MIX10: The Many Ways to Synchronize Windows Phone 7 Series
We had quite the revealing conversation with Todd Brix–Senior Director, Product Management Mobile Communications Business at Microsoft–who told us that there will be quite a few ways to synchronize data to and from your Windows Phone 7 Series. Brix told us that contacts, calendars, and emails will be handled by some client or methodology on the device and can synchronize with the cloud; music, movies, apps, and games will be handled through a desktop client; and there is still an unannounced way to handle Office Mobile files.
Microsoft will allow users to wirelessly synchronize their contacts (through the People hub on the phone) and calendar events with popular online services like Yahoo!, Hotmail, and Google’s Gmail to name a few. Additionally, corporate users and consumers with an Exchange account can also handle contact and calendar synchronization that way. Windows Phone 7 Series also has a built-in Facebook synchronization engine that will pull in people’s linked Facebook photos for those more visually inclined.
As to music, movies, apps, and games, Brix informed us that Windows Phone 7 Series will abandon the traditional Active Sync (on Windows XP and prior) and Device Manager desktop clients. Instead, Windows Phone 7 Series will utilize the Zune “Dorado” PC client to synchronize multimedia files and applications that way. This method is similar to how iTunes handles apps and multimedia files. When asked about Mac support for Windows Phone 7 Series, Brix told us that Mac support is not coming–at least at this time–but that the company will continue to evaluate different strategies and opportunities.
Though Brix didn’t mention wireless synchronization, apparently that will be a feature of Windows Phone 7 Series as well. According to the company’s re-tweet on its official Twitter account, “Windows Phone will wirelessly sync your photos, music and videos via wi-fi when you plug the phone in to charge at night.” This is very much in alignment with the company’s philosophy for an easy to use UI and a great user experience. As with hubs auto-updating information in the background so that users can have information ready to go, WiFi synchronization with “Dorado” will enable the same seamless experience for Windows Phone 7’s multimedia content.
And lastly, we did ask about how users will handle Office files, and the company says it is working on something, which Brix did not elaborate on except to inform us that it will be much different than how users handle files today.