Microsoft My Phone


Today at Mobile World Congress Microsoft announced a new free service called My Phone. The service is available as part of a limited beta, meaning it’s possible you might get temporarily waitlisted, but the queue should progress quickly as things ramp up. Now, some of you might have heard rumors about it last week and already have questions, while others might just be curious what My Phone is all about. I took some time to talk with the team responsible for the product and hopefully this post will answer your questions and give you an idea what to expect from the service.


So, what is Microsoft My Phone? Well, basically it consists of a password-protected web site and an on-device application, which together will help you back-up, restore, and manage your mobile phone data. If you’ve ever wanted to save your text messages, hated re-entering all your contact information when you bought a new phone, or wished you could easily archive some of your pictures, then I think you’re about to be happy.


From the main site, getting started is as simple as entering your Windows Live ID. After you’re signed in to the web site, you’ll need to download the application to your Windows Mobile phone. You can either navigate to an installation link using your phone’s browser or you can have a link text messaged to your phone.


MyPhoneLogin


Once the application is installed on your phone, setting things up is pretty easy. You’ll need to enter your Windows Live ID and select your synchronization method, but after that the application does pretty much everything for you. By default, My Phone synchronizes contacts, calendar appointments, tasks, photos, videos, text messages, music, and documents that are stored on the device. If you want to synchronize items from a storage card you’ll need to change your My Phone settings, but it is possible. For more specifics on what can and can not be synchronized, see the My Phone information page.


AppStartScreenLoginScreenSynchronizationScreenConfigSuccessful 


When setup is complete, your phone will begin to synchronize with the online website. You don’t have to watch, but it’s kind of interesting and doesn’t really take that long if you want to stick it out. As you can see below, my first synchronization was successful and, among other things, backed up 144 text messages. Let’s go see what that looks like online.


SynchronizingScreen OptionsScreen


After logging into the My Phone site, you’ll see a pretty clean interface. The My Phone service provides users with 200 MB of storage. As you can see below, synchronized data is broken up into relevant categories on the left hand side of the screen. For now, let’s take a look at my Text Messages as an example of how your data would be accessible.


MyPhoneHomeScreen


Clicking on the Text Messages category, you’ll be presented with your most recent text messages. The rest can be seen by using the page drop down menu, in this case I’m on page 1 of 10. Taking a look at the screen you’ll notice a couple of things. When you click on a specific text message, you’ll see on the right side of the screen that you have the ability to delete it or archive it to the web. The little device icon on each row, indicates that all of my text messages are currently synchronized. If they were archived, you’d see a little box with an arrow. Archived means that the text message is removed from the phone and stored on the web. Anything that is archived can later be restored to the phone. You’ll also notice that you have the ability to search your text messages and filter them by type (sent/received/draft).


MyPhoneTextMessages


Switching over to videos, you’ll notice that the interface is similar, but not quite the same. Unlike text messages, for videos you’ll have the additional ability to upload to the web site for synchronization and download from the web site to your computer for local viewing. Documents, music, and photos all essentially work the same way.


 


MyPhoneVideos


The calendar, like contacts and tasks, presents a third interface that is slightly different from the others. For these categories, in addition to the functionality you’d expect, you have the added ability to create new records. These new contacts, appointments, and tasks can then be synchronized to the device.


MyPhoneCalendar


I know that was a quick overview of what the My Phone service offers, but hopefully it helped some. If you have questions please feel free to post them as comments and we’ll try to get you an answer. You can also get more information at the My Phone team blog and the My Phone forum.

Comments (34)

  1. JohnCz says:

    My comment is regarding Windows Mobile 6.5.  The "honeycomb" menu is far more attractive than I thought after seeing some newly published images.  Its so unique, the Windows Mobile team might want to approach Windows Client team about including "honeycomb" in Windows 7 in some form (before it RTMs).  That would do alot to draw some recognizable parallels between the desktop and mobile experience.  One possible usage in Windows 7 is to have a new honeycomb view of desktop icons.

  2. SportsUnit says:

    Question of the Day:  Does My Phone work with Windows Live Calendar.  I mean, who wants to keep two seperate calendars, one that can sync to your phone and one that doesn’t?

  3. Nitin says:

    this application seems to be very nice and useful. it provides all the facilities required while synchronising a mobile to PC. i waiting for its release to download and use it.

    another great service by Microsoft.

  4. Max says:

    Is My Phone implemented using the Mesh platform? BTW, when will the Live Mesh Mobile be fully released?

  5. Ripper says:

    Thats a nice walk thru for beginners.. thanks! But my only regret being why did Microsoft take so long to release a service like this.. but better late than never :).

    And one thing that boggles me about WM6.5 is why is there no support for a capacitive touchscreen!! Is there a real good reason to leave it out.. I think it should be left to the OEM’s to decide.

    Anyways, I am a windows mobile developer and as I say it.. I hope WM7 kicks @$$

    Ad astra per aspera,

    Ripper

  6. emiliano says:

    is good but now we have too many services!!! (Live Mesh,Skydrive,Live Sync,My Phone and windows live for mobile)

    we need reduce these and have full integration with live services!!! wasn’t better improve windows live for mobile functions adding calendar and tasks sync…and backup sms and files with skydrive!!!

    u need help to semplify our life not confuse!!!

  7. Hussein EROL says:

    Live in your Life! 🙂

    Very Usefull Service…

  8. emiliano says:

    yes usefull but it can be much better with very few little improvements

  9. Joshuapa says:

    Thanks for all your questions and comments. I’m going to try to condense a few answers here, so please speak up if there’s something more you’d like addressed.

    My Phone was not implemented using the Mesh platform. Instead it was based off of technology that came out of the Mobicomp aquistion that took place in July of last year. The main goal of this release of the My Phone service was to back up key phone data and make it available on the web. While there’s nothing to announce at this time, the My Phone team is definitely aware that greater integration with other Microsoft services would be desirable and is exploring those scenarios. That said, please continue to be vocal about what you want to see. If there are features that would improve the My Phone sevice for you then this blog, the My Phone team blog, and the My Phone forum are great places to voice your opinions.

    Joshua

  10. Stefan says:

    I can only agree with Emiliano…MS, please converge, consolidate all service into one platform. I am using Mesh Mobile for now and, though, it does not sync calendar, contacts there is no incentive to also use my Phone since I can backup data on my mobile phone using Mesh. We need the Holy Grale, i.e., sync data, e-mail, calendar, contacts between Exchange and Windows Live. A big task but the golden pot. Cheers

  11. Daryl says:

    I totally agree. It should inegrate with Live Mail, calendar and etc.

  12. William C Bonner says:

    I currently sync my windows mobile 6.1 phone with my work exchange server.

    Is it possible to sync the phone with multiple locations, or would I have to switch the server that I’m using?

    Wim.

  13. Wouter says:

    I like the service and the idea and hope that you will integrate it with the other live services, because at the moment I don’t see the point in having another calendar or another storage location for my contacts. I would also be nice to add a PC client so we could sync the photo’s and videos with our PC. But then again, it is becoming more and more like Live Mesh. So why not combine them?

  14. toho says:

    integration is needed.

    All the MS things on mobile have 2 sets,

    live and outlook.

    why cant the service from same corp comunicate?

    i need to use live contact as messenger contact is combine with them, and i need to use outlook calender, task, note as the activesync only work with outlook.

    i am needed to open both live mail and outlook to work,

    it’s trouble!

  15. Rich says:

    My contacts from my phone are not syncing to myphone online.  All other items like texts, files, etc are syncing.

  16. MSDNArchive says:

    Rich, according to the My Phone site:

    If you have an active connection with Microsoft Exchange server (which is frequently used for corporate e-mail), My Phone will not synchronize your contacts, calendar appointments, or tasks.

    http://tinyurl.com/ahwqkp

  17. Andrew Lee says:

    hi… i am using windows mobile 5 OS. is the micosoft myphone supports my phone?

  18. MSDNArchive says:

    Andrew, according to the My Phone site:

    Currently, Microsoft My Phone works only on phones that run the Windows Mobile 6+ operating system. This includes phones from many different manufacturers and mobile operators.

    http://tinyurl.com/ahwqkp

  19. Will says:

    It seems that myphone, in addition to not linking to ‘windows live calendar’ does not support recurring appointments, and the calendar fields are different from those of office/outlook so anything created on the web app is different

  20. Tsurany says:

    My Phone sounds usefull but… it just isn’t. I need to backup data because the exchange server functions are worthless. Once I remove a connection with outlook or with my Gmail exchange server all my contacts and calendar appointments are wiped because ‘they are connected to the exchange server en therefore must be removed without asking you, the user, if you would like to keep them because they originally came from your phone’.

    So yes, I can back it up with My Phone to prevent data loss due to another feature of Windows Mobile… no wait I can’t. I can’t backup if there is an exchange connection. Why not?

    I really hope WM6.5 will handle this alot better because I regret buying my WM6.1 phone alot.

  21. Alexandre Cabral says:

    What I really want is full sync with windows live. I want to sync my calendar and tasks with windows live, not another place to have a separated calendar backed up.

  22. Greg says:

    I really wish the text messages integrated into my Windows Live Mail as a folder called "Text Messages"

    I’d also really like to be able to either access my pictures from Windows Live Mail, or be able to email a picture from the My Phone website.

    This is the start of a great service though.

  23. Camille says:

    This service is more than welcome. I was thinking of an addition to the service: why ‘only’ synchronize data; why not synchronize your phone settings aswell? At least for the OS / default apps that is; 3rd party apps won’t be do-able.

    Setting up your phone the way you want it can take some time. And if for what reason you loose all your settings, you can do them again.

    Just a thought; let me know.

  24. Bill says:

    Yes, My Phone needs to sync with Windows Calender and also update other calender functions, i.e. Notes, reminders, etc.  It needs to back up all calender items from phone.

  25. Matthew says:

    Let me say that I like the My Phone service. However, a great service My Phone could learn from is Dropbox. Here is how it could work: If I took a picture, My Phone would upload it to the cloud, then the cloud would automatically upload it to my home pc. Once I got home I would have the picture waiting for me on my pc, in say My DocumentsMy Phone. And the process could work the other way around as well.

    Thanks for the service and work that goes on behind the scenes!

  26. Conflipper says:

    Huge flaw I found, Hard Reset on the road, use My Phone to get contacts and calendar back, and everything is GREAT. Get home the next day, plug phone into computer, and it syncs everything up, and I now have all my contacts duplicated, my entire calendar duplicated, task and everything.

    Is there not some way for the program to leave a signature someplace telling the computer that this is the latest data. or hooking up Myphone integration into Outlook, so it will know to look there first. or something. This would really be nice and save a lot of time in the future.

    Also maybe add something when you first sycn that will identify the phone, drop down with different manufautres and devices, so you will know what number is with what phone. Some people have more then just 2 phones, and swapping ESN around or SIM card around to different devices with the same number, it can be a challenge at times to remember what is with that. So adding something like that, and it would display the phone icon on the site itself, it would be very helpful. I know myself, I currently have 8 devices, and I am actively using 6 of them, where I just call and ask for an ESN change on account and its done, so I get lost at times, and I am sure I am not along on this.

    Just a few ideas for the team to think about i guess. otherwise it is great tool, but duplicates of everything is annoying.

  27. ire says:

    Should sync with Windows Live Calendar, Windows Live Contacts, SMS should be backed up to Windows Live Mail, files should be synced to SkyDrive.

  28. Swapnil says:

    I have been using Myphone until recent times. However, apparently since this went live with Public beta, it no longer works for me and I am getting the following error all the time..

    The Windows Live Network is unavailable from this site for one of the following reasons:

       * This site may be experiencing a problem

       * The site may not be a member of the Windows Live Network

    You can:

       * You can sign in or sign up at other sites on the Windows Live Network, or try again later at this site.

    Could anyone help me?

  29. walter chapin says:

    I to am unable to access the site from my PC. Guess they went public and weren’t quite ready…….makes you wonder about the viability of the concept and system!

  30. Peter says:

    i am requesting that myphone be synchronized automatically with live.com.

    perhaps the user could specify which services should sync.  eg: maybe the calendar should sync, and the contacts, but not necessarily all the emails or photos.  a different user might just want to sync the photos.

    if this sync sync with live.com could be possible, the a mobile phone user could look up contacts and calendar without being connected to the internet at that moment.  sometimes you are in a place where you cannot connect to the internet immediately eg: certain buildings, or the subway.

    it would be outstanding if you could have your online space on live.com with your social stuff, and contacts and calendar, and be able to be synced and uptodate all the time, and have access to the same space from a pc or your phone.

  31. Peter says:

    i am requesting that myphone be synchronized automatically with live.com.

    perhaps the user could specify which services should sync.  eg: maybe the calendar should sync, and the contacts, but not necessarily all the emails or photos.  a different user might just want to sync the photos.

    if this sync sync with live.com could be possible, the a mobile phone user could look up contacts and calendar without being connected to the internet at that moment.  sometimes you are in a place where you cannot connect to the internet immediately eg: certain buildings, or the subway.

    it would be outstanding if you could have your online space on live.com with your social stuff, and contacts and calendar, and be able to be synced and uptodate all the time, and have access to the same space from a pc or your phone.

  32. Bill says:

    A feature to select text messages before a certain date to archive would be a great additional feature.  I have about 390 pages of text messages and selecting them one by one on pages with 15 messages per page is not a task that I am going to even attempt.  I am going to a new phone and dont really want that many text messages synced back to my phone.

  33. BE CAREFUL says:

    MY PHONE WILL NOT LET YOU CONNECT AGAIN IF YOU DO A HARD RESET ON THE PHONE AND THEN DELETE THE PHONE FROM YOUR MY PHONE SETTINGS (UNDER "CONNECTED PHONES"), WHEN YOU TRY TO ADD IT BACK AGAIN.

    YOU WILL GET THE MESSAGE:

    "UNABLE TO CONNECT TO THE MY PHONE SERVICE."

    …AND YOU WILL BE SCREWED. YOU WILL HAVE TO MANUALLY COPY ALL YOUR CONTACTS FROM YOUR MY PHONE ACCOUNT AND PASTE THEM INTO ACTIVE SYNCH AND THEN SYNCH TO YOUR PHONE.

    MY PHONE IS IN BETA AND IT SUCKS. IT DOES NOT SYNCH WHEN IT IS SUPPOSED TO. YOU SHOULD READ THE DISCLAIMER IF YOU WANT TO TRY. MAKE SURE YOU BACK UP WITH ACTIVESYNC (WHICH KINDA DEFEATS THE PURPOSE A BIT IN USING MY PHONE.)

    I WAS SCREWED BECAUSE I HADN’T BACKED UP TO ACTIVESYNC IN A WHILE AND I HAD HOURS OF WORK COPYING MANUALLY MY CONTACTS.

    BE WARNED!~! MICROSOFT DOES NOT PROVIDE USER SUPPORT FOR MY PHONE. YOU WILL BE JACKED IF IT HOSES YOUR CONTACTS OR YOU LOSE TOUCH WITH THE SERVER.

    ALL THEY WOULD NEED TO DO IS RESET YOUR ACCOUNT BUT THEY WILL NOT DO IT. YOU ARE STUCK.

    LEARN FROM OTHERS MISTAKES IN TRUSTING MY PHONE! IT SUCKS!

  34. Tony says:

    I had to get a warranty replacement phone.  I restored it with the MyPhone service and everything was great.

    Then I synchronized to Outlook.  All of my contacts and appointments duplicated.  Some dates on birthdays and anniversaries shifted forward a day.  The date was shifted in the calendar AND in the contact’s corresponding date data field.

    Outlook needs to have a plug-in which will sync with MyPhone.  This would eliminate the need to sync with the PC.  Both the PC and phone could sync to MyPhone.