A little misadventure with my Nokia N95 8GB a few days ago prompted me to check out, among other things, synchronization capabilities with web-based services: Google Sync and Nokia’s own Ovi. The promise of synchronization with “the cloud” is that your precious data can be available through multiple channels (such as different phones, computers, etc), and at the same time, “the cloud” serves as a sort of data backup too.
The short story is that both Google Sync and Ovi works, although to varying degrees. Google Sync with the N95 8GB works through Nokia’s Mail For Exchange (MfE) software. MfE was designed to synchronize with Microsoft Exchange servers, but it will also work with Google’s mobile services, which presumably can also present itself with Microsoft Exchange type of interfaces.
The MfE configuration was a little tricky for me. It was not terribly clearly documented, but here are a few things to take note of:
- Your username is something like firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Domain should be empty (None).
- You can only synchronize Contacts and Calendar. Trying to also synchronize Tasks and Email will result in MfE complaining: “Server Error. Try again later.”
Once you’ve got your contacts and calendar linked up to Google Sync, you can essentially get the data sync’ed up to various other devices, or simply access Google Calendar or Gmail with a web browser to get your calendar and contacts respectively.
The other synchronization option is Nokia’s Ovi. This really looks to me like Nokia’s version of Apple’s MobileMe. The Ovi synchronization capabilities are built into most newer Nokia Symbian phones, and it is more closely integrated with the phone like the PC Suite software (for synchronization with your PC). It will sync calendar (including tasks), contacts, bookmarks, notes, and I’m not sure what else more, but not including multimedia content and email. Multimedia content is transferred to Ovi separately, which is not an issue in my opinion, since you probably don’t want to synchronize your photos and videos like you do your PIM data.
The Ovi web interface has improved. At least it looks a lot better now than it did before, probably like last year when I last played with it. It has nice AJAX-ified interface, but my main complaint is that the website, in general, is slow. It’s probably the Internet bandwidth to the Ovi servers. I imagine they, being lesser established than the big names like Google and Apple, probably don’t have their server cluster sufficiently distributed to serve everyone in all corners of the world fast enough. It’s a pity I think, because Ovi being designed by Nokia would work very well with Nokia phones.
I’m still a bit lost as to how to synchronize my Mac OS X data with Ovi though. That would be a problem for Mac users.