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eWallet 4.0 review
Posted on 21-Jul-2004 01:00 by M Freitas | Filed under: Reviews

This version shows how a software already best in its category can get better. Ilium Software's eWallet, the secure (128bit key RC4 encryption) password and sensitive information keeper program for Windows Mobile Pocket PC, Smartphone, Windows based PC and Palm OS gets a new version with nested categories, unlimited categories (Palm) and record level synchronisation (Windows Mobile) and we think they're worth the upgrade.

To start, eWallet, even in its previous versions, is one of the few true multi-platform software available for handhelds. I first used eWallet a few years ago, when I bought my second Palm device, at that time a 3COM Palm Pilot 5000 (yes, I had one before it, the US Robotics Pilot). The software already had versions available on the handheld and the desktop, with Hotsync providing record level synchronisation. Since then, and after a few handhelds, I've moved to the Windows Mobile world, and the first software to be added to my library was eWallet. When I bought a Windows Mobile Smartphone, eWallet was again the first software to be installed on my new device.

eWallet on a Windows desktop (note the new nested categories feature)

eWallet on a Windows Mobile Pocket PC

eWallet on a Windows Mobile Smartphone

Migrating from the Palm platform to the Windows Mobile platform was very easy: simply installed the software and kept using the same file. No data migration, no data loss. The only thing I couldn't do was record level synchronisation, relying on a full file synchronisation. This approach required me to do changes in one location only: because each record type have variable length, Activesync alone couldn't support a record level action. Also, the Windows Mobile Smartphone does not support file synchronisation, so I had to manually copy the .wlt file to this device.

These days are now gone. The first big thing Ilium Software brings with eWallet 4.0 is SyncPro, a technology that adds record level synchronisation to Windows Mobile devices. What a big change! I can now edit, add or delete data on my Pocket PC, and this will be replicated to my desktop file. Or if I elect my Smartphone as my eWallet main device I can do the same actions on that device, and again the changes will be replicated to desktop.

Syncpro options

Synchronisation direction: like Palm Hotsync

Syncpro in action

The way this process was implemented does not allow multiple devices synchronisation. But this is not a big problem, unless you're like me and carry a Pocket PC and Smartphone at the same time.

First things fist. Setup of this new synchronisation process requires a little cut and paste. In the old days the .wlt file was synchronised to a Pocket PC via its Sync Folder. We can now (and should) move this file out of the sync, perhaps to the desktop's My Documents. When opening the .wlt file the first time the program will quickly convert the file format and start a synchronisation Wizard. This Wizard will guide you through a sequence that allows you to decide when you want to synchronise the data, and when.

For example you can select to synchronise the data every time you open or close the .wlt file, or even automatically synchronise when your device (Pocket PC or Smartphone) is placed in the cradle. Like on the Palm Hotsync conduit you can define the behavior of sync action, including what direction the records will synchronise.

My first synchronisation took a little longer than I thought, around 10 minutes, but I have more than 600 records in my passwords file. After this first update, it's quick and efficient.

Selecting a card type for a new card

Entering information on a new card

Information for a credit card-type card

Same information on a Smartphone

The next item in the list of updated features is common for all platforms (Windows Mobile Pocket PC, Smartphone, Palm and desktop): eWallet 4.0 supports nested categories. It's a great improvement, no doubt. I've moved my Bank Account and Credit Card categories under a single one, and I also created sub-categories for Software, one for each platform. The best thing is how you can see the same content in all platforms, regardless of interface.

For Palm users, eWallet 4.0 removes the 16 category limit previously imposed. Add this to nested category and you can have a powerful electronic wallet.

Then, a new feature for the desktop version. Currently on your Windows desktop version you can right-click a field and copy its contents - even without revealing the password fields. To make this even better, Ilium has added some integration with Internet Explorer: when you click a URL in a card, it opens the browser and if there are username/password fields these will be automatically filled with the card's content. I tried with a few websites, and the feature works as advertised. Some websites however use a different page for login, in this case I simply used the old method, still present.

Safe everywhere

A new feature I couldn't test is the Shareable Wallet file. It seems that now a .wlt file can be on a network drive, and multiple users can access the same file. Great for a workgroup, department or family use. And if all these new features are not enought, eWallet 4.0 allows a user-defined Password Hint and a cool looking new toolbar on the desktop version. Yep, this version is really worth it.

You can find eWallet in different versions. The standard one comes with a program for one device only, and the Professional version comes with the Windows desktop version as well.

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