Inexplicably, virtually all the major phone manufacturers have been caught with their pants down over Vista compatibility.
The consumer release of Windows Vista and Office 2007 at the end of January seems to have surprised many leading mobile phone manufacturers. In some cases, companies will not have Vista-compatible sync software ready for their handsets until the middle of the year.
Among the major brands, only i-mate phones are ready for the new software.
It is difficult to understand the cause of these delays. Vista Betas were available throughout the second half of last year and the "Release to Manufacturer" version has been available since last November.
All the companies confirmed that business customers were important to them and agreed that these users value the ability to sync a phone with a PC but they were unable or unwilling to explain why these same users will need to wait for months for compatible software.
A spokesperson for the company told APC that iMate has been working closely with Microsoft to ensure that Vista's release would mean "no change for our customers". Its ActiveSync software, based on Windows Mobile technology, is already fully Vista-compatible.
Palm could not provide any indication about when its phones and handhelds would be ready to talk to Vista, saying only "Palm will release details on product compatibility with Vista after testing has been completed. At that time, Palm will provide detailed product information and instructions for users on compatibility requirements." [UPDATE - news just in; Palm has released a compatibility update]
Motorola users are also out of luck. "Microsoft is a great partner", the company waxes, "and we've been working with them on an ongoing basis for mobile devices, but we have nothing to share at this time."
Nokia users fare slightly better. Its PC Suite software will be updated by the end of April, after which any N- or E-series phone and most models with a number higher than 6000 will be able to sync with Vista and Office 2007.
Samsung users will also be able to sync with Vista after April, although users with phone purchased before then will need to download an additional driver from Samsung's web site.
RIM will make BlackBerry users wait a little longer. It has an update in development designed to work with both Vista and Office 2007 which will be released "in the first half of 2007". All BlackBerry handsets will talk to the new Microsoft software once the updates are applied.[UPDATE: RIM has released a Vista and Office 2007 compatibility update: Blackberry Desktop Software 4.2 SP1. ]
After days of prodding head office to no avail, a spokesperson for Sony-Ericsson in Australia said that company was "unsure at the moment" about when its customers will have Vista-compatible software.