I've searched the forums, :htc:HTC support docs, MS and :sprintyellow:Sprint sites, etc., and have settled on the Companionlink and DejaOffice USB solution. I have downloaded DejaOffice and started the Companionlink trial but am have some trouble getting my head around the contacts concepts on the Shift / Cloud / Outlook platforms.

I have 4000+ 'google' (both on the phone and in gmail.com), 4000+ 'outlook', and 60+ 'phone' contacts, with maybe 7-8 'linked'. The 'google' contacts were created 3 months ago in the Sprint store when the rep copied them from my Palm Pre to my new Sprint HTC EVO Shift 4G phone.

At that point, they were a perfect match to the Outlook contacts residing on my laptop. Since then, some 'google' contacts have been changed on the phone and many others have been added, deleted, and changed on in Outlook. As far as I know, the 'google' contacts on the phone and the 'google' contacts at gmail.com are synced and up to date.

The 60+ 'phone' contacts are new in the last 3 months and were added to the phone. They are not yet synced to either the 'google' contacts at gmail.com or to Outlook.

My questions stem from my lack of understanding about:
1) why there are 'phone' and 'google' contacts,
2) what is the difference between 'phone' and 'google' contacts,
3) whether it matters which (the 'phone' or 'google' contacts) should be synced to Outlook,
4) which is most optimal for my purpose of syncing to Outlook, and why,
5) if either, how to combine or merge the 'phone' and 'google' contacts together and keep them straight moving forward,
6) if or, how do I ensure that the best one is the one that is used exclusively going forward, and finally,
7) how to best handle duplicates on the phone and in Outlook subsequent to the USB synch.

Important to note - I'll not be needing to use the 'google' sync once I set up the Outlook sync. I have already backed up my Outlook .pst file. I could use some guidence on backing up the 'phone' and 'google' contacts... I may be overthinking, but before I mess with all my 4000+ contacts (business, personal, etc.) I'd really like to understand this!

Any thoughts out there?