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Any regular readers know that I have been in search of the Holy Grail of Task apps for a very long time. Clever-To-Do from Clever Software does a great job on my phone, but I really need a Task app that will sync automatically and seamlessly with all my devices. I have tried several with high expectations, only to be disappointed. Tasks by Telerik, available for both Windows Phone and Windows 8, is my latest effort to find that missing app.

The Win 8 version of TbT displays nicely, organizing tasks by; overdue, due today, due tomorrow and due next. You can organize tasks by Category and Project. New tasks are loaded into a to-do category and default project, simplifying data entry. Of course, you can change these entries if you prefer. There are options to change the priority of a task, and to set a reminder. You can also attach a photo to you task and add additional notes. There is an in-app purchase option, with a generous 21 day trial, to add voice notes and location info to tasks. TbT has an option to set a task as recurring, but the implementation is really poor. For example you can’t set a recurrence for every week, or every other month, or on a specific day each week/month. Other apps, especially Clever-To-Do, have done a much better job with recurring tasks. Something I use often.

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Where TbT really shines though is with syncing. There are options to use Exchange Server or Google Sync (both with a small in-app fee), but they are limited. Rather than relying on One Drive, or some other service, it appears Telerik has their own server. You need to create an account and then select Telerik Cloud as your sync option. The cost for connecting to the Telerik Cloud is $2.99, but you again get a 21 day trial. Or, you can keep the app local and pay nothing. Syncing appears to be seamless. The app syncs every time you; open the app, add a task, or edit a task. You can also set it to sync at intervals (from 5 minutes to 1 week). So far, the app has synced perfectly across all my devices, including my phone. But there is one big problem. No background syncing. So you need to open the app each time you use a device in order to get the Live tile, and any reminders, to sync from another device. That’s a real problem. The whole idea of multi-device syncing is to NOT have to open the app to see if something is due or past due.

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And speaking of Live tiles, that’s another area that can use a lot of improvement. The Tile will tell you if you have a task past due and will then flip through each task slooowwwly. Might as well just click the damn tile to see what’s up. Please Telerik. give me a tile that shows the next four tasks, including past dues. And maybe put the dates next to each, so I can see what tasks are past due. Better yet, implement that double high tile, so I can see more tasks if they are due. And please, don’t show me ALL of my tasks. Just those due and past due. Really, this stuff is simple. Why is it so hard for developers to implement.

There are some other cool options to add email addresses and phone numbers to tasks from your People list. As well as ways to group and sort your Projects and Categories. All good stuff. But let’s work on the basics before dealing will bells and whistles. Please.

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The Windows Phone app work in much the same way. And it will cost you another $2.99 if you want to use Telerik Cloud sync with your phone. It’s got a somewhat colorful interface and doesn’t follow the basic app appearance (limited control buttons, no popup menus) guidelines, but it works. And again, syncing is seamless. But the WP Live tile is really painful to look at. The front side of the tile displays nothing. Well, nothing except the word Tasks. The tile flips to give you a count of due and past due tasks. That’s it. You can pin separate Tiles for each Project and/or Category. But your still limited by no background syncing, and not actually seeing a description of your tasks on a tile.

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While Tasks by Telerik has some great potential, the lack of an adequate recurring tasks option, no syncing in the background to update Live tiles, and a totally abysmal implementation of Live tiles on both the Win 8 and WP versions keeps me from recommending it to anyone. I have sent a couple emails to the developer but have yet to hear back. Maybe it will improve, maybe not. Regardless, I will continue my quest for a well thought out task app that syncs between Win 8 and WP. Or maybe I should quit my day job and just develop the damn thing already. You never know.

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