dragged to it, but not all songs in the Treo’s My Music folder appeared in the iTunes list. Also, I could copy songs or photos using iTunes or iPhoto only to the phone’s built-in memory, not directly to an inserted memory card. However, copying the files via the Finder proved to be a manual but successful workaround.

The Missing Sync for Windows Mobile also supports older operating systems such as Windows Mobile 2002 and Pocket PC on a variety of phones from Palm, Motorola, Dell, HP, and others; check Mark/Space’s comprehensive list of supported phones to ensure that the software works with your phone.

Macworld’s buying advice

If you want the advanced features of a Windows Mobile-based smart phone, The Missing Sync for Windows Mobile 2.5.1 makes them work for your Mac, with features that go beyond just synchronizing phone numbers and calendar entries. Although I hit a few initial snags, locating and fixing the problems were easy.

[ Jeff Carlson is managing editor of TidBITS and a columnist for the Seattle Times who prefers any feature other than voice when using a smart phone. ]

The Missing Sync for Windows Mobile synchronizes your addresses, events, and tasks with your Windows-based smart phone.Dragging songs to the mounted device in iTunes copies the files correctly, but they may not show up accurately in the list.The Missing Sync adds a Windows Mobile plug-in for iPhoto that lets you export directly to the connected smart phone.

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