PIM 2.0: Fun with Funambol

Making a clean break from vufone, my last-reviewed PIM 2.0 suite, I’m now going to show you what a web sync app looks like when it conforms to open standards. It’s called Funambol.

Now I’m probably going to get myself in trouble here for speaking out of my own ass, so kindly correct if I get this wrong. But best as I can tell, Funambol is actually a platform upon which at least three separate products are built:

  1. The Carrier Edition – for service providers, portals, carriers and device makers
  2. The Community Edition – an open source sync solution for devices connected to Linux and Windows servers. (This, by the way is where I’m stumped. By “server” do they mean a computer, a web server or both?)
  3. The myFUNAMBOL portal – an ad-supported introduction to the Funambol platform. I think.

That last one is what we’ll be looking at today. myFUNAMBOL also includes push email — that’s where the ads come in — but I’ll be reviewing just the sync part.

Funambol syncML Server

Here’s what Funambol looks like installed on my E71. You’ll find it in the Sync Folder of your S60 handset.

I should point out that it’s not actually an installed app, per se, but rather a bunch of settings for connecting to a standard SyncML server.

What Funambol syncs

At present, the myFUNAMBOL portal will sync with your handset’s calendar and contacts only…

What Funambol won't sync

… Though as you can see, SyncML can also support the syncing of notes, texts and bookmarks from your web browser.

Syncing happens over-the-air via whichever data connection your phone supports, and your data ends up here, on the myFUNAMBOL web portal.


Kudos to the Funambol team for correctly choosing the white-coloured handset as their default E71 icon. πŸ˜‰

Another nice touch is that you can make a Skype call to any of your contacts just by clicking on the phone number. I had no idea about this until I found my cursor hovering over an entry quite by accident.

Unfortunately this is where the love ends for me and myFUNAMBOL. Like vufone there is no way to export your PIM data to a desktop computer file. Such a feature will be important to you if, like me, you’re running Linux on your desktop computer and wish to bypass local sync entirely, but still want to back up your data.

Of course, myFUNAMBOL may well be just a technology demo and this is probably where the Community Edition of Funambol steps in — I just need someone to explain it to me…


About Andrew

Mobile phones, Linux and copyright reform. Those go together, right?
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11 Responses to PIM 2.0: Fun with Funambol

  1. ME says:

    “Such a feature will be important to you if, like me, you’re running Linux on your desktop computer and wish to bypass local sync entirely, but still want to back up your data.”

    Sync Evolution and multisync/opensync works fine under Linux. I’m using it with Ubuntu and a Nokia N95-3 and sync contacts, calendar events and tasks without any trouble.

    • AC says:

      Ah, you caught me — that quote is a bit disingenuous in that Linux is not yet my primary desktop OS, but I’m hoping it soon will be.

      I was under the impression that Evolution’s killer feature was that you could sync it to an Exchange Server. If you’d like to share the details of your multisync/opensync setup I’m all ears! 😎

  2. ME says:

    Here’s where I started: http://davehall.com.au/blog/dave/2007/11/18/my-new-toy-nokia-n95 I don’t recall having to install anything though. Outside of having to find the bluetooth address and modify the XML config. file, it essentially worked out-of-the-box for me.

    • AC says:

      Thanks for the link!

      My new Linux Eee PC — which I’m hoping will eventually become my PIM data repository — doesn’t have Bluetooth, but maybe I can get it to work with the USB cable.

      I’m still interested in using a “cloud” service to update my calendars and contacts though, having been previously spoiled by the OTA sync of my old Danger hiptop

      • ME says:

        It might work with a USB bluetooth adapter. That’s what I use. You can pick them up on College St for around $20.

        I’m using Ovi Sync as well, but I still like to have my own local backups too, just in case.

      • AC says:

        Ovi Sync, eh? You may want to check back next week for my next PIM 2.0 installment…

  3. ME says:

    Yes, so far so good with Ovi Sync. The site’s a bit slow, but other than that it’s working well so far. I’m using Ovi for photos and maps sync now too. One downside, at least for contacts and calendar sync anyway, is that I believe it requires a Nokia handset.

  4. Fabrizio says:

    For Linux, Funambol Community has developed a Thunderbird client as well (check https://mozilla-plugin.forge.funambol.org/). And there is also an Outlook client (https://www.forge.funambol.org/download/).


    • AC says:

      Hi Fabrizio, I was kinda hoping that you’d stop by again

      Could you briefly explain for my readers (and me) exactly what the community edition is — and specifically, is it a desktop or server-based product?

      Thanks in advance!

  5. Stef says:


    the community edition is actually a collection of server and clients. It’s like the carrier edition, actually. Fabrizio explained the difference between the two here http://robertogaloppini.net/2009/03/06/open-source-mobile-funambols-differences-between-community-and-carrier-editions/
    The myFunambol portal is actually a demo of the carrier edition and a (beta) service to the Funambol community πŸ™‚

    If you have more questions let me know, I’d be glad to answer them. Cheers

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