PIM 2.0: A Look at vufone

(Click here to read the first post in my ongoing search for what I call “PIM 2.0″…)

I first heard about vufone from a very highly-regarded S60 software blog. They gave the app their highest rating, 5 out of 5 stars. Me? I’m honestly not as impressed…

VUFONE PIM Options

The first thing I noticed about vufone is that is doesn’t seem to use the standard SyncML protocol, and is instead a standalone installation. This is potentially worrisome in that there may be other data heading up to vufone’s server when you sync your phone.

However, vufone is to eventually become a paid service, which is good because the company will have a sustainable business model and therefore won’t need to sell your data to third parties. Whether they’ll do it anyway is another question altogether…

VUFONE Media Options

vufone also gives you the option of uploading your personal media to their site — once there, you can share it with other media sites like Facebook and Flickr.

Furthermore, you have the option of exporting your calendar to your Google account, which is important because there is currently no way to export your PIM data directly from their web site — in other words, contacts and text messages are apparently theirs to keep. That’s bad.

VUFONE Pre-Crash

Even worse is that, for me, the service doesn’t work with my 650-plus address book entries. Here’s a screen grab of my E71 attempting to sync them to vufone — the app consistently crashes at this point.

I turned to vufone’s online forums for help, but after a very prompt first reply my issue has not been addressed any further.

And so, for not adhering to open sync standards and generally not working, I’ll be looking beyond vufone for an online sync solution…

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About Andrew

Mobile phones, Linux and copyright reform. Those go together, right?
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3 Responses to PIM 2.0: A Look at vufone

  1. Suraj V says:

    Hi Andrew,

    I have been synchronizing about 530 contacts with vufone for the last several weeks and haven’t seen a crash.

    You have a point about them not using syncML. Also, after a brief period of use, I realize that vufone must have an export facility.

    Thanks for your views.

  2. AC says:

    At your service, Suraj — great blog, by the way!

    FYI, I’ve also been in contact with Rafi Ton, CEO of NewACT/vufone. He’ll be posting his response to my concerns with vufone directly below…

  3. Rafi Ton says:

    Hi Andrew,

    Thanks’ for the feedback and insights. We really appreciate such insights from our users (no BS), this truly help us to focus on the truly important things.

    Let me start from the end of your post: no excuses! the fact that we didn’t got back to you promptly on your support request is a f@#$ up, it should not happen and we will check with our guys how come we dropped the ball. Regarding the ‘crash’ thing, following internal testing it relates to memory allocation issue which we are fixing and will be live (after QA) in a week or so.

    Your point regarding SyncML is an interesting one; our core approach is that the user should not care about what technology we use to provide him confidence that all his personal data is backed-up and synced (we put lots of effort to make vufone a tech-less experience… and there is still work to be done). Second, SyncML protocol simply can’t provide all the features that we need – the simplest example is transferring ‘files’ such as: images, videos, SMSs and etc. Furthermore, vufone allows near real time sync without any manual intervention by the user (again we truly aim to put the user & his needs in the limelight), SyncML is not designed to work this way.

    Last but definitely not least, we believe in mobile freedom, which means that the one who owns the mobile phone content is the user and no one else. Therefore, we enable the user a way to truly own and manage his mobile phone content (contacts, SMSs, Videos, MP3s, photos, tasks, calendars and so on). In this spirit, once a user decide for whatever reason that he no longer want to have a backup of his content with vufone, he can delete the account and all the content within it.

    Bottom line, thanks for the feedback and highlighting issues within vufone, we are working on it and with your help vufone will become a better product. Any future feedback, insights or ideas will be highly appreciated

    Keep it coming 🙂

    Rafi

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