Microsoft Prepping MobileMe-Type Service Called ''My Phone''

Discussion in 'Headline News' started by Ed Hardy, Feb 6, 2009.

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  1. Ed Hardy

    Ed Hardy TabletPCReview Editor Staff Member

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    Thanks to an apparent slip-up, Microsoft has given the world a look at its upcoming online synchronization service for Windows Mobile called My Phone.

    The web site for this service is live now, but not fully functional. Still, there's enough to give a complete overview of what it will offer.

    [​IMG]For years, business users have been able tobackup their address book and calendar data with a remote server thanks to Exchange ActiveSync. Consumers, on the other hand, haven't been able to do this without paying for an additional service. My Phone will change this.

    However, this upcoming service won't offer all the features of Exchange ActiveSync. It will only synchronize calendar and contacts, not email. However, it will allow users to synchronize photos and other files, not something offered by the business software.

    In addition, My Phone users will be able to go to a web site and access their personal information. They will be able to make changes and these will be reflected on their smartphone the next time they synchronize. In another difference from Exchange ActiveSync, changes won't sync immediately, but only once per day.

    As Microsoft's own words:

    Microsoft My Phone syncs information on your mobile phone to a storage space on a web site hosted by Microsoft. If your phone is lost or stolen, or if you upgrade to a new phone, you can easily restore the contacts, calendar appointments, photos, and other information that you stored on My Phone to a compatible new or replacement phone.

    Microsoft My Phone enables you to view and manage phone information by using a web browser. In your web account, you can add, edit, and delete contacts and calendar appointments, and the changes will appear on your phone the next time that you sync.

    The service is going to be free, and will be compatible with most devices running Windows Mobile 6+.

    Thisis apparently a confirmation of the earlier rumors about "Skybox", as the URL for My Phone is getskybox.com.

    According to unconfirmed reports,the official announcement of this service will be at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) tradeshow later this month.

    Update:A Microsoft spokesperson has confirmed that the My Phone web site accidentally went live early, and promises it will be announced at MWC.He goes on to say that, at first, this service will be available only as alimited, invite-only beta. The full text of his statementis available in the Brighthand Forums.

    MicrosoftMy Phone vs. Apple MobileMe

    My Phone immediately draws comparisons with Apple's MobileMe service, as both offer over-the-air data synchronization to consumers, and all the data to be accessed via a web portal.

    This is a "back to the future" comparison, as when MobileMe was launched it was compared to Exchange ActiveSync. The MobileMe servicemight actually bea slightly closer to Microsoft's sync service for businesses, though, as it allows users synchronize their emails, too.

    Additional Details

    As mentioned earlier, this is not a "push" service. Instead, My Phone will automatically synchronize information between the smartphone and the online account once a day between 11:00pm and 5:00am. However, user will be able to manually initiate a sync whenever they choose.

    This upcoming servicewill apparently allow users to synchronize the contents of the My Documents folder on their smartphone with their online account.Microsoft will provide 200 MB of free storage for this. It's not clear at this point if this will include files stored on a removable memory card.

    The web site for My Phone also reveals how this service will inter-operate with othersynchronization services. When the user has an active connection with Microsoft Exchange server,My Phone will not synchronize contacts, calendar appointments, or tasks. Windows Live contacts will only be synced with the Windows Live web site, not My Phone.

    Via Engadget

     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2015
  2. questionfear

    questionfear Google'd.

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    For a free service, this looks pretty impressive. Even as a free, easy backup it's pretty cool.
     
  3. Antoine Wright

    Antoine Wright Neighborhood Mobilist Super Moderator

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    Same as Ovi and MobileMe; uhmmm, I'm sensing another of those patterns...
     
  4. Ed Hardy

    Ed Hardy TabletPCReview Editor Staff Member

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    A Microsoft spokesperson has just sent me the following official statement:

    Today, Microsoft’s My Phone Web site went live prior to its scheduled debut. However, we are excited about the new Microsoft My Phone service, which will be available as a limited, invite-only beta. This is a significant milestone for Microsoft as it connects the phone to the PC and Web, making mobility a key pillar for the company's software+services strategy.

    This new Microsoft cloud service syncs critical information (e.g., contacts, calendar appointments, tasks, text messages, photos, video, etc) on a user’s mobile phone to a password protected Web site. Once synchronized, people can easily back-up and restore mobile phone data. My Phone provides an easy to use Web portal where people can access and manage content on the phone, and share that information with others.

    My Phone helps people:

    • Keep their information backed up if they lose or break their phones.
    • Transition information if they switch to new phones.
    • Access the same information from their phone or PC.
    Additional information about the service can be found here: www.windowsmobile.com/myphone

    We will have more details about My Phone and the limited invite only beta at Mobile World Congress.
     
  5. ZSX

    ZSX Mobile Consultant

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    The more I look at it, the less impressed I am. After all, Windows Live already does the push email and live contact sync, and Live Mesh is much more flexible for data sync, with the ability to sync any folder you want on your device. I can understand that they are trying to keep it simple if they intend to extend this to non-smartphone devices, but for me this is a (poorer) duplication of existing functionality.

    The only thing I wish for now is calendar sync in Windows Live. Please Microsoft, announce this at MWC! Pretty please!
     
  6. Ed Hardy

    Ed Hardy TabletPCReview Editor Staff Member

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    ZSX, you raise some good questions, and there are plenty of people trying to figure out what's going on with Microsoft and all its over-lapping services. Will Live Mesh functionality be merged My Phone? How will Windows Live and My Phone relate to each other? No one at Microsoft can tell me.

    As best I can tell, Microsoft is just throwing a bunch of different options at the wall to see what sticks.
    -
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2015
  7. brickman65

    brickman65 It's a state of mind..

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    As an avid user of MobileMe for my iPhone, I personally think that this would be a very good thing for M$ mobile. The ability for "the rest of us" to get get "push" services is wonderful!

    Hopefully they will get it figured out and get this service to their mobile users.:newpalm:
     
  8. palmgeek5394

    palmgeek5394 Nokia N800 + HTC Wizard

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    I wonder if this will work well with SkyDrive. Although that would be kinda pointless for me apart from the occasional WiFi hotspot since I'm planning on cancelling the last of my contract (good thing I never renewed it) and just using a prepaid SIM. It's much cheaper.
     
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