Funambol, the open source mobile cloud company, has launched a mobile cloud service that wirelessly syncs a BlackBerry with a PC and Outlook, and also allows users to upload pictures to social networks and photo sites. The service is available in 'beta mode' via BlackBerry App World or here.
Wireless sync of BlackBerry PIM data has previously only been available to enterprise customers using dedicated software and hardware. Funambol’s solution provides the missing link for BlackBerry consumer users to wirelessly sync pictures, and for business users to sync key data with Outlook, even without Exchange.
The Funambol BlackBerry service syncs contacts, calendars, tasks, notes and pictures on a BlackBerry with the cloud. Once in the cloud, PIM data (e.g. contacts and calendars) can be automatically synced with Outlook. Device photos can be synced with popular cloud services such as Facebook, Flickr and Picasa, as well as a PC. The Funambol service is designed to support the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet once it becomes available. Funambol already supports iPad and Android tablets.
The service is based on the award-winning myFUNAMBOL Portal, and provides beta users with a nominal amount of free cloud storage, which the company says is sufficient for the wireless sync needs of most users. Plans are underway to provide additional storage space. Users will be able to access a premium service from either Funambol itself or a wireless service provider.
"Connected devices are flooding the market - handsets, tablets and cloud services are essential for people to wirelessly sync core data like contacts, calendars and pictures," says Funambol CEO, Amit Chawla. "iPhone has MobileMe, Android has Google, but until now, BlackBerry hasn't had an equivalent service. Funambol is delivering the missing link by giving BlackBerry consumer users a simple way to sync pictures to the cloud and PCs, and prosumers a way to sync contacts, calendars and more with Outlook, without Exchange or cables.”
Gerry Purdy, principal analyst at MobileTrax, notes that the ability to wirelessly sync contacts, calendars and pictures between BlackBerry devices, Outlook and the cloud, without Exchange and BES, has been a missing link, and says: “The Funambol mobile cloud service will be highly beneficial for BlackBerry users."
In addition to automated cloud backup, the Funambol BlackBerry service also offers users an easy way to move contacts and calendars from other phones and platforms on to a new BlackBerry. The service also includes a data backup feature that allows users to recover mistakenly-deleted data.