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Funambol – Open Source Sync Solution Sticking Around

Funambol3-0-8We have mentioned Funambol a few times around here. TechCrunch got details that Funambol has raised 12.5 million in financing which means that Funambol is sticking around for now. It also means that analysts and venture capitalists think that Funambol is on to something.

I tried their free My Funambol free contacts/calendar sync service and was not that impressed. On the other hand it was free. The open source nature of the product makes for an interesting model. Instead of selling the software to users they plan on licensing it to carriers.

For example AOL will be using Funambol to sync mobile and online messages on certain phones. I wonder how that will translate for the BlackBerry? Will Funambol try to convince US carriers to offer free BES-like services. They also seem to be moving into advertising by offering free sync services in return for viewing a few advertisement emails.

RIM could really close the door on Funambol if they just created a Outlook sync plugin for BlackBerry Unite. Not to mention releasing it to other countries and carriers. BlackBerry Unite has so much potential…

I wonder if Funambol will continue working to improve their BlackBerry client. As it stands it is pretty bare bones.

2 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. As far as over-the-air syncing for non-BES users, I would not call Funambol “bare bones”, at least, not compared to the alternatives. It is a shame, though… I recently switched from a Verizon Windows Mobile device to a Verizon BlackBerry Curve, so I am fairly new to the BlackBerry arena. I love my Curve, but no question *the most* frustrating experience for me regarding BlackBerry so far is the absence of wireless syncing for individual users like myself. I just couldn’t believe it wasn’t available. I’d been using Verizon’s Wireless Sync service with my Treo for years, and it worked great. Complete 2-way PIM syncing of my Outlook and Treo over-the-air, as well as push email. When I switched to BlackBerry, I just assumed that wireless syncing would be old hat for a company like RIM. It never dawned on me that it might not even be an option without BES and Exchange. Needless to say, I was unpleasantly surprised.

    Long story short… Funambol came to my rescue. Though it is far from being a solution for the common folk, it has definitely kept me from jumping the BlackBerry ship to avoid being in bondage to a USB cable. With their most recent BlackBerry sync client, Funambol has done a good job of keeping my Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, and Notes synced over-the-air with my Outlook. Even better than Nexthaus’s commercial SyncJe client. Push email is also available with Funambol, but I was unimpressed by their proprietary mail client, so I’ll stick to just PIM syncing for now.

    By the way… I don’t use their MyFunambol service, so I can’t comment on that. I run their free sync server on my own machine at home. It can run on Windows XP or 2003 Server (as well as Linux), and is very easy to configure. Again… not a solution for the average Joe, but if you’re an independent non-BES geek like myself, it’s a great solution to this pathetic problem that shouldn’t exist to begin with. RIM, you should be ashamed!

  2. Hi Ronen:

    Thank you for your comments about the Funambol BlackBerry PIM Plug-in. If the above screenshot is from the version that you tried, that is quite old. There is a new version of the Funambol BlackBerry PIM Plug-in that was just released last month which is much better. For more information about it or to download it, please see this page:

    Thank you and regards,

    Hal Steger

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