Funambol is a free internet cloud based solution that endovors to sync any device with any other device by using their own server as a conduit between the devices.  You can sync Outlook calendar, contacts, notes and tasks on a PC or an address book on a Mac with Funambol's server.  You can sync an Android, iPhone, Blackberry, Windows Mobile device, or Symbian phone with Funambol's server.  Depending on which device you use, different sync software is available to sync different items.  For instance, Funambol's Android app will sync only Funambol's calendar or contacts with the Funambol server.  But Outlook, Windows Mobile and Blackberries, can sync calendar, contact, notes, and tasks with the server.

So, what can Funambol do for our specific purpose of syncing Outlook to an Android device.  It can sync Outlook versions XP through 2010, 32 bit editions to the Funambol server through an Outlook add-in, either manually or scheduled automatically.  It will sync the data on the Funambol server to Funambol's own calendar and contact apps on an Android device.  The software is all free and the Funambol user account is also free.  If you sign into MyFunambol Portal online, you will see your calendar and contacts although it does not show notes or tasks.

The Funambol software is all open source, meaning anyone can look at the code and even design their own changes or apps.  Free Windows Funambol server software is available for download, so you can host your own Funambol server.  You can then securely sync as many Outlook users and phone devices as you desire to your own server.  There are a massive number of devices that are supported.

There are a few things to consider about Funambol.  Outlook 64 bit editions are not supported and the data is not synced with the native Android apps.  Also, when you sign up for the Funambol user account, they do ask for personal information, including a birthday and gender.  If you sync, there is an option to encrypt the data going to the internet through to their server, but it does not function.  In fact, it introduces a problem syncing properly, so don't even think about using it, yet.  When activated, it will use DES, a lower form of encryption.  Finally, while contacts are synced with Android version 2.0 or higher, calendars can only be synced with Android 2.2 onward.

For those who are wondering, Funambol comes from the Latin words for tightrope walker.  The name represents the company's constant balance between the needs of their commercial customers and the open source community.  It is pronounced Foo-NAM-ball.  If you are interested in more information about Funambol, please visit their website at:

http://www.funambol.com/