Last week I said I’d do some reviews for Lync and Skype on mobile devices. Good way to know which features are available – and which we need in Skype for Business’ mobile apps.
I’ll start out with Lync 2013 for iPhone.
Now, full disclosure: I don’t use the Lync 2013 client on my iPhone often. I have my laptop for day-to-day work conversations. (It’s a Lenovo Ultrabook–instant Windows 8 tablet with a button-press.) Lync forwards after-hours calls to my phone. Worked so far.
So, this is a bit of a refresher for me too. Haven’t used Lync 2013 on an iPhone before? Join me in exploration!
As always, your login username/password conventions may differ slightly.
Reviews on this Lync client vary widely. The App Store has plenty of good and bad in the Reviews section. While I go through the features, I’ll mention frequent complaints I found therein.
Ostensibly, Lync 2013 for iPhone can do everything the desktop version can do, with a few exceptions:
- Managing contact groups
- Share Desktop/Program
- Use of meeting tools (the whiteboard, controlling PowerPoint, etc.)
- Manage team calls & call Response Groups
(Full Mobile Client Comparison tables are here: Mobile Client Comparison Tables for Lync 2013)
But the main functions – calls, IM, meetings – are front and center. I tested them all and had no problems.
Lync calls went out, and were received, just fine. So does IM (in fact I may have annoyed a couple co-workers today). My Outlook calendar appointments also come up under the Meetings tab, nice and clear.
What’s Not Right
App Store reviews mention that cell calls will interrupt Lync calls. I asked a co-worker to call my cell from his while I spoke with another co-worker via Lync. It didn’t interrupt; the cell call went to voicemail. Could be our configuration, but I wanted to note that I didn’t duplicate the interruption reviewers mentioned.
However, other mentioned errors did turn up. A review from November mentioned that chats “randomly disappear” and “so do missed conversations.”
I found this to be true on my phone. Here’s my Chats screen:
Only one conversation, right? Wrong. I had another IM chat via this phone, less than 2 weeks ago. Where is it? Nowhere – not on my phone, not in my Conversation History in Outlook.
Two Conversation Histories – Laptop and Phone?
Then a curious thing happened. While logged into Lync on my phone, I received an IM. The client buzzed at meâ€¦but the IM window opened on my laptop. Where I was also logged into Lync 2013.
Why? Well, I was typing on my laptop at the time. Not in Lync, but on the same machine. Lync interpreted me as being active “here” and sent the IM to the respective client.
I wrote about this behavior 2 years ago: Doubling Up: Does Lync Allow Multiple Logins?
(Please do note Peter J.’s comment and my own response for all the details.)
This isn’t so much “not right” as “open for improvement”. Nothing wrong with funneling a conversation to the Lync client with the most-recently-active system!
However, this made me think of a would-be-nice for the Skype for Business iPhone client…access to full Conversation History within the client. I don’t know how many times I’ve consulted Conversation History for dates, numbers, etc. If I could do that on my phone & find conversations from my laptop? Major timesaver.
This is already noted as missing in Microsoft’s documentation:
“The conversation history on Lync for iPhone is not synced with Microsoft Exchange. This means that conversations that occur on your Lync mobile device will only be displayed on that deviceâ€™s conversation history and nowhere else. Also, when you delete a conversation on your mobile device, that conversation is permanently deleted.”
Limitations Aside, Lync 2013 is Good to Have on the iPhone
Are there issues with Lync 2013 for iPhone? It appears so. I did not experience an app crash, as several reviewers reported, but I don’t doubt they did have Lync crash on them.
That said, having a Lync 2013 app is an overall benefit to users. As I review other mobile clients, I’ll see how they stack up to Lync 2013 for iPhone.
Hmmm, maybe I should “borrow” my co-worker’s Android phone next…
What do you think? Would full Conversation History access on your phone help your work? Please comment or email your thoughts. And check back next week for more reviews!