Syncing Palm and Blackberry Contacts: Solution Update

A year ago, I posted a step-by-step solution to sync contact data from the Palm Treo to the Blackberry Curve. It should also work well from the Palm Treo 650, 700, 755 and new Centro to a Blackberry Pearl, Curve and other varieties of RIM cell phones.

Since then, that article became and has remained the most frequently read post on my blog. What amazes me is how so many people are trying to transfer their Palm smartphone contact info to or from a Blackberry and unable to get help from the manufacturers and wireless carriers after hours on the phone. The worst “solution” I’ve heard was from an anonymous commenter who said, “[I] just spent 2 hrs with T-mobile/BBerry support. They gave up and told me to transfer contact[s] manually.” Ouch!

Have a look through the original comments about syncing these smartphones. Some are quite entertaining.

The comments have also surfaced other related problems that needed solving. I’ll reprint some of them here since the comment history is getting rather long. But feel free to check out the original list for other goodies.

Transferring data from Blackberry to Palm
Some visitors wanted to actually go the other way, converting their Blackberry info to a new Palm Treo (or perhaps a Palm Centro). That’s pretty easy to do as well:

  1. Sync your Blackberry with Outlook.
  2. Export the data to a CSV file (e.g. Contacts.csv).
  3. Using the Palm Desktop software, import the CSV file from step #2 into the Palm Contacts database.
  4. If all the contacts look good after step #3 (make any correction in Palm Desktop), then HotSync the Treo.

Transferring data from Blackberry to Palm without Outlook

  1. Sync the Blackberry.
  2. Open the Blackberry Desktop Manager.
  3. Go to Intellisync.
  4. Click on Configure PIM.
  5. Select the Address book item.
  6. Click on Choose and select ASCII Import/Export as the type of address book.
  7. Select Export under Operation.
  8. In the file name field, enter Contacts.csv
  9. Click the OK button, then click on Synchronize Now.
  10. When the sync is complete, import the file into Contacts in Palm Desktop
  11. Sync the Palm Treo/Centro, etc.

Syncing from Palm to Blackberry without Outlook

The least expensive shareware/commercial tool to convert from Palm DBA format to CSV is datebookCSV. I haven’t tried it but it looks like it’ll do the job. If you use this tool, post a comment with your experience.

Well, that’s it for now. If you have more tips for Palm or Blackberry users, be sure to post it here.

20 thoughts on “Syncing Palm and Blackberry Contacts: Solution Update”

  1. Dear Peter:
    I am having a Treo-to-Outlook quandary of my own, not with Contacts, but with Memos. I synced all the other Treo data (Calendar, Tasks, Contacts) successfully to Outlook, using the Blackberry switch tool, but none of my Memos came over. I have quite a list of these and cannot bear the thought of typing all of them over again.

    Here’s the weird part though: They DID sync to the Blackberry Curve handheld but NOT to Outlook. Is it because my version of Outlook is too old? It’s a 2002 dinosaur release. Help??

    Thanks in advance,

  2. Hi Judy,

    That’s very interesting. Since your memos are in the Blackberry now, are you able to sync them from the Blackberry to Outlook rather than from the Treo to Outlook?

  3. I’ve been having trouble syncing my Centro contacts with the new Curve. Have come close by exporting Palm contacts into a csv file, and then importing to the Curve via bbry desktop manager ASCII Sync function. I have verified all fields in my csv data file are filled in, but for some reason only the names, addresses and email addresses show up in my Curve. No phone numbers show at all. I have tried reformatting the csv cells that contain the phone numbers (formatted as “number,” tried the numbers with and without dashes, with and without leading “1”- and that’s all I could think of…) Any idea why the phone and fax numbers are not syncing? Thanks for any advice!

  4. Simon, that sounds really odd. Try creating a dummy entry on your Centro and put “FirstName” into the First Name field, “LastName” into the Last Name field, … , “MainNumber” into the Main Phone Number field, “FaxNumber” into the Fax Phone Number field, etc. Then, sync again. That’ll help you see where each field is going. Perhaps some phone number fields you aren’t using are being picked up before the ones you want. I always keep this dummy entry in my phone for such debugging.

  5. Does anyone know how to sync from a old palm #500 to a blackberry curv?

  6. I attempted to export from Palm (I have version 6.2.2) to Outlook but it came back with an error saying “… The csv translator was unable to recognize this file.”

    I had the Windows translator from the XP Professional so I thought it was okay.

    Currently my desktop has Vista (yuck).

    Can someone help?

  7. A csv file is just a text file so you can open it with Notepad to see if it has any strange characters in it. If you can’t read the contents of the file, then Outlook can’t either.

    What are you using Windows Translator for? Are you converting your data into some other language?

  8. Hi Jacqueline,

    You don’t have to have an internet/data plan to transfer your data. The latest Blackberry Manager should be able to transfer your memos from Palm Desktop. You can see the comments in the companion post where people have successfully done this: Transfer Palm Treo Data to Blackberry Curve

  9. I have a very old Palm that I am still using, the M105. It does not have a USB, it connects to a very old desktop via serial port to sync to the cradle. I am getting a Blackberry this week, any chance of transferring the data to the Blackberry?

  10. Hi Michelle. You can still sync from the Palm to the Blackberry. The process is the same as described in the companion article, Transfer Palm Treo Data to Blackberry Curve. The only difference is that you’ll be using a serial cable for your Palm and USB for your Blackberry. The data is the same.

  11. Help!
    Been reading these posts and still can’t transfer my palm 700 treo data to my new blackberry curve. i purchased outlook.
    exported the palm data to a csv.
    try to import and last step it won’t let me click “next” – ie it tries to force me to change the destination folder (set to Contacts).

  12. Hi Jenny. Have you tried changing the destination folder? You could make one called Palm or anything as long as it lets you proceed with the import.

  13. I’m trying to transfer my calendar and contacts from PalmOne desktop software v. 4.1.4 I did not have a Treo I have a PalmOne Zire 72 which is not a phone. Has anyone done this successfully? Should the suggestions for the Treo above work for me?

  14. My Palm Treo 755 crashed and I replaced it with a Blackberry Curve. I can’t get into the Treo at all. How do I migrate all my data (contacts, memos etc) from my Palm desktop over to my Curve.
    Thanks for the help!

  15. If you can’t turn on the phone, there might be little chance of getting the data out easily. Try taking it to a mobile phone store (the same wireless company that your Treo was running on) and see if they can retrieve the data.

  16. You Rock! I’ve been having a problem with my Palm Centro – They keep crashing and having to be replaced. I finally broke down and switched to Blackberry. Sprint told me because my Centro wouldn’t turn on I’d have to manually re-enter ALL my contacts. Ugh… I am SOOO not tech savvy, but your step by step was awesome and stupid proof. THANK YOU!!!

  17. I am trying to transfer contact data from my Blackberry to a Treo w/o Outlook but do not have “Intellisync” on my Blackberry Desktop Manager (v 4.5). Suggestions?

  18. I am trying to figure out how to get my contacts from Outlook OR Palm Treo to my blackberry bold with no data plan. I have been able to sync my google calendar, but my contacts are in yahoo, not gmail. I moved my contacts from yahoo to gmail, but there are so many there that I don’t wish to sync them to blackberry. It would be best for me to go palm treo OR outlook to blackberry. I have tried sync from the blackberry but it says “server not available”. Can you help?

  19. @Kelly: You’ll need to sync your Blackberry using a cable, since you don’t have a data plan. That will work with Outlook contacts.