Well it’s not MWC time yet, and the security exception we encountered on the way to the site suggests it’s not quite ready for prime time, but Microsoft’s SkyBox site has gone live in a very early state. Now branded “My Phone”, the service provides syncing a la MobileMe to ensure that important data is always backed up. Unlike MobileMe, My Phone looks to be a mobile-only service and only affords 200 MB of remote storage. While that might be enough for mobiles it probably wouldn’t last 10 seconds on a PC. This begs the question… Why? Why isn’t Microsoft offering the whole enchilada? Maybe we’ll see a complete sync service offered under a different name but Windows Mobile users hoping SkyBox would be Microsoft’s answer to complete sync / backup competitors are apparently going to be disappointed. The installation and sign up pages are dead for the time being but there’s plenty of info to be had from the Find out more page. Other negative items of note: My Phone will not back up contacts, calendar or tasks if you use Exchange (consider that a confirmation of SkyLine), data on an external card cannot be backed up, documents outside of the My Documents folder won’t be backed up and you must have Windows Mobile 6+ to use the service. On the positive side, it’s free! Hit the jump for the full text from the more info page in case Microsoft pulls the site.
- Back up phone information to a password-protected web site Microsoft My Phone syncs information on your mobile phone to a storage space on a web site hosted by Microsoft. If your phone is lost or stolen, or if you upgrade to a new phone, you can easily restore the contacts, calendar appointments, photos, and other information that you stored on My Phone to a compatible new or replacement phone. Most phones that run the Windows Mobile 6 operating system are compatible with My Phone service.
- Access and update your contacts and appointments on the web Microsoft My Phone enables you to view and manage phone information by using a web browser. In your web account, you can add, edit, and delete contacts and calendar appointments, and the changes will appear on your phone the next time that you sync.
- Share photos with friends and family Microsoft My Phone makes it easy to view photos on your computer that were taken with your camera phone. From your web account, you can save photos to your computer or can e-mail them to family and friends.
- How much does the Microsoft My Phone service cost? Microsoft does not charge a fee for the My Phone service at this time. But the data plan you have with your mobile operator may require you to pay data-transfer charges when you use the service. If you are unsure of your plan coverage, please contact your mobile operator.
- How do I create a Microsoft My Phone account? You can download the Microsoft My Phone application by browsing to http://www.getskybox.com/install on your mobile phone. When you browse to this site from select countries, you will be asked for your phone number to receive a text message which will contain the link for downloading the application. The first time that you run the Microsoft My Phone application on your phone after downloading it, you will be asked to sign in using your Windows Live™ ID (or sign up for a Windows Live ID if you do not already have one).
- What information can I back up on Microsoft My Phone? The first time that you run the My Phone application on your mobile phone, you will be asked to accept or change the recommended settings. Recommended settings will synchronize contacts, calendar appointments, tasks, photos, videos, text messages, music, and documents between your phone and your My Phone web account. However:
- 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.
- If you have Windows Live installed on your phone, it will synchronize your Windows Live contacts with the Windows Live web site, and My Phone will synchronize your other contacts to your account on the My Phone web site.
- If you have an external memory card and selected My Phone’s recommended settings, information on the external memory card will not be synchronized.
- If you store contacts on the SIM card provided by your mobile operator, My Phone will not synchronize these contacts.
- If you have any documents stored outside the My Documents folder on your phone, My Phone will not synchronize these documents.
- How much data can I back up? Your Microsoft My Phone account gives you 200 MB of free storage on the Microsoft My Phone web site. If a synchronization would result in exceeding this limit, you will receive an error message on your phone and your account on the My Phone web site will only include information received prior to reaching this limit. Any files in excess of this limit will not be saved.
- Does Microsoft My Phone back up my phone information automatically? If you accept the recommended settings, Microsoft My Phone will automatically synchronize information between your mobile phone and your Microsoft My Phone web account once per day between 11:00 P.M. and 5:00 A.M., except when your phone cannot connect to your default data network – for example, when your phone is turned off, out of range, or roaming. You can also back up your data manually at any time by selecting Sync in the Microsoft My Phone application on your phone.
- Will Microsoft My Phone work on my mobile phone? 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. To check which version of Windows Mobile your phone is using, click Start > Settings > About on your phone.
- What if I’ve already lost my mobile phone? If you lost your mobile phone before you began using the Microsoft My Phone service (for instance, if you installed the software but did not perform a sync operation), you cannot use Microsoft My Phone to restore the information that you lost. But if you used My Phone on your old mobile phone, download and install Microsoft My Phone on your new mobile phone (as described in How do I create a Microsoft My Phone account?) and sign in to the Microsoft My Phone application on your phone using the same Windows Live ID that you previously used. Then, by synchronizing manually or waiting for the next automatic synchronization, all information that you backed up to your Microsoft My Phone web account will be restored to the new phone.
[Via Engadget Mobile]