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Palm Pre Sync Solutions

Select The Right Mac or Windows Sync Software Solution For Your Palm Pre Using Google, Facebook, Microsoft Exchange, Outlook, PocketMirror, CompanionLink, Missing Sync, gSyncit, iCal or Address Book


Getting your contacts, calendar events, and tasks onto your Palm Pre is perhaps the first and single most important step to begin exploiting the capabilities of your new smartphone.  In my case, since I have over 3,500 contacts neatly stored in a multitude of Outlook folders with hundreds of categories and sub-categories the whole sync issue has been particularly important to figure out properly.

If more and more of the data you use to keep in touch with people and organize your life is stored on web services such as Facebook and Google then your new Palm Pre, with its unique Palm Synergy feature, is designed to give you access to this personal information when you’re on the go.

You can take advantage of Synergy to get your personal information from these web services and onto your Pre so that you can enjoy an unparalleled mobile experience. Synergy not only brings together your information from Google, Facebook, and Microsoft Exchange, it also displays the information in one simple, integrated view.

Overall, there are currently five options that you can choose to sync PIM (Contacts, Calendar, Tasks, Notes) to your Palm Pre:

Option 1:  I’m already using Google, Facebook, or Microsoft Exchange as my primary PIM solution

If you’re already using Google, Facebook, or Exchange to manage your data you’re pretty much all set as Palm’s Synergy works with all three.

Here’s what you do:
On your Pre, open the Contacts application then select Preferences & Accounts at the top left of your screen and enter your account credentials (username and password) for your Google, Facebook or Exchange account.  (You won’t need to go to Calendar to set up your account there—that’s done automatically using the credentials you entered in Contacts.)

My Experience
Although I have both Google and Facebook accounts I don’t use these to manage my contacts or Calendar.  At the same time, although I have considered setting up a Microsoft Exchange account I don’t have one for now so overall this option really does not apply to me.  Having said this, as Palm states, if you do use Google, Facebook or Exchange for your PIM then it is _extremely_ easy to sync with them.

Option 2:  I want to access the contacts, calendar events, and tasks in my current desktop app (iCal & Address Book for Mac + Outlook & Palm Desktop for Windows) using Synergy (via Google)

Use a third-party app to sync your desktop application to Google, and Synergy takes it from there.

Apps are available to sync:

  • Mac: iCal and Address Book
  • Windows: Outlook and Palm Desktop by ACCESS

Here’s what you do:

  1. On your computer, set up an a Google Mail (Gmail) account if you don’t already have one.
  2. On your Pre, open the Contacts application then select Preferences & Accounts at the top left of your screen and enter your account credentials (username and password) for your Gmail account. (You won’t need to go to Calendar to set up your account there—that’s done automatically using the credentials you entered in Contacts.)
  3. Install a third-party application on your computer that enables you to sync with Google. Here are some applications that are currently available:
    • Windows XP and Vista
      • Google Sync (Free)
        Google Sync keeps your Outlook calendar in sync with Google Calendar.
      • CompanionLink® for Google (Sold Separately)
        For a variety of PC data sources, including Palm Desktop by ACCESS and Outlook, CompanionLink keeps contacts and calendar events in sync with Google Calendar and Gmail Contacts. Tasks also sync but as calendar entries. 
    • Mac OS
      • Google Sync (Free)
        Google Sync keeps iCal in sync with Google Calendar. There is also a solution for synchronizing with Address Book.  
      • Sync’Em (Sold Separately)
        Sync’Em automatically keeps Mac Address Book in sync with Gmail Contacts. 
  4. Follow the instructions of the third-party app to sync the data in your desktop app with Google. The next time Google syncs with your Pre, your data appears on your phone.

My Experience
I use Outlook on Windows and therefore tried CompanionLink (CL) to sync to Google and from there to my Pre but so far with very mixed results.  Although CL managed to properly connect my Outlook with Google and get the data to show up on my Pre, for some bizarre reason which I was unable to resolve, it would only sync some 600 of my 3,500 contacts…  I hope that there will be an update that fixes this issue for me but if you have under 500 contacts then CL seems to be an ideal and very simple solution.

Option 3:  I’d rather just sync directly with my computer (Windows Only)

Would you rather sync your Pre directly to your Windows computer over WiFi without going through the web? For this there’s PocketMirror.

Chapura PocketMirror for Outlook syncs contacts and calendar events between Outlook and your Pre. PocketMirror can sync your Outlook data whether you use Outlook as a standalone application or in conjunction with Microsoft Exchange Server. It works with Outlook 2003 and 2007.

Here’s what you do:

  1. On your Pre, open App Catalog and download PocketMirror.
  2. On your computer, download PocketMirror software for Outlook on Windows.
  3. On your computer, launch the PocketMirror installer and follow the instructions to complete setup.

My Experience
It’s a shame that PocketMirror only works on Windows and that it (currently) only syncs one primary Outlook Contacts folder because this truly is a superb and extremely simple solution.  As long as your Pre and PC are connected to the same WiFi network you can wirelessly sync all of your contacts and calendar items wirelessly – very cool.

One major hassle though is the fact that Chapura provides no telephone support whatsoever (only via email) and you may therefore have to wait quite a while to fix any issues that you may encounter.  Additionally, I really hope that Chapura will soon provide a Premium version of PockeMirror that can sync multiple Outlook Contact folders + that Palm will support Categories in the Contacts app (something that I consider to be quite urgent).

Option 4:  How do I get PIM data from my old phone?

Do you need to get data out of an old phone? Most service providers can transfer contacts from your old phone. An agent in one of your service provider’s stores can help you.

Here’s what you do:

  1. On your computer, set up an a Google Mail (Gmail) account if you don’t already have one.
  2. On your Pre, open the Contacts application then select Preferences & Accounts at the top left of your screen and enter your account credentials (username and password) for your Gmail account. (You won’t need to go to Calendar to set up your account there—that’s done automatically using the credentials you entered in Contacts.)
  3. To transfer data from an old phone to your new Pre, go to one of the stores of your service provider and ask a support agent for help in transferring data from your old phone. When you’re ready to transfer data from your old
    phone, be sure to tell the carrier agent which account to transfer the data to. 

Option 5: How do I get PIM data off my computer using the Palm Data Transfer Assistant (DTA)? (Windows & Mac)

Do you want to sync your personal information between your Pre and Google or Exchange, but first need to get the data out of a desktop app (such as Palm Desktop or Outlook) that you want to stop using? You can do a one-time, one-way transfer of data to your Pre, and then if you choose to, use Synergy to sync the data to Google or Exchange.

To transfer data from a desktop app that you want to stop using, go here for more information about the Data Transfer Assistant (DTA) – it’s a free download. The DTA transfers data from selected desktop apps to your phone through the USB cable included with your phone. You can sync this data with Google or Exchange, or back it up to your Palm profile.

The Palm Data Transfer Assistant (DTA) provides a one-time, one-way transfer of data from your computer to your phone. The DTA transfers contacts, calendar events, tasks, and memos from Outlook and Palm Desktop by ACCESS on Windows, and contacts and calendar events from iCal and Address Book on Mac.

  1. Getting ready.
    When you transfer data to your Pre phone, you must assign the data to an account on your phone. You can assign it to one of your online accounts that sync (Google Gmail or Microsoft Exchange), or you can assign it to your Palm profile (this means your data is backed up to a server but can be accessed by you only on your phone).

    If you want to sync your data to Gmail or Microsoft Exchange, you might want to set up one of these accounts on your Pre before you use the DTA. Otherwise, you can set up the account from your Pre when you’re asked where you want to store your data (see section 3 for more information).

    Note: If you’ve previously been syncing data from another phone, you may want to sync data one more time to make sure that your desktop data is up-to-date before you transfer it over.
  2. Running the Data Transfer Assistant.
    If you haven’t done so already, put the DTA application on your computer. Use Data_Transfer_Assistant.exe for Windows or DTA.dmg for Mac. Then, launch the DTA.

    Follow the onscreen instructions to select your data source and to connect your phone to your computer, using the USB cable that came with your Pre. The DTA transfers your data to your phone.

    Windows users: If the DTA finds a valid version of both Palm Desktop and Outlook on your computer, you'll be able to select the one you want to transfer data from. For Palm Desktop, if the DTA finds more than one profile in Palm Desktop, select the profile that is associated with the data you want to transfer. Your profile is in the upper-right corner of Palm Desktop ("User").
  3. Syncing your data or backing it up to your Palm profile.
    After the data is transferred to your Pre, you’ll be instructed to disconnect your phone from your computer. On your Pre, you will see a screen that asks you where you want to store your data. You can select a Google or Exchange account or back the data up to your Palm profile.

    After you assign the data to an account on your phone, the transfer begins immediately.

    Note: It may take a little while for the data transfer to complete. If you’re syncing with an online account for the first time, it may take additional time.
  4. What happens to my data after the transfer is complete?
    If you transfer data to an online account, changes you make to the data on your phone are synchronized with the online account.

    If you back up data to your Palm profile account, the data is stored on your phone and backed up to your Palm profile. This data is not available through any online account.

More about the Data Transfer Assistant
These are the PIM apps that the DTA works with, and what data the DTA transfers to your phone:

Windows XP or Vista®
– Outlook 2003 or 2007 (syncs Contacts, Calendar, Tasks, Memos/Notes)
– Palm Desktop v6.2 (syncs Contacts, Calendar, Tasks, Memos/Notes)
Mac OS 10.5
– Address Book (syncs Contacts)
– iCal (syncs Calendar)

My Experience
I downloaded and installed the Data Transfer Assistant application to my PC and from there was able to very quickly and simply transfer all the data to my Pre.  From there I selected to sync this data to my Gmail account.  As Palm notes in the above instructions though, the full data transfer over-the-air may take quite a while to complete – particularly if you have a large PIM database like mine.

Also, I have to admit that I found it mildly annoying that there is no “Progress Notification” on your Pre to determine how much of your data remains to be transferred nor how long this may take.  In my case, after one hour I still did not have the data properly synched to Google…


Overall I have not yet found the “ideal” solution for my (arguably somewhat unique) PIM needs – which requires synching to multiple Outlook folders with hundreds of Categories/Sub-Categories and literally thousands of contacts – but I have still managed to put the basic PIM information that I need on my Pre.

I very much hope that Palm, Chapura, CompanionLink or another third-party solution will eventually come out to meet my needs.  In the meantime, I believe that if you have under 500 contacts in your address book then any one of the five options outlined above will prove to be more than adequate.

If like me you’re on Windows and prefer to sync via your desktop, then I think that you’ll find Chapura’s PocketMirror an excellent solution.  CompanionLink follows closely behind as my second choice but this requires that you keep your data in the “cloud” via Google – something that I don’t personally mind but that others may not be too convinced about. 

Lastly, if you do choose to sync between your Pre and Google as your preferred solution then Palm’s Data Transfer Assistant will at least ensure that you don’t have to manually re-enter all of your data there – it does however mean that both your Pre and Google become the only places to manage all your PIM data. 

Update 1
It appears that mark/space is getting ready to release The Missing Sync for Palm Pre which will allow you to sync directly with your computer to manage contacts, music, photos, ringtones, docs & files, calendars, video & home movies, safari bookmarks as well as podcasts.  The great news is also that the Missing Sync for Palm Pre will be available in two separate versions for both the Mac and Windows.

The Missing Sync for Mac works with applications you already know and use — Address Book, iTunes, iCal, Entourage, Safari and iPhoto — to let you transfer and sync information and files between your Mac and Pre.

Update 2
There is apparently another solution [thanks Palmdoc] to sync between Outlook and your Pre via Google called gSyncit – a Microsoft Outlook add-in that allows for synchronization of calendars and contacts between Google and Outlook.  I haven’t tried it yet but it looks very promising.

Update 3 – Media Sync for Palm Pre
As you may already know, your Palm Pre can actually work with Apple’s iTunes to sync your music and photos (it treats your Pre as if it were an iPod).  Another very good solution for media sync is also offered by a company called doubleTwist.

Preonauts are always in sync

Posted by Andrew on June 6, 2009 at 02:14 PM

Palm Pre

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by IgP | Jun 10, 2009 2:24:31 PM

Oops, I just double checked and I have it set to manual - I read the continually (this is the 'as they arrive' option) in some review somewhere and had that on the brain when I wrote my first post (sorry!). Also, just got the touchstone and wow, very cool - works good - although, it does seem to charge the phone a slower pace.

by Palm fan | Jun 10, 2009 8:22:42 PM

I am surprised that your first posting after buying the pre is trying to solve a problem!! How did you like the pre, should we worry??

by Zach | Jun 11, 2009 11:52:17 AM

I posted 2 days ago about learning curve and was feeling skeptical about Pre. It's now June 11th and I am still addicted to the newness of the toy so the curve is leveling out quickly. I've had phone since Saturday and have to say, Pre is living up to its expectations as 'Pre'dicted. Glad I never bought an IBrick and waited for Pre!

by M Seee | Jun 11, 2009 4:47:03 PM

Chapura has a beta pocket mirror uploaded for free. it works great over your wifi. Now the phone is complete. Very satisfiled with this puppy!

by Randall Stross | Jun 11, 2009 8:57:32 PM

Very comprehensive post on Pre sync options. Thank you.

by Jewel | Jun 11, 2009 10:55:54 PM

This is truly helpful! Thanks for sharing. I will definitely recommend this Palm Pre Sync Solutions to my friends. Please continue on posting significant topics like this. More power to your blog! :D

by Susan | Jun 12, 2009 1:53:39 PM

In your email box, go up to left corner, select preferences, click on your email account, scroll down and you'll see Get Email. One of the choices is As Items Arrive.

by JT | Jun 13, 2009 2:32:22 PM

One thing I keep seeing people say is you can "sync with Exchange". This isn't exactly true - you can sync with Exchange 2003 and 2007 which have Exchange Active Sync; earlier versions like Exchange 2000 don't support EAS (which is the boat I'm currently in). It's just worth noting, I know several folks who just assume it will sync with any version of Exchange. I'm currently using CompanionLink to sync to Google and then the Pre and am finding it a very workable solution until we get our Exchange servers upgraded to 2007 later this year.

by Robert | Jun 13, 2009 4:58:04 PM

I have a Palm 755p and a mac, and the sync situation is a disaster. After having the Missing Sync mess up my calendar (recurring appointments with exceptions, in particular), I moved to using GooSync to sync with Google.

GooSync works well for the calendar (but doesn't get time zones right -- you have to convert all your Palm appointments to one canonical time zone), but the Google contacts are really feeble compared with the Palm ones. Syncing with Google mangled my contacts horribly.

OK, why does that matter to the Pre? It matters because pushing your Palm PIM data through Google to the Pre means your calendar is probably sorta ok (as long as you don't have a lot of time zones), but your contacts are going to be badly damaged.

So Palm has effectively left us without any solution for migrating PalmOS PIM data to the Pre. Argh.

I have been holding out with my Treo, hoping something will be made to work, but it seems like I should just suck it up and switch to an iPhone and (yuck) AT&T. :-(

by Pogue | Jun 13, 2009 9:21:23 PM

Looks like pocketmirror is appearing now in the app catalog for anyone who is wondering.

by Pogue | Jun 13, 2009 9:21:36 PM

Looks like pocketmirror is appearing now in the app catalog for anyone who is wondering.

by Jeff | Jun 15, 2009 11:36:28 AM

So if you want to get the Pre and run life like you did with a treo and Palm desktop, it looks like your best bet is get pocketcopy
( http://www.chapura.com/pocketcopy.php ) to get all your palm desktop stuff to outlook, then run pocketmirror
( http://www.chapura.com/pm_standard_pre.php ) from there on out to sync pre with outlook....life should be just as if you had palm desktop.....


by Jeff | Jun 15, 2009 11:37:51 AM

Oh, or instead of pocketcopy, you can use Palms DTA to get all the info to pre, then pocketmirror to get stuff from pre to outlook...

by Jeff | Jun 15, 2009 11:44:22 AM

I take it back, things won't be normal, you will only be able to sync calendar and addresses, not tasks, memos and so on...I have no idea what is the best "exact" replacement for palm desktop...the search continues...sorry for wasting space.

by Anonymous | Jun 17, 2009 5:23:24 PM

Is anyone having trouble getting their calendar events to sync FROM the Pre TO Google (but not the other way around)?

by Sync Failure | Jun 18, 2009 2:02:55 AM

Don't expect iTunes to sync as advertised!

Palm may be liable for misrepresenting the iTunes capabilities of the Pre.

by sync failure | Jun 18, 2009 7:01:21 PM

oh now earlier post appears... sorry for my mistake?!?

my apologies to Andrew if that is so

by Robert | Jun 19, 2009 7:53:35 AM

Is there trouble with comments posting? I wrote a fairly detailed comment cautioning about relying on Google sync (essentially because of Palm/Google data model differences), and it's never made it here.

by Doug | Jun 19, 2009 12:34:55 PM

Contacts: Not an issue. Only have about 20 of them on my Palm TX. I still see nothing about locally syncing/backing up memos, apps, settings, game scores, appointments, t-do's, secure password database, e-books, music, everything, to my home system.
I don't run Outlook or any other PIM on any computer other than the TX. All I need is a local (private) backup method.
When that's available, I may consider the Pre.

Still, if it doesn't have an alarm that's loud enough to wake me up or be heard in a car on the highway with the windows down, then it's a no-go anyway.

by Todd | Jun 21, 2009 6:01:12 PM

I have had palm products for about 14-15 years. I had the original palm pilot, and have owned the 600, 650, and Centro.

I am so disappointed that Palm has not provided a wired sync with the pre. Its just such a basic thing that one has come to expect, and provides the privacy and security that my profession requires.

I have tried Chapura, but cannot get it to sync. It always fails after about half of my contacts. Their support cannot figure out why. I have alot of contacts. Over 10,000. Perhaps this is just not a phone built to work as a real PIM, but only to handle people's facebook accounts.

There are some very nice features to the phone, the multitasking being the best. Unfortunately I may have to return mine and wait a year till they fix the bugs.

In addition to the syncing problems, my emails disappear. (I get notifications they are there, but when I open the email app they are gone, and this flummoxed the sprint tech people who I showed it to), the task manager is not syncing, and there are a host of other problems.

Palm has had so many things right in the past, it is sad to see them abandon what has worked for what does not.

by Get the Memo | Jun 22, 2009 9:40:19 AM

Standing by on Memo / Task syncing. Having 4 functions that could sync is what made Palm what it is today. Now, we're down to the ability to sync two of them. My Windows Mobile device is currently more of a Palm than the Pre is and I'm supposed to run around google'ing "companionlink" and "evernote"?

by Robert | Jul 3, 2009 10:38:43 AM

SyncEm seems to be only for people who use an Exchange server.

AFAICT there is still no replacement (at least for the Mac user) who used to just sync with the desktop. :-(

With all due respect to the Palm folks, if they want us to use their phone and sync with the cloud then THEY NEED TO OWN A PIECE OF THE CLOUD.

If I want to sync with the Apple PIM products, I should buy an iPhone. If I want to sync with Google, I should buy an Android phone. And if I want to sync with an Exchange server or Outlook, I should buy a WindowsCE device or a Blackberry.

What exactly is the market that Palm is aiming the Pre at that isn't eaten by one of the information manager providers above?

In the olden days, the Palm (on windows, not on the Mac) synced flawlessly with the Palm Desktop, which I found to meet my PIM needs perfectly. Now, on the Mac, at least, the Palm Desktop is dead, and my Treo doesn't sync with anything else (at least not Apple products, Google) well. Given this experience, I don't see why I should believe that Palm will have gotten "syncs with someon else" right.

It would be OK for Palm to put their desktop onto the web instead of releasing it as Desktop software, but unless they offer a PIM solution that syncs with the Palm Pre, I don't see how to use their product. I am sad about this, because I've been comfortable with my Palms over the years. Come on Palm, help your old customers out!

by Tim Anderson | Jul 7, 2009 11:59:51 AM

Pre must mean the first attempt. Though it's an awesome tool for web, messaging, and is the first phone for multitasking, it’s really lacking in PDA functionality; a surprise to me considering Palm’s key legacy business advantage. Integration with Google maps, and with navigation is impressive, but currently the Pre fails to meet the current functionality for managing contacts and my calendar that Palm products have done for 10 years. Synching with Google is a great idea, but during the initial data transfer off my 700p, to the Pre, via gmail, not one address transferred to gmail; though they are in my phone. At the moment the only solution for entering an address is directly through the phone.
I’m seriously considering returning it, or waiting 30 days so I can collect my rebate, then taking advantage of Sprint’s number transfer policy and swapping with my wife. She has a 755p that looks very appealing right now. Though I won’t give up on Palm or Sprint, I’m hopeful that Palm will offer a more robust version in six months offering a better solution as a PDA, text emoticons, in general include the best of what Treo’s offered as well, and external micro sd slot would also be nice. That’s what I assumed the Pre offered – regressive functionality.

by Tim | Jul 7, 2009 1:53:52 PM

So...did anyone ever find out when the Pocket mirror shows up under apps? I downloaded the beta version from Chappura onto the desktop but nothing shows on the Pre.

by bartakimus | Jul 11, 2009 12:04:32 AM

I've had a Palm for years. Started out with the Pilot, then moved to the Treo 650 and went straight to the Centro. I even loved it more when I found out that I could sync with Outlook and not have to keep two db of contacts. - Yea, I was a moron for not seeing that earlier. Now, I just bought the Pre today. Great phone so far, just VERY frustrated with the syncing thing. I don't understand why Palm would make you use the internet for something as sensitive as contact information. I just downloaded the PocketMirror (and yes, I found it in the Apps Catalog) and am now in the process of syncing things. Time will tell. But, I too, am willing to give the Pre a chance. I don't think the iPhone is a tool as much as it is a play thing. That's why I continue to choose Palm. Patience is a virtue... hopefully it won't be a disappointment. Thanks for all the input here!!! It's been very helpful!

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