Simple synchronicity

8 February, 2012 by Anthony Caruana
AAA
Blogs

Not everyone gets a say in what mobile phone they get to use. So, while many Mac users gravitate to the iPhone when they choose a smartphone, others might have to use Windows Phone or Android.

Back in the day, Apple allowed syncing with a variety of mobile phones through iSync. The utility was removed in Lion. but its  underlying framework is still in place so that third parties can use it to create their own sync software. If you’re using Android or  Windows Phone, there’s no need to worry as both these rival platforms will work with your Mac – just not in the same way as iTunes does.

WINDOWS PHONE 7 CONNECTOR (US$50)

Perhaps it’s a sign of Microsoft’s desperation that it’s created sync software for Windows Phone devices to connect to a Mac. However, the Windows Phone 7 Connector is a solid application that is more than a simple connection tool. It provides a comprehensive synchronisation service for music videos and photos from a Windows Phone to your Mac.

Once we downloaded the app from the Mac App Store all we needed to do was connect the phone via USB. We could then choose what we wanted to transfer between our Mac and the phone – we tested this with a HTC-HD7.

As well as supporting synchronisation, the Windows Phone 7 Connector can be used to download and install firmware updates much like iTunes with the iPhone. (Windows Phone 7 also supports over-the-air updates like those introduced by Apple with iOS 5.)

Everything worked as expected when we tested all of its functions – including syncing photos to iPhoto and moving music and video onto the phone. One feature that we liked and wished Apple would introduce to iTunes was the ability to browse the contents of the phone and selectively extract the media we wanted. If you prefer – or need – to use Windows Phone 7, then the Windows Phone 7 Connector makes life very easy.

DOUBLETWIST (Free)

In case you’d missed it, Android has either or is about to overtake iOS in terms of sales. As a result of this market growth, there’s a clear need for a sync tool that lets Android handsets and Macs play nicely together. doubleTwist is that tool.

We looked at the free version that supports wired sync. For another $4.99 there’s the wireless AirSync version. doubleTwist on the Mac works a lot like iTunes.

It provides access to your iTunes library and can play back media from that library. It also provides access to the Android Market for buying apps and accessing other Google services.

We connected a HTC Sensation XL to a new MacBook Pro running doubleTwist. Syncing music and photos was a snap. Movies  stored in iTunes needed to be transcoded to play on the Sensation but doubleTwist handled that automatically. If you’re using an Android phone or tablet with a Mac, you need doubleTwist.

PICASA FOR MAC (Free)

Although iCloud makes it easy to sync content between your Macs and iOS devices, Google has been delivering personal data over the internet for longer than most, and certainly has a larger number of users than Apple and iCloud.

Picasa for Mac is a photo management application that can work with your iPhoto library to provide access top images you shoot on your Android device and then share using Picasa.

Picasa provides many of the same functions as iPhoto including editing, special effects, facial recognition and the ability to share images online using popular social media sites and email. Picasa is free and well worth a look if iPhoto is not fitting the bill.

 

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