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In times immemorial, back in the day when men were men and blackberries still took AA batteries, we rolled them out to our users for our 100 person operation. At that time, there was no such thing as address list lookups, so we were forced to hack a bit. The ingenious hack we came up with was to mirror the GAL as a public folder and then synch up blackberries to that. While there have been a few downsides here and there, they have been mere annoyances. And our users, having grown fat and prosperous in the intervening years, have been used to seeing every single employee and department here listed on their hand-held automatically.

Alas, it appears that Outlook 2010 breaks this functionality as Blackberry desktop manager is completely incompatible with it. Moreover, this presents us with an opportunity to change things for the better given that public folders are going away next time we upgrade exchange.

So, we are in search of a tool or technique that will allow us to mimic current functionality--that is to:

  1. Push an essentially arbitrary list of ~100 contacts to blackberry address books
  2. Said list shall be centrally updated

Without requiring desktop manager or exchange public folders.

Any suggestions, crowd?

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Not that I know of. If you have a blackberry server you get the look up function so users can look up Exchange contacts easily. I don't think it'll sync the entire global address list.

The official policy from RIM at the moment is to use an older version of Outlook (which sucks obviously).

What I've done on my machine (probably isn't all that feasible for a roll out) is to install Windows XP Mode on my machine under Windows 7 and install Outlook 2007 on that with the blackberry sync so I can use that to configure Wireless sync.

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We have been looking for something similar to this, but specifically for publishing of an emergency contact list to the phones (not the whole GAL). In our searches, we came up with RIM's demo application Emergency Contact List (ECL), which is pretty functional, needs a little tuning on the phone's catcher-app side to handle phone and email links. If you have people that can develop that, it is a pretty good start.

The ECL demo has a server-side piece where you write an excel spreadsheet with all the data in it, and then run the push application to parse that spreadsheet and sync the content to the phone. You would have to additionally maintain that spreadsheet, it wouldn't just auto-populate from the GAL, though I suppose with some more coding that would be possible to.

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