Microsoft is planning to unveil new services for users of its Windows Mobile smartphone platform, including a way to back up information to the web and a rumoured online store for mobile applications.
Earlier reports from various sources claimed that Microsoft will launch a service called SkyBox at the coming Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, which will synchronise information on the phone - such as contacts, email and calendar items - with an online repository.
This now seems to have materialised in the shape of a site called My Phone, which states that the service is "coming soon". Information on the site claims that users will be able to synchronise up to 200MB of data, including photos, on the My Phone site. It also suggests that Microsoft will not initially charge for the service.
By default, My Phone will automatically synchronise information between the phone and the web account once a day between 11pm and 5am, so long as the phone is on and has an internet connection, according to Microsoft.
If the user's phone is lost or stolen, or they upgrade to a new phone, the contacts, calendar and other data can easily be synchronised to a new handset.
While Microsoft has yet to officially confirm the mobile app store plans, analysts are already suggesting that this is an inevitable move if the company wants Windows Mobile to compete with rivals such as the iPhone and Android-based handsets.
"Microsoft's online mobile application store is pretty much a 'me too' option trailing behind Apple. This is the sort of thing you need to have to succeed in the mobile platform space but, as the mathematicians say, it's a necessary but not sufficient condition for success," said Nick Jones of Gartner.
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