sync

When Windows Phone 8 launched we lost the ability to use Zune as our desktop syncing solution. A move that angered a lot of users. The replacement apps on Windows 8 and the desktop weren’t a step backwards, they were a stumble. Slowly but surely, Microsoft has been improving that app. After 3 beta releases, the desktop app has finally hit RTM according to Microsoft. Let’s see what all the hubbub is about.

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We aren't sure as to the "when" but the Windows Phone app/tool for Windows 8 was recently updated. The update adds the ability to transfer playlists and ringtones to your Windows Phone 8 device and watch videos you've taken with your Windows Phone.

Ringtone files must be .m4r format any non-DRM protected music file that the phone can play, no larger than 30MB and can not be protected with digital rights management. When you transfer the ringtones to your Windows Phone 8 device, they will appear in your Settings under Ringtones and Sounds as any other tone would be.

If you haven't installed the Windows Phone app to your Windows 8 computer or tablet, it's a free app that you can find here in the Windows Store.

Thanks, Andy, for the tip!

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Looks like Microsoft isn’t quite done for the today as they’ve just thrown the switch for the Windows Phone app for Desktop app (Preview 3). The app is used by folks on Windows 7 or Windows 8 (non-Surface) for managing media, including music, videos, playlists, ringtones and photos.

While a far cry from our beloved Zune Desktop client, Windows Phone app for Desktop at least makes it a bit easier to manage things on your device. We’re still not fans of the UI (or lack thereof) and although we can’t see our Xbox Videos, we suppose that’s a good thing since they still can’t sync over.

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Even though Google Sync is nearing its end on Windows Phone due to the company dropping Microsoft’s Exchange ActiveSync, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to give up hope with using their services. With no extension of the deadline in sight, Windows Phone users need an alternative and now we have one.

Rudy Huyn, one of the top developers on Windows Phone (Fuse, TVShow, Wikipedia, 9Gag and more) has just released a free, brand new app called GContacts that will keep your contact’s name, phone number and email up-to-date on your Windows Phone. Users can manually sync the app to check for any new changes to bring down to their phones, whenever they want.

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The Windows Phone 8 app for Windows 8 has received a small update today. Moving the version markers from 1.1.2303 to 1.1.2410.

Unfortunately, there is no change log that we can find at the moment and this appears to maybe just be a performance and bug crushing fix. If you’ve had any issues along the lines of performance or bugs let us know if this update fixes anything.

Another unfortunate piece of news is the lack of features. The Windows Phone 8 app still pales in comparison as a syncing solution for Windows Phone 8 compared to the old day of Zune. You still can’t add Xbox Videos to your device as an example.

Are you seeing anything we’re not? Let us know below.

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The new Windows Phone 8 sync client has been received with mixed reviews. On the one hand, people like the new modern UI look and exceptionally minimalist feature set. But perhaps it was a bit too barren?

Luckily the Windows Phone 8 sync client (for Windows 8) has been updated today to version 1.1.2303 and indeed the syncing ability for music and media has been refined. You can see in our before and after shots that your music is now place into what look like Tile/Folders as opposed to just “slots”. Right click on the folder will give you the ability to add the UI common “check” allowing you to sync that whole folder. If we had to guess, we’d say Microsoft purposefully made it much more “touch friendly” for you Surface and touchscreen users.

Head past the break for some comparison shots...

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Microsoft has published the Windows Phone synchronisation tool to the Windows 8 Store. This app enables consumers to plug in their Windows Phone 8 handsets and add / remove media to and from the device.

Music, video and photos can be imported from the connected Windows Phone to the windows 8 machine (and vice versa). One can find quick links to Windows Phone content (including apps and games), as well as quick-glance information representing how much storage is currently being used.

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By now it’s old news that the Zune Desktop as we know it will be phased out—in fact we’ve seen features already removed over the last few months.  What was to replace it though was always a bit of a mystery though there are only so many options available.

Now an image has leaked out of what appears to be the ‘companion app’ for Windows Phone and Windows 8—think of it as Zune Desktop the next generation. There's really not too much to the image though we suppose it is better than nothing.

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Reading news and articles on the go is a huge benefit to having a Windows Phone. These days there are a bewildering array of website specific apps, RSS readers, read it later clients and even tailored magazine apps to help sift through and read it all.

When mobile, being able to quickly check and access posts, articles and features from all your favourite websites can be tricky. One of the popular ways to pull all this content into one stream is by using the Google Reader service. NewsSpot is a slick Google Reader client for our Windows Phone that is due to receive an update towards the end of September that will bring some nice new features to the app. We had a chance to check out the latest beta of this popular client.

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Looks like Windows Phone’s big brother Windows 8 has coughed up some interesting details on allowing games to be paused, resumed across various platforms. The Xbox Live games, Minesweeper, Solitaire and Mahjong all seem to indicate we’ll finally experience the dream of picking up one device and resuming play on with another.

Early on in Windows Phones lifecycle, we saw a demo of the continuous client principle with the arcade shooter The Harvest, but so far, this kind of interaction has all but eluded us. Whilst these games are essentially turn-based, this could be the start of great interactive experiences coming to Windows Phone.

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BaconSync is a really neat feature coming to the Windows Phone app Baconit . The feature is still in beta form and should be released to the masses shortly.  For those not familiar with Baconit, it is a Reddit.com app for your phone which we have been impressed with and BaconSync looks to make it even more impressive. 

BaconSync is a in-browser extension for Baconit that synchronizes read links across multiple phones and browser. It is currently only compatible with Chrome browsers. The extension not only lets you review what you've read from your Windows Phone on your PC but you can send web pages from your PC to your Windows Phone. In these situations you'll receive a toast notification on your Windows Phone that will send you straight to the web page.

BaconSync is an handy extension that will extend the capabilities of Baconit rather nicely. The BaconSync extension should be ready shortly and in the meantime, if you haven't tried Baconit, you can find the free version here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.  There is also a donation version that you can find here for $1.99 to help support the developers efforts.

                    

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We've mentioned Bazaar before--it's the first serious attempt at a homebrew Marketplace for Windows Phone, a place where developers can centralize and easily distribute their work for end users, allowing people to keep up on updates and learn about new apps. That's important as browsing our forums, XDA or just watching our front page, while helpful, can cause you to miss things.

Previously though, Bazaar was restricted to custom ROMs as an addon app for Windows Phone. While extremely useful and impressive, this limited its influence. Today though that all changes with the release of the Bazaar Desktop client.

If you have a developer or Chevron unlocked phone, you'll definitely want this. The app is quite impressive allowing you to browse, as far as we can tell, all the homebrew apps that are out there. You have concise app descriptions including if it will work on your device (lots are restricted to Gen 1 devices, for instance) and screenshots to see what the app looks like.

Perhaps more importantly though is the ability to download and install directly to your phone, making the whole process extremely easy. The app simply piggybacks off of Zune Desktop and if you have your device paired with that app, it will "see" this one. That latter part is very useful as it even shows you already installed homebrew/sideloaded apps, making management a breeze (most of us are still limited to just 10 homebrew/sideloaded apps). 

Other worthy mentions include Featured, Browse, and Favorites making it a snap to find an app (although even we admit that the homebrew scene is a bit anemic).

Bazaar for Windows Desktop is free, well designed and just works. For that we're giving it a big recommendation and a thumbs up to the hard work of the dev team who are certainly worthy of a donation. Get more information and screenshots at their distribution page: http://118.139.161.234/bazaar/BazaarForPC.aspx

Source: Bazaar for PC; via Plaffo

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Oh this is not something we want to post as this is just bad, bad bad. Evidently, on September 13th Microsoft is reducing the number of devices upon which you can sync with the Zune music service from 6 (3 computers and 3 devices) to just 4 (at least 1 computer and any combo of 3 PCs and devices). You'll also need to download at least one new song to each device to continue using the service.

We're none to pleased with these changes but have a feeling it has something to do with licensing from the music companies, reduction in costs to those licenses and perhaps trying to reduce "sharing" of Zune passes. Regadless, that's just lame. Users are reportedly being sent emails with the following information and you don't have a choice to the change outside of cancelling your subscription.

Update: LiveSide is reporting (via EnConnected) that this is only for Europe and not the US, where as of now, we will still be able to sync to 6 devices. This should ease over tensions between our Euro and US readers /sarcasm.

Thanks, Lee T., for the images and info!; see also My Microsoft Life

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Opera Link for WP7 - App Spotlight

Looking for a way to import your Opera desktop browser favorites to your Windows Phone? Look no further, Opera Link for WP7 is an app that will pull your Opera desktop favorites on to your Windows Phone for Internet Explorer to use. Opera Link won't import the bookmarks into IE but acts as a middle man of sorts.  From Opera Link, just tap on the link and IE launches.

The process is quick and painless to set up. From the Tools Menu on the Opera desktop browser, you set up an Opera Link account (Tools>Synchronize Opera>My Opera Link Page). You'll use this account information when you load the Opera Link for WP7 on your Windows Phone.  The app will then sync your Opera bookmarks, notes and speed dials.

Should you be using a mobile device that runs Opera Mobile or Mini, the Opera Link will keep all your devices in sync as well. Opera Link for WP7 is a free application and you can find it here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

via: devicemag

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While we don't know just how many Mac users out there have a Windows Phone, for those brave enough (we salute you) there is some good news as Microsoft has published an update to the Connector app. To refresh, Connector allows Mac users to sync certain amounts of information and media to Windows Phone 7. While not a full Zune client, it's a step in the right direction for many who don't want to be tethered to Apple's ecosystem.

The latest version (0.6 beta) released on December 16th addresses some ongoing issues:

  • Fixes playback for the AAC files synced from iTunes that wouldn't play
  • Reverse sync MP3s bought from the WP7 phone
  • Properly sync from remote iTunes installs
  • Transfers bookmarks, ratings, release dates that were previously left out

Probably one of the biggest additions is the ability to support firmware updates via Connector, something which we believe all Windows Phone users will need in two months time. Finally, to round it out:

Direct device browsing has been given much more control and lets owners not only manually import individual items from the phone but delete them or preview them.

Other media forms also get improvements. Connector now better handles iPhoto '11 libraries and will organize iPhoto collections by event first and by album only if necessary. The video preparation process has been improved, Microsoft said. Remaining changes bring early support for updating a phone's firmware, faster overall syncing, a new device setup experience and a more graceful handling of when the phone needs to be unlocked with a PIN code.

Sounds like quite the update and not just some minor bug fixes. You can grab the new version right here.

Source: Electronista

 

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We gave a brief review of CloudFiles, the first Dropbox client for Windows Mobile, a few days ago. Bottom line: we're impressed, very impressed.

As we mentioned, we expected it to "1.0" any day now and sure enough, that day is upon us. The app is priced less than $10, which is fair. In fact it is normally priced at $6.99 but till at least May 25th, you can grab it for 20% off at $5.49.

Too much? Too little? All depends on how much you rely on Dropbox. For some, it's a requisite and that $5.49 is well worth the cost. They accept (thankfully) PayPal and you can grab it right here.

[via 1800pocketpc]

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Confession: we here at WMExperts, unfortunately, know jack about Linux, their distros (sounds like a fun party) nor how to really do anything in the OS.

Still, we imagine there are a handful of you who want (but can't) sync your trusty WM6.5 device with your favorite Linux OS. TrueFalse? We dunno.

Luckily Linux pro 'Feedsbrain' (ahem) has written a nice tutorial on how to just that.

Now to us, his directions are written in an alien language, but for your linux-experts out there, we're pretty sure this will make sense.

Now go read and let us know if this was remotely helpful!

"Synchronize Windows Mobile 6.5 and Linux Box"

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Review: Evernote for Windows Mobile

Every once in a while, you come across a killer app (or service) that you cannot believe that you’ve lived without for so long. I’m sure many of you have been using Evernote for some time, and will find this review a day late and a dollar short; if so please head straight to the comments. For those who haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing what Evernote has to offer, keep reading.

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Visiting Microsoft at CES

 

Unsurprisingly, there wasn't much at Microsoft's CES booth that we hadn't seen before. The HTC HD2 and yesterday's official announcement that it will be available "this spring" on T-Mobile was on the tip of everyone's tongues. But other than that, there were no new Windows phones announced.

We did take a spin with Ford Sync, which is Microsoft's system that will pair just about any device -- Bluetooth or otherwise -- with a new Ford or Mercury vehicle. Voice commands are the key to the whole thing, so you keep your hands on the wheel.

The Zune guys were more than happy to hear that we're hoping to see Zune software integrated into Windows Mobile in the next year or so. But we could get neither them nor the Windows phone folks to spill the beans as to what might or might not be coming in Windows Mobile 7.

Awkward moment of the morning: Our pal Rene Ritchie from The iPhone Blog hits up the Bing team to ask about the Bing iPhone app. And they'd never heard of it.

Photos of the exploits after the break.

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Let's talk the Cloud a little more, shall we?

To recap: A large number of Sidekick users learned that their data — e-mail, contacts, calendar, etc. — had gone up in smoke, on the server side. The Sidekick ecosystem once was run by Danger, which is now owned by Microsoft, which has taken responsibility for the outage and/or data loss. T-Mobile's sending $100 "customer appreciate cards" for the trouble, if you permanently lost data.

Microsoft now says "we have recovered most, if not all, customer data." (Read Microsoft's full statement from T-Mobile's forums [via Giz] after the break.)

So, let's ask the obvious: This has been a high-profile outage and data loss. And as often is case after an event such as this, we'll see alot of "Is the Cloud safe?" headlines. Oh, and lawsuits. Our take? The Cloud is a service, and an important one. But reliability and redundancy go hand-in-hand. Any service that puts all its eggs in one basket is just asking for trouble. And we're not even getting into the reported trouble surrounding Project Pink, and more recent claims that the Sidekick snafu was sabotage. Unsubstantiated at best, though certainly not out of the realm of possibility.

For most services — Gmail, Exchange, whatever — it's pretty simple to export your contacts and the like and back them up elsewhere. jkOnTheRun offers a few tips on backing up your Gmail e-mails themselves. Have other tips? Let us know in the comments.  

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