Earlier this week I was invited to a showcase event in London, where Microsoft had all their consumers products that will be on the market at Christmas. I was most excited about playing with Kinect but had the chance to discuss Windows Phone 7, the new features in Windows 7, Office 2010, Windows Live and got a hands-on with Fable III.
For the past few weeks I have been very intrigued (My Microsoft Life article) as to how Windows Phone 7 syncs files to the cloud, and in particular SkyDrive, so I jumped at the chance to be able to ask an attendee at the event if Windows Live Sync will feature on Windows Phone 7 at launch. The answer is no. The reasoning for this does make sense. Microsoft has found, from Live Mesh and the previous version of Windows Live Sync, that most people want the entire contents of a folder to be synced across all their devices. Therefore, when bringing a mobile device into the network there are immediate problems with storage on the phone and issues with network bandwidth for the devices.
I followed this up with another question; will each file type be uploaded by a separate mechanism? Yes. Rather than having a single synchronisation feature on Windows Phone 7, there will be separate methods of uploading and downloading files. For example, with photos, only small version of photos are downloaded from Facebook, Flickr, Windows Live Photos, etc, rather than the original version. I believe that a smaller version is uploaded to the cloud; however, if someone does want the full size they can sync it manually. With Office documents you might have noticed in videos that sometimes they will need to be downloaded, the only information on the phone is the title of the document and the type.
These methods for syncing will help keep the data consumption of Windows Phone 7 devices low whilst not compromising the functionality of the phones.
Continuing on with questioning I was able to find out that Microsoft haven’t ruled out Windows Live Sync on Windows Phone 7, but that it won’t feature on the mobile OS to begin with as they want to, in an Apple like way, get the implementation right before adding it as a feature. There didn’t seem to be any hints of how soon Windows Live Sync might feature on Windows Phone 7 or indeed that the feature was much of a priority for Microsoft.
It is reassuring that Microsoft is paying such close attention to features on Windows Phone 7 but I know there will be some people who are disappointed that Windows Live Sync wont feature on the mobile OS. It’s also interesting to note that Microsoft hasn’t decided not to feature Sync on Windows Phone 7 in the future.