After a not too long wait, I’ve gained entry to the Microsoft MyPhone beta and am just getting started now.
The initial setup process was nice and easy. I just visited 1 site on my phone, downloaded a small 58kish .cab file and installed that on my mobile device. A couple of “I agree”s later and it’s installed-ready for the initial sync. Here it gives you a choice of what you would like to sync-such as calendar, contacts, music, photos, texts etc (corporate users with push mail won’t get calendar & contacts) and while your initial reaction might be “all of it”; you have to remember it’s got a 200MB storage limit. While that is pretty limiting, I imagine once the service is out of beta we will see a dramatic increase in available storage a la SkyDrive (25GB). However for now I chose to sync just texts, documents and photos-hopefully that will be less than 200MB :-)
I have to say that this initial sync is taking it’s time-particularly the photos; I’ve been at it for about 30 minutes and am currently on 48% (Update-completed in 75 minutes). I know that the first big backup is always the slowest but I think I started this too late for it to be taking over 1 hour! Luckily it’s happy to sync over Wi-Fi…
Once the sync has been completed, all the data can be accessed via your MyPhone homepage:
One cool thing you can do with your contacts is “Archive to Web” so you can delete them from your phone but still retain a record of the numbers just in case. This is really handy for me as I’ve got a lot of random (might need them one day” numbers clogging up my contacts list. Only issue is you can only select one contact to be archived at a time (despite appearances)-would be could to do a mass archive…but hey-it’s still a beta :-)
With Contacts, photos, text messages etc you can also delete them from the MyPhone site and this will delete them from your phone too at the next sync. Once thing that has just caught me out and is quite annoying is that just selecting the tick box of an object doesn’t change focus to it, you have to click on the actual image. Because of this, I’ve just deleted the wrong picture! For instance, in the below example:
hitting “delete” will get rid of Vanessa Ferlito, rather than the artwork on the right. Maybe it’s just me who feels this way but I think the tick box should be the deciding factor when it comes to selections. Also, this means you can’t perform the same action to multiple items (as with archiving above).
I was hoping to use MyPhone to improve my management of text messages as, let’s be honest, it isn’t a great experience doing on the device, but the inability to select multiple items makes it even more of a chore!
To sum up, I think MyPhone is a great new service and one that will continue to get better-such as using SkyDrive to store things, giving us 25GB storage and me a place to backup the music and videos on my phone too. It’s only a beta so there’s plenty of time for things like the storage, the basic appearance of the website, it’s integration into other services and the inability to select multiple items (this is a real sticking point for me!) to be fixed :-)
I’m glad that MS have delivered this service, both form a user/consumer point of view but also looking at it as a partner and a fan of Microsoft, as it signals that they’re starting to take the mobile arena more seriously than perhaps ever before.