Friday, March 14, 2014

Bizarre BlackBerry 10 Contact Field Mapping Issue

BlackBerry OS 10.2 OS Does not perform exact Field Mapping To Outlook Contacts
By Vern Weitzman

About ten years ago, the first BlackBerry Enterprise Server started supporting over the air contact synchronization with Microsoft Exchange Server and Outlook contacts, it did an exceptional job at field mapping. Almost every important Outlook Contact field was available and easily identifiable in the BlackBerry Address Book.


I am not certain that is the case with BlackBerry OS 10.2 running on a Z-10. A customer has just today reported that their BES 10.2 users are not seeing the “Other Phone” field on their smartphone.  I didn't really understand how the field could be displayed in Outlook, and yet not appear on the BB10 contact.  I was very curious so we tried our own in-house test on a BlackBerry Z-10. Initially I suspected that it was BES 10, but the problem also occurs using native ActiveSync on Exchange Server.

The snapshot below shows the “All Fields” phone display from Outlook  ( Note the phone field with a red box around it).  Normally you would expect a numeric phone value here but we instead placed a test string “other 1” so we could spot it easier on the BlackBerry contact.

We tried several times and could not get the BB Handheld software (version 10.2.1.537) to sync a value for the “Other Phone” field. We even opened the respective BlackBerry address item in edit mode. Even though this displays more detail, we could not see where the field synchronized from Outlook.


Next Test: Sync Field Mapping from BB10 to Outlook

Our next step was to edit the contact on the BlackBerry and add a number in the “Other” phone field. As you can see from the next snapshot, we added a dummy number (321-654-9870) on the contact.
 
We waited for it to sync and went back to Outlook.  Where was the “Other Phone” field defined in the respective Outlook Contact?














As shown in the red circle, it mapped back to Outlook in the “Radio Phone” contact field! About ten years ago, that mapping would have made perfect sense if you were a Nextel user with Push to Talk.








Adding many more “Other Phone” fields

So we decided to experiment on the BlackBerry Z-10 Address Book.  We again went into edit mode on the same smartphone contact and added five more “Other” phone fields with the values shown below.



We were expecting to see at least some of these in the respective Outlook contact. Unfortunately None of the fields synchronized back to the Outlook contact. Nada. The latest BlackBerry designers must have decided that they didn’t need to have fields to exactly match Outlook. I speculate this simple mapping defect got overlooked.

The small anomaly is problematic for some BB 10 users. Sometimes executives and deal makers have much more than the standard business and mobile phone.

Hopefully this will get resolved in a future update from BlackBerry. In the mean time, if you are using the Unified Contact Manager, you may be able to map that critical data to different Outlook fields so it does show up even on BlackBerry 10 address books.