Funambol: open source mobile cloud sync (with contest!)

Smartphones are great. Ubiquitous data access is great. Mobile computing is great. Unfortunately, each smartphone represents its own little walled garden of convenience. Apple’s iPhone is tied tightly with iTunes and various other Apple services. Android is tied tightly with Google services. Each manufacturer makes a modicum of effort to allow their smartphone to sync with someone else’s services, but as is too often the case, such integration is usually lacking some important functionality. After all, there’s little business incentive to allow your users to use someone else’s services, right? Enter Funambol, and their open source mobile cloud sync.

“Mobile cloud sync” aims to be an independent solution to the walled garden problem of smartphones. I admit that I haven’t had a chance to use this yet, so I don’t know how well it works, but I like the idea of an open system handling all my data synchronization.

Funambol is the world’s leading open source solution that keeps user data and content in sync across billions of mobile devices, personal computers, email systems and social networks. It is the ultimate white label solution for delivering next-gen mobile cloud sync and push email. Its state-of-the-art AJAX portal makes it easy for users to access data and content in the cloud, using any modern browser.

Funambol is an open source project, allowing you to host your own sync server. Great for DIY-ers and control freaks. If you’re not ready to manage your own sync server, you can use the MyFunambol portal, which is a hosted version of their solution.

myFUNAMBOL is a free 90 day open source mobile cloud sync and push email demo service. It provides mobile email and over-the-air sync of contacts and calendars. It supports billions of devices, including the iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Symbian and feature phones. It lets phones sync with email clients such as Outlook and get email from Yahoo!, Gmail, AOL and Hotmail as well as POP and IMAP servers. It performs over-the-air setup of many phones and includes a web-based address book and calendar for viewing and managing this information online.

Like I said, I haven’t had a chance to use this service yet, so I don’t know how well it actually works. The iPhone app reviews are, predictably, a mixed bag. I just signed up for an account, and will be testing it shortly. If you sign up, and find it useful, come back and let us know!

Funambol is giving away 10 free, unlimited usage accounts to CrunchGear readers. All you need to do is sign up over at the MyFunambol portal, then come back here to leave a comment. Be sure to tell us your Funambol user name, and — just for fun — what model handset you’re using. Ten random winners will be selected Friday morning!