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-   -   Review: ThinkPost OTA sync (http://www.blackberryforums.com/bbf-reviews/122189-review-thinkpost-ota-sync.html)

Cory Scheuer 03-25-2008 11:30 PM

Review: ThinkPost OTA sync
 
Hello fellow BB addicts!

Recently we had a new developer release an alpha version of OTA sync (calendar, contacts, memos, and tasks) for us BIS folks. I had purchased a monthly subscription for the software and server.

Here is my review, and I am in no way paid, or facilitated with ThinkPost in anyway shape or form.

At first I went to the website ( ThinkPost Communications - Home ) and read about the product. The website is lay out in a very excellent manner, easy on the eyes, easy to find info, and most important for me at least, easy to find contact information for support or questions on the product.

So I then decided to give it a try, I thought to myself, whatxxx8217;s there to lose besides a couple minutes of my time. So I signed myself up, but during the process I hit a wall... it was due to my error :).. Anyways, I contacted support via email. Within minutes of sending the email to support I received a phone call from Vincent (CEO and president) who was very professional and pleasant to talk to. We cleared up my error and he sent me a link within another few minutes to fix my mistake. Once I fixed it, the next page brought me to another page that I was suppose to enter in some more info (username, password ect ect) but for some reason it only showed a text page. So I decided to leave it for a while as I had something to do. Again after about 5 mins I got another phone call, again from Vincent to see if they sign up process went according to plan. I explained to him that the page that came up was a text only and didnxxx8217;t allow me to enter any information. He promptly apologized for the error and said he will have someone look into it right away. He then collected my information to finish the sign up process. I was up and running within another 3 mins!

Next I received an email with all the information needed for me to download the app to the BB and to outlook. I then downloaded what I needed and installed everything flawlessly onto both my PC and onto the BB (was given the option of OTA or desktop loader, I chose the desktop method). Everything installed quickly and perfectly.

Now for the most important part, the app and the UI:

The outlook add-in is simple. It adds a new menu in the menu bar for easy access and runs in the background. You open the program and itxxx8217;s very straight forward. You first have to go into options and enter in your user name and password, and thatxxx8217;s it! No needing to configure connection settings or proxy settings, nothing! Once you enter in your user name you can then choose to change the settings on the sync procedures, either one way, from outlook to the server or vice versa, or sync both way. Once thatxxx8217;s all set up, you go back to the main screen and simply click the big main button, sync all. And BOOM it then kicks into action. Took about 5 mins to send all my contacts and calendar items to the server, (approx 800 items combined). In my opinion thatxxx8217;s fast!

So I then go ahead and log into the server to see how accurate the process was. And BOOM there it all is... on the server and viewing as if I was in outlook. Excellent I was starting to think.

Now the good part... the BB app:

Once installed you the app on the BB you have a nice green icon on your home screen. you simply just click in your trackball and there you go the app is instantly open... from there you just hit your menu key and his configure and you again simply put in your user name and password, the rest is done for you... again you can choose to configure the settings for the sync procedures...

The moment of truth... I added a contact (fake) and a calendar event (fake) to the BB then opened the app and hit sync all. Away it went... took about 1 min, and sync was done... I open the page for the server, and voila, both items I added at there on the server.... so I open outlook, hit sync all, after about 30 secs BOOM! Both items showed up! I was really happy about that!

Next I tested to see how it worked from outlook back to the BB. So I delete said items, hit sync all. Next I went to check the server, both items were gone. So I grabbed the BB and hit sync all, and boom both were gone on my BB.... what else can I say besides itxxx8217;s finally nice to have a way to sync all my PIM info without having to need a BES!

In conclusion I would like to say, awesome product, great application... and foremost I would like to say thanks to Vincent for the jaw dropping customer service! There were a few technical difficulties I ran into over the course of the day but that was on my fault. Vincent promptly returned my emails and phone calls within minutes to help figure out the issue, and reported it to the engineers on his team. Regardless of the problems (which was my fault as I was running an expired version of office 2007, which prevented me from syncing) everything works flawlessly... Again the customer service was extraordinary! Keep up the good work guys! And thank you for the great product!!

Maak 04-20-2008 06:17 PM

Okay, at the risk of sounding like I get paid by this company (Thinkpost), I'm going to give a stunning review, since the customer support is incredible.

Signed up online, got a welcome call from Vincent no more than 3 minutes after I pushed submit.

I had a couple of Vista issues, but I emailed him, and the response was never more than 3 minutes wait. I'm sorry, but I'm just not used to that kind of treatment. More used to automated replies that don't answer your question.

This product is working great. Without question, I'd recommend it, if not for the customer support alone, but the fact that the product works pretty damned well too!

Sorry, I really don't work for the guy, but great support should be commended! Nice job Vincent!

Redflea 04-24-2008 01:22 AM

I would love to see a review from someone using this app w/their work outlook calendar, dealing with recurring calendar events that are revised/updated (both updates to the entire set of recurring events, and updates to individual occurrences of the set of recurring events.

jb11201 05-05-2008 01:49 PM

More kudos for prompt response
 
In less than a minute, Vincent had answered my questions!

I figured I'd share the answers in case they're helpful to anyone else:

1) Yes, you can run the sync program only - with no need for our email services at all.
2) Yes, [email is still handled independently via BlackberryInternetService]
3) Nope, [no data size limits at all]
4) Calendar sync: Date range is 1 month prior to 6 months ahead - but unlike Google, we *do not* delete anything that is not within the range. We just leave it and the window changes automatically. Recurring calendar items are not an issue at all!

(ThinkPost may not be exactly the right solution for my company president [it's not 100% seamless and invisible...] but I may implement it for my other users, as it sounds fantastic. I'll certainly update this post with any feedback I can share.)

M3ta 05-29-2008 06:06 PM

- sent 2 messages to support, none was answered after 3 hours now.

- Thinkpost is nothing but a Funambol with webmail. No big thing.

- I was told i would be able to choose the login user, however, i was not.

- external accounts, POP3 only? POP3 is dead for years.

Not all is roses, guys. So much brown-nosing makes you really look like you work for them.

edit: login/pass works for webmail, but not for User Control Panel, and support still has not replied.

vliou 05-31-2008 01:56 PM

Dear M3ta,

Thank you for your concerns, I am most appalled as I have searched ticket queries and have not found any of your tickets. We also do not have a user called "m3ta" on our system.

Please contact me at your earliest convenience (feel free to call). We stand by our customer service, and want to rectify the situation with you.

PS - you can choose your username at your convenience - just let me know what you would like it to be.

Thank you again,
Vincent L

pjflynn 06-14-2008 09:38 PM

I signed up with ThinkPost today. The service and support have both been outstanding. I had some problems getting my Pearl to sync up and Vincent spent around two hours of his Saturday helping me out - really cannot fault anything about the support I was given.
For somebody who has tried and failed to get several hosted exchange/BES options running smoothly, the service is a revelation. Entering tasks into Outlook and then a couple of clicks later having them show up on my Pearl is exactly what I have been looking for. For what it's worth (probably not much) this gets my highest possible reccommendation.

flowrider 06-19-2008 01:22 AM

I'm thinking of this. On the site it says that it supports imap as well as POP3. Will it sync the imap folders and mark the read emails as read in Outlook when they have been viewed on the BB?? As well does anyone know if they are going to produce a Mac client for entourage as well?>

vliou 06-21-2008 11:31 PM

Dear Flowrider,

Please contact [email address] and we'll be more than happy to help you out - I'd like to keep the reviews to reviews as these threads can get quite long :smile:

Thanks so much!
Vincent

vinmontRD 07-17-2008 01:46 PM

I'm using google sync on my Curve and on my PC, so the calendar on both stay in sync very nicely now. No addresses or tasks yet, but it's free.

I looked at a few other subscription services, but balked at signing up for yet another subscription charge (seems that life is filled with these nowadays!). I've been watching Funambol, and getting the impression that it may finally be "ready for prime time". If so, how much difference is there between ThinkPost and something like ScheduleWorld, beyond the fact that ScheduleWorld is free?

- Jon

vliou 07-17-2008 01:49 PM

Wirelessly posted

Dear VinmontRD,

Thank you for your query - to make life simple...here are the major differences.

1) ThinkPost offers a full-featured webmail (which is not important to some)

2)ThinkPost is based on funambol, but the software is tailored to our needs and servers

3) I am always sketchy about free services due to adequate backup and hosting reliability. We have enjoyed 100% uptime for the last few years (our servers are hosted at RackSpace - the only privately managed Tier 1 datacenter - comparable to IBM / AT&T Datacenters)

- and then there is the issue of duplicates - one that plagues almost every sync offering. For us, we take the issue very seriously so we have seen a large reduction in the probability of duplicates over the last year - to the point where it almost never exists. Of course, there is the odd time and it happens for whatever reason, but we get it fixed, quickly.

It really depends if $4 means a lot to the user. For that $4, you get reliability, a quality program, and fastidious support.

Much like email hosting nowadays - if one can't find a reason to pay for email, then there are free alternatives.

The general mantra is...you get what you pay for =)

Thanks for your inquiry, hope this helps answer the question!

d34dl0ck 08-25-2008 08:52 PM

thx for the info

Tiny 11-23-2008 02:57 PM

I signed up for this having read the review on here. I spoke with my provider as i couldnt activate BES on a trial account i had set up, they told my my unlimited BIS was 2.50 per month and if i wanted to use BES is was 35 per month :(

i'm quite happy with my BIS e-mail it works fine for what i need but i missed the sync of my contacts and tasks etc, the whole reason for heading down the BES route in the first place.

I e-mailed thinkpost this morning asking a few questions, decided to take the leap just after lunch and was up and running by tea time. Vincent never moaned at the hoards of questions I threw at him about this and that and the couple issues i had getting things going (my side not his). What can you say instant support on a Sunday.

I now have desktop, laptop and Bold all singing from the same hymn book, the only difference to BES i have to remember to punch a button in outlook before i close it. judging by the development and support this guy is offering it wont be long before he has a great subscription enabling him to develop the sync software even more making the value for money product even better.

Thanks a lot m8 and please keep up the good work.

vinmontRD 11-23-2008 03:27 PM

I'm glad to hear this is working for you. It *is* a valuable service. I've managed to avoid making a decision still, as there are a few factors for me to consider.

First: regarding Vincent's comment to me back in July, some of the free services do, in fact, seem to have an air of questionable reliability about them. ScheduleWorld sounds like a good idea, but I don't yet have the impression that it's 100% solid (although I could be wrong).

My own situation is this:

At work, I've converted our office to using Google Apps Premiere email (corporate GMail) as our server. Most people have Outlook as their client, with google calendar sync keeping Outlook's calendar in sync with the Google calendar. We can all see each other's public calendar items via the web interface. This solution, of course, doesn't address Contacts.

For those with Blackberry's or other compatible devices, google calendar sync mobile has worked just fine to keep the calendars in sync. I take it a step further, and plug my blackberry into my pc at home every night. This way my home Outlook calendar and address book sync with my blackberry. Between plugging in at home and running google calendar sync at home, on the blackberry and at work, my calendar views are all in sync. I use the IMAP4 interface for Google Apps GMail, so all three devices also have the same view of my work email account as well.

Again - the major piece that's been missing has been OTA contact sync. Google just released a new version of google calendar sync for the blackberry that syncs contacts to the cloud as well as calendars. Upcoming releases should remove the rough edges, and many already find it very usable. I'm guessing that we'll see a Windows version of google calendar sync soon that will sync contacts with Outlook as well - but of course that's speculation. If I really needed to full-blown solution today I'd probably pursue ThinkPost. But...

One more wrinkle to this -- After being Microsoft user for far more years than I care to admit, I finally got tired of griping about MS bloat-ware, and decided to seriously try some alternatives. There's a lengthy story about interesting open source software here, but I'll leave that aside and focus on email and PIM/PDA functions. I finally loaded up the latest version of Thunderbird, installed Lightning (calendar add-on) and the google calendar provider, and then added Zindus. Zindus syncs your Thunderbird contacts with Google contacts. Thunderbird, as it turns out, seems to be a FAR better IMAP4 client than Outlook 2007. It doesn't hang consantly the way Outlook does, and there are a number of add-ons for it as there are for Firefox, including numerous visual themes.

If I were to replace Outlook with Thunderbird / Lightning / Zindus at all my locations, and use the new google calendar/contact sync on my blackberry, with all email clients point to IMAP4, then my configuration would be complete. Another benefit - it would be a cross platform configuration as well on the desktop.

If I were committed to staying with Outlook, I'd probably concede that free contact sync with Outlook is not *quite* there yet, and if I needed it I'd probably use a 3rd party solution like ThinkPost. But I really do think we're very close to seeing a free solution across the board, probably from Google themselves...

- Jon

jsntrenkler 01-15-2009 05:08 PM

Great Review, thanks ... I did not know that this option existed.

seoulfalcon 01-28-2009 01:08 PM

I've had a BlackBerry for the last three years. I can't seem to function without it. My company recently declared bankruptcy, so our last day is coming soon. I knew that I wanted to continue to stay connected to email (for personal reasons as well as the job search) so I went out and purchased the BB Bold.

My main concern was getting my e-mail instantly (I was spoiled by our BES) and keeping my contacts and calendar wirelessly synced. I do some work on the side, and I need my email immediately. I read a ton of reviews in this forum and others on what would give me the best service for the cheapest price. Obviously, the hosted BES was an option. But at $45 for ATT BES data plan and $20 for a hosted BES, it seemed cost prohibitive.

I tested g-mail, through both BIS and through the G-Mail application. While it seemed to work, there was a noticeable delay...sometime of up to 20 mins. Now I know this doesn't seem like much, but since I've been in the corporate environment for so long, this was unacceptable to me. On top of that, there wasn't a way to sync my Calendar and Contacts without connecting to my computer. I've read that you can sync your calendar on both Yahoo Plus and G-mail, but I never got that far.

While browsing through the forum, I came upon ThinkPost. I gave the number a call and five minutes later, Vincent called me back. He was very patient, and listened to all of my concerns. We discussed the pro's and con's of each option (BES, GMAIL, THINKPOST, ETC...) and he was honest about each. He never tried to sell his service as the end all be all of what I needed. However, after speaking with him, I did realize that ThinkPost would get me as close to what I was used to for much less then the cost of a hosted BES.

So I took the plunge and shelled out a whole $4. Vincent has been wonderful. I've nerver had this level of customer service. He walked me through the install, even though there are written directions. He answers my emails 24/7. He's answered every question I've had about POP3 vs IMAP accounts and how to create pst files through outlook. He's been great.

And the software has performed wonderfully. It does an excellent job and gets me what I need. My email is sent to me instantly...which was my main concern, and my contacts, tasks and calendars are all taken care of. Odds are, I'll soon have a job that will give me another blackberry and I'll be back on the BES, but until then, I think that ThinkPost wil suit my needs wonderfully. And I can't say enough about the customer service.

Hope this helps you guys. Good luck!!!

Nelimungous 02-18-2009 12:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by seoulfalcon (Post 1263419)
I've had a BlackBerry for the last three years. I can't seem to function without it. My company recently declared bankruptcy, so our last day is coming soon. I knew that I wanted to continue to stay connected to email (for personal reasons as well as the job search) so I went out and purchased the BB Bold.

My main concern was getting my e-mail instantly (I was spoiled by our BES) and keeping my contacts and calendar wirelessly synced. I do some work on the side, and I need my email immediately. I read a ton of reviews in this forum and others on what would give me the best service for the cheapest price. Obviously, the hosted BES was an option. But at $45 for ATT BES data plan and $20 for a hosted BES, it seemed cost prohibitive.

I tested g-mail, through both BIS and through the G-Mail application. While it seemed to work, there was a noticeable delay...sometime of up to 20 mins. Now I know this doesn't seem like much, but since I've been in the corporate environment for so long, this was unacceptable to me. On top of that, there wasn't a way to sync my Calendar and Contacts without connecting to my computer. I've read that you can sync your calendar on both Yahoo Plus and G-mail, but I never got that far.

While browsing through the forum, I came upon ThinkPost. I gave the number a call and five minutes later, Vincent called me back. He was very patient, and listened to all of my concerns. We discussed the pro's and con's of each option (BES, GMAIL, THINKPOST, ETC...) and he was honest about each. He never tried to sell his service as the end all be all of what I needed. However, after speaking with him, I did realize that ThinkPost would get me as close to what I was used to for much less then the cost of a hosted BES.

So I took the plunge and shelled out a whole $4. Vincent has been wonderful. I've nerver had this level of customer service. He walked me through the install, even though there are written directions. He answers my emails 24/7. He's answered every question I've had about POP3 vs IMAP accounts and how to create pst files through outlook. He's been great.

And the software has performed wonderfully. It does an excellent job and gets me what I need. My email is sent to me instantly...which was my main concern, and my contacts, tasks and calendars are all taken care of. Odds are, I'll soon have a job that will give me another blackberry and I'll be back on the BES, but until then, I think that ThinkPost wil suit my needs wonderfully. And I can't say enough about the customer service.

Hope this helps you guys. Good luck!!!

Are you still happy with this service? I am considering. I see their price has gone up to $5. Are you using their email? Right now my work email is being IMAPd into GMAIL and I get it on my Berry from there. There can be long delays in getting mail but it does sync back with GMAIL and no one knows I use GMAIL when I reply.

seoulfalcon 02-25-2009 02:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nelimungous (Post 1289985)
Are you still happy with this service? I am considering. I see their price has gone up to $5. Are you using their email? Right now my work email is being IMAPd into GMAIL and I get it on my Berry from there. There can be long delays in getting mail but it does sync back with GMAIL and no one knows I use GMAIL when I reply.

I'm very happy with this service. I've had to exchange my Bold because of some technical issues, but my Calendar and Contacts are updated as soon as I install the program. And yes, I am using their e-mail, but if I understand correctly, this service will work for just about any email. I get zero lag in receiving e-mails. Vincent is a really good guy to talk to, and he'll answer any questions that you have. He's not pushy and doesn't try to sell you the service. PM me if you have any other questions.

stfd26 02-26-2009 08:45 AM

I am a BB newbie and have been looking into ThinkPost. I understand the calendar, contacts, etc sync capability with Outlook, but I'm still unclear if it supports full email sync. If I have existing email accounts set up in Outlook and on BB, will this allow me to read, reply, delete email in one place and have it reflected in the other?

vliou 02-26-2009 10:14 AM

Thanks for your interest - I often get the assumption that our product syncs email...it actually doesn't, I'm going to try to make that clearer on the site.

However, our servers are IMAP-idle capable. If you use us as your email provider and add the account to BIS, any deleted/sent email will be synced (the limitations on this are the same across all IMAP BIS accounts). The IDLE portion of our service means emails are pushed to your BB instantly.

I hope that helps / if you have any questions, please send us an email.

Thanks again.


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