Generally, I'm quite pleased with the service, but there is definitely room for lots of improvement. As Microsoft is garnering feedback during the beta phase, it is quite possible that many issues will be ironed out before it is opened up for broader use.
As reported in the news here, My Phone lets you synchronise various types of content from your phone up to the web site. This includes contacts, calendar and task entries, but also text messages, documents, photos, videos and music.
Each of these categories can be selected individually by checking a box. You can also synchronise content from Flash storage cards.Once your content has been backed up online, you can access it from a PC by logging into the My Phone web site, potentially making it much easier to get photos off your phone than mucking about with direct sync cables.
Synchronisation is also bi-directional, so you can upload a file to the web site from your PC, and it will be sent to your phone the next time you synchronise - handy for sending across Word documents and such for viewing while on the move later.
This should also allow you to re-load all the content you want if you get a new handset - providing it is also Windows Mobile - but I haven't tested this out.
On the downside, synchronisation seems to take a long time, not just on the first run when all your selected content gets uploaded, but also on subsequent runs when very little has changed. One synchronisation session took close to ten minutes, even when I switched to using the Wi-Fi interface of my handset instead of the cellular HSDPA connection.
You can continue to make calls and use your handset for other purposes while synchronisation takes place in the background, but if you lose the wireless signal for any reason, My Phone simply stops and does not appear to retry without manual intervention.
You can set synchronisation to happen on a daily or weekly schedule, or keep it on manual. Unless you have a generous bandwidth allowance from your mobile operator, manual synchronisation is generally recommended.
I would also like to see more fine-grained selection of content to synchronise. For example, all my photos are stored on a Micro SD Flash card, but I can't set My Phone to synchronise photos only from there. This means that the entire set of sample images that came pre-loaded on the handset also got synchronised up to the web site, even though I don't want these.
Another drawback is that when you choose to synchronise contacts, My Phone only includes names from the Outlook contact list and not any of those stored on the phone SIM itself. This means you are likely to lose some contacts if your phone should go missing, unless you use another method of backing these up.
Access to the online content from a PC browser is also fairly basic at present. For example, while you can view a slide show of all uploaded photos, there is no facility to rotate images you might have captured by rotating the handset sideways to get a landscape shot. There does not seem to be a way to select more than one image at a time to download to your PC, either, which makes this a laborious process.
However, I should point out the My Phone is still in beta, and is not expected to be broadly available until early Q4 2009, according to Microsoft, so much could change between now and then.
My Phone will eventually come pre-installed in Windows Mobile 6.5, but users with Windows Mobile 6 or 6.1 handsets can download and install it. I am currently trying it out on an HTC S730 handset, which is based on Windows Mobile 6.
The client itself is a 560kB download and unpacks several files, one of which is a runtime of just over 700kB in size. Microsoft recently pushed out an updated version, which was a download of exactly the same size.
You need a Windows Live ID in order to login to use My Phone. If you have a Hotmail account, then this is your email address.
Insecticides based on sulfoxaflor might be as bad for bees as neonicotinoids
Intel teases forthcoming new graphics card accompanied by the text "We will set our graphics free"
Think your password manager is completely secure? Think again...
ARM plans 7nm 'Deimos' for 2019 and 5nm and 7nm 'Hercules' for 2020