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How to keep your data in sync / synced across various devices, platforms and gadgets?
Do you have a lot of gadgets with different platforms and want an easy way to sync data across all of them? Read this article to know how to efficiently and with ease keep all your electronics gadgets in sync so that you have all you want whether you are in your home, in office or on move
Has your computer just crashed down before an important presentation and you are cursing yourself why you did not keep a copy of it in your smartphone or at least on your email account? Or you have an important call to make but the number is saved in your tablet whereas you have brought along your smartphone?
There is no perfect application or any other simple solution available at present to offer seamless sync across platforms but still you can set up automatic syncing across various platforms and avoid these situations up to a certain extent.
Syncing of emails, contacts and calendars
Syncing data across different devices with different platforms is not that difficult if you have a computer near you as all of them have feature to transfer data to and fro from it but the problem arises when you don't have a laptop or desktop. Here are some solutions to help you keep your data synced across various devices:
Using similar platform based devices for easy sync
In most cases if you are using a same platform like Android then you will find that they can be easily synced across array of Google services like Gmail, contacts and calendar. Similarly Microsoft phone 7 based devices work best with Microsoft platforms and BlackBerry devices with BlackBerry Enterprise server. Although it is not too difficult to sync your emails, contacts and calendars on other devices but the ease will maximum only when you choose a single platform for your smartphone, tablet and PC.
Using exchange active sync
You can simply use Microsoft Exchange Server or Office 365 to sync your data. Exchange servers maintain your emails, contacts and calendar so it is very easy to access your data on any platform or devices based on your connectivity. Most smartphone specifically support sync through Exchange Active sync. BlackBerry devices similarly use Exchange servers to accomplish the same purpose.
If you want to sync the data on a PC of different platform and are also not using Exchange Active Sync then the above two options won't work for you. For Apple's iOS running devices and secondary computer the easiest way to sync is using Google. If you use the online services of Google which are Gmail, Google calendar and contacts then you need not maintain a copy of your emails, calendar and contacts on smartphone, tablets or computers like in Microsoft Outlook. You just need internet connectivity to connect to Google services and any updating of the data will be reflected in the Google servers itself and you will have a sort of central storage system accessible from any part of the world and from most available devices.
You can also sync your Microsoft calendars, emails and contacts through this central server if you prefer using that to manage these. Google apps sync for Outlook is specifically designed for syncing your emails, notes, calendars and contacts. But it is worth to note that this service is not free to use.
If you are not a paying customer like most of us then you can use Google calendars to sync the calendar of Outlook. For emails you will have to do the setting of each individual email on the outlook but you will be still left with contacts.
When you will sync you data on Google then you can use Google sync for your iPhone and iPad to sync your calendar, contacts and emails so that these gadgets will stay updated to the synced data of yours. Exchange Active sync is used by Google which means that the addition of Google sync to your iOS device is just like using an Exchange email account, after that you can also set the calendar and contacts to update itself according to the Google sync data.
Syncing all types of files
Sync of email, calendar and contacts is easy because they are designed to be available to you on move and for easy share. But syncing your documents, spreadsheet and presentations is more difficult as the can easily take up the space of your smartphones and tables which don't have a storage capacity of more than 8GB or 16GB.
The solution is not only to have the data on all your different platform based devices but also to have them in a form that they can be accessed on each platform for creating or editing. Nowadays many of the handheld devices like Motorola Xoom support USB drives and you can easily get a computer to conveniently access these files but there are still many products which do not have a USB support like iPhone and iPad. Another problem is that if you keep a back up of the data on all devices you end up wasting a lot of storage for similar content.
Moreover this is not next gen method of manually creating a back up data on each device and instead you would obviously want an automatic solution for this.
Similar to managing email, calendar and contacts online through services like Gmail the most elegant method of managing your data is to store it on cloud based services like Microsoft Windows Live SkyDrive or Google Docs. Using these you just need an internet connection to access your files in any part of the world.
For documents you would obviously want an offline way to work. For this Microsoft provides a Windows centric solution to it. By using Windows Live mesh you get a the compatibility of your data being automatically be synced from your desktop to cloud and smartphones running on Windows phone 7 also integrate with the data stored on the SkyDrive. Smartphones of other devices will also be able to see these documents by browsing on the site but without the support of Microsoft Office file formats you will not be able to open them.
Google at present does not offer any offline way of accessing or editing documents present of Google docs but you can use the free Google cloud app to sync your data from Microsoft office to Google docs but be warned that this may play havoc with the formatting of your document.
There are some more services which are entirely unrelated to Google docs and provide on Cloud storage. These are Box.net, DropBox etc. By using these services you can sync the data of a designated folder to the Cloud service servers. These services are compatible with Windows and Mac OS and DropBox also has a Linux based client service too.
DropBox provides 2GB of free online storage and sync whereas as SugarSync provides 5GB of online storage but for more you will have to pay up a premium. Box.net provides a range of services for its premium customers but SugarSync offers the widest range of services for free.
Maybe in the future we will get a one stop solution for sync across all platforms but for now it has to go through a few roadblocks to get the sync done.
Read related articles: Google Sync
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