Windows Phone 7 will not feature Windows Live Sync at launch

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.

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This isn't really new news. We already know that WP7 will feature Windows Phone Live which will give you access to the 25GB of Skydrive storage, and that the next version of Windows Live Sync will synchronize up 2GB to the cloud. However, this storage is not part of Skydrive. This has been known for some time already, so I don't see why make a big deal of it now.

Call me when Windows Live Sync uses your real Skydrive storage. That's when the real magic between Windows Phone, Windows 7, and Windows Live will occur.

People are really complaining about features not being in the release, when these features don't even exist on the other smartphones?

Really?

This is kind of insane on its own merits, but if you compare the phone to everything else out there, they also shipped with far less features than they now how.

Droid/Android - most of the 'best' features of the device were not in the shipping version, including everything from the nicer search features to navigation and even freaking bluetooth voice command dialing.

iPhone - again most of the 'best' features of the device were not in the original or even the initial release of the newer phones. The original iPhone couldn't do Stereo Bluetooth, couldn't do voice dialing, and couldn't even send a freaking SMS message.

Sure Microsoft is 'late' to the game, but the Win7Phone is a solid platform that has more development potential than either Android or iPhone devices. With Silverlight alone, a graphic designer can take Blend and create very rich applications without any programming knowledge. (This is what made Win3.x so freaking successful, the ease of development.)

You also have other things like a more advanced input model with implied pressure sensitivity, DX9 gaming, XBox Live title gaming being easily ported to the phone (1,200 XNA applicaitons and counting). Etc...

Even the ZuneHD shipped with a fraction of the device features, from an older slower browser in the initial release to the lack of support for codecs that are now the most extensive on a portable media player.

Give MS a break, seriously. Especially when you are complaining about missing features in the release product, that WILL be added or features that don't even exist in the other phone devices like the iPhone or Android.

When I read comments here I wonder if people that criticize know what Live Sync is. Live Sync is a resident app that synchronizes folders on one or more computers with SkyDrive so the files in this folder will be kept updated whenver one of the copies is updated. People throw stuff in this sync folder, I have for instance a Visio diagram of the floorplan of my house. It doesn't make sense to have this synced with my phone and charging me on the data plan whever I make a small change in the file and it needs to be updated. I rather have a link to it and download it if I need it, if at all. That's it. But the phone will sync everything that is really useful, such as contacts, emails, pics, and music only when in Wifi in the home network. This is smart bandwidth management. Maybe in the future, they expand Live Sync to be selective of which files ina whole folder we really would like to have fully synced with the phone, and when to sync. Otherwise, it doesn't make much sense.

Charles Keledjian said,
Live Sync is a resident app that synchronizes folders on one or more computers with SkyDrive so the files in this folder will be kept updated whenver one of the copies is updated.

It doesn't just sync with SkyDrive, it syncs to other folders on other computers as well.

iWonder if you have to hold it a certain way to get reception like some other phones that are out there that are "market leaders".

This is embarrassing. The whole point of the Live services is that you can use them from any computer you own as well as your mobile device. I realize Dropbox will probably get their act together and have an app ready soon after launch, but this would've been day and date with the phone and worked seamlessly with its Office functionalities.

Where are the visionaries in Redmond these days?

Admodieus said,
This is embarrassing. The whole point of the Live services is that you can use them from any computer you own as well as your mobile device. I realize Dropbox will probably get their act together and have an app ready soon after launch, but this would've been day and date with the phone and worked seamlessly with its Office functionalities.

Where are the visionaries in Redmond these days?


Psst. There's a browser in there. You can access stuff like this with it.

It's a big secret apparently

Microsoft has always been able to get away with half-baked products or delay on the windows, but this is not the case on mobile front where they are not the leading company.

---

Maysky said,
Microsoft has always been able to get away with half-baked products or delay on the windows, but this is not the case on mobile front where they are not the leading company.

---


And exactly how is this half- baked? Live Sync work with SkyDrive, but since the phone integrate directly with SkyDrive, Live Sync is not needed.

lordcanti86 said,
Can't you just access Skydrive via the browser anyway?

Yes, you can. I think this is the right decision. As they pointed out, most people sync whole folders full of files (multi-GBs of files for me). You don't want all that synced to your phone.

A possible solution for the future is to do something like what they're doing for Office documents and only sync the file name, date, size, and (if it's an image) a thumbnail. Then if the user selects the item go download it from SkyDrive directly...

JonathanMarston said,

Yes, you can. I think this is the right decision. As they pointed out, most people sync whole folders full of files (multi-GBs of files for me). You don't want all that synced to your phone.

A possible solution for the future is to do something like what they're doing for Office documents and only sync the file name, date, size, and (if it's an image) a thumbnail. Then if the user selects the item go download it from SkyDrive directly...


Actually I'd like to see Skydrive integrated with the Office hub (why they haven't done this God only knows)

lordcanti86 said,

Actually I'd like to see Skydrive integrated with the Office hub (why they haven't done this God only knows)

Yeah, doesn't make sense why you can't at least sync Office with Skydrive...is it that different from Sharepoint?

JonathanMarston said,

Yeah, doesn't make sense why you can't at least sync Office with Skydrive...is it that different from Sharepoint?

There are some Office components that sync with Live Sync in the Windows Live 4 beta.

With over 1000 developers, and a suspected $1b of R&D and investment, I think they are very sensible to get a small set of great features working perfectly. Then for version 1.5 or 2, get more freedom for devs and features like Multi-Tasking and Copy & Paste.

martinDTanderson said,
With over 1000 developers, and a suspected $1b of R&D and investment, I think they are very sensible to get a small set of great features working perfectly. Then for version 1.5 or 2, get more freedom for devs and features like Multi-Tasking and Copy & Paste.

Well I could live with that, but how sure can you be that the phone you bought in December will get an update that is launched in July? How long is the support for such a phone? Currently, the manufacturer decides whether you get the update or not.

intodevel said,

Well I could live with that, but how sure can you be that the phone you bought in December will get an update that is launched in July? How long is the support for such a phone? Currently, the manufacturer decides whether you get the update or not.

All the phones loaded with Windows Phone 7 get updates directly from Microsoft not manufacturer.

I wonder if in the end we will end up with the Kin phone after all?! (feature-like) I've only (overstated a little) seen news articles that report Microsoft leaving things out of the Windows Phone 7. Together with the news that most countries won't be able to use the marketplace from the start, I am starting to wonder if Microsoft just wants the device to fail. Don't get me wrong, I am still a fan of Microsoft products, but I am (as a developer) worried about the future. And if marketplace won't be able to make it to countries outside the US (for instance the Netherlands), then I assume Zune won't too. So what we're left with is a device with one single feature: a phone

(It is ment to be ironic guys, I am just disappointed about the news I am reading)

intodevel said,
And if marketplace won't be able to make it to countries outside the US (for instance the Netherlands), then I assume Zune won't too.

It will make it to 17 countries at initial launch, and surely many more afterward. However, you are correct about the Netherlands.

intodevel said,
I wonder if in the end we will end up with the Kin phone after all?! (feature-like) I've only (overstated a little) seen news articles that report Microsoft leaving things out of the Windows Phone 7. Together with the news that most countries won't be able to use the marketplace from the start, I am starting to wonder if Microsoft just wants the device to fail. Don't get me wrong, I am still a fan of Microsoft products, but I am (as a developer) worried about the future. And if marketplace won't be able to make it to countries outside the US (for instance the Netherlands), then I assume Zune won't too. So what we're left with is a device with one single feature: a phone

(It is ment to be ironic guys, I am just disappointed about the news I am reading)


You have been reading too much of Galen Gruman's FUD. He is a former MacWorld writer.

thealexweb said,
Microsoft seriously just delay it by another six months and add this and the crucial missing features.

Oh god no.

thealexweb said,
Microsoft seriously just delay it by another six months and add this and the crucial missing features.

How is this a crucial feature? You'll have access to Skydrive through the browser (which from there you'll be able to access your full Skydrive not just 2-5GB of it) on WP7. This is a much bigger blow to WinMobile 6.X more than anything else (the version of IE in 6.X can't access the higher-end Live services)

lordcanti86 said,

How is this a crucial feature? You'll have access to Skydrive through the browser (which from there you'll be able to access your full Skydrive not just 2-5GB of it) on WP7. This is a much bigger blow to WinMobile 6.X more than anything else (the version of IE in 6.X can't access the higher-end Live services)

I didn't say it was a crucial feature, I said "Microsoft seriously just delay it by another six months and add this and the crucial missing features" Crucial missing features and Cut, copy and paste, multitasking, install apps from anywhere, etc.

thealexweb said,
Microsoft seriously just delay it by another six months and add this and the crucial missing features.

There is no way that this is a "crucial" feature. its a phone FFS.

thealexweb said,

I didn't say it was a crucial feature, I said "Microsoft seriously just delay it by another six months and add this and the crucial missing features" Crucial missing features and Cut, copy and paste, multitasking, install apps from anywhere, etc.


I will agree on c/p, however WP7 multitasks as well as iOS4 does and no one outside the techie/power user community gives a damn about side loading apps.

thealexweb said,

Crucial missing features and Cut, copy and paste, multitasking, install apps from anywhere, etc.
I get the feeling though that MS doesn't see some of these as being crucial, rather they are design decisions that were made long ago and wouldn't be changed even if they had six months more to develop the OS. In particular multitasking they seem to be in the same ship Apple is regarding that and installing apps from anywhere to me seems like something they want to move away from in favor of having a centralized store.

thealexweb said,

I didn't say it was a crucial feature, I said "Microsoft seriously just delay it by another six months and add this and the crucial missing features" Crucial missing features and Cut, copy and paste, multitasking, install apps from anywhere, etc.

I have downloaded and tried the unlocked emulator of Windows Phone 7 and played with it for hours. Copy and paste is almost rendered obsolete with data handlers and 'multitasking' is not missing at all. The phone multitasks. But instead of keeping running in the background applications that do nothing by running in the background, these apps are suspended, their state is save and you can get back to them in their exact state as you left them, without wasting memory or cpu or battery. It is how multitasking should be. As for other apps that need to do something in the background, such as music playing, it multitasks as usual and its commands are easily accessible in the notification bar by pressing the volume buttons (F9 and 10 in emulator). As for other apps that may have to run in the background and actually do something, all I can think of is messenger apps, and those will use push notifications same as outlook email, which is as good as almost real time, with no app polling every second and using battery and cpu. As for copy and paste, I compared this simple test in WP7 and android: search for a movie in your area, select a theater, then look up restaurants in the area (or bars, etc), then call a friend and send the address of the restaurant. It is not possible to do this in Android without copy and paste. In Windows Phone 7, you can do all this straight forward with no copy or paste. Just select movie, select theater, click on the link automatically generated for the theater address and it takes you to the maps app, click on theater location and select nearby for restaurants, select restaurant, you can then send to friend right there with the touch of an icon. No copy and paste. I'm sure they will put it in anyways because competitors are using this as an argument without mentioning that the new data handler feature makes it almost obsolete, but as I said, it is almost not required and I prefer MS keeps working in more data handlers that link me to the appropriate app, instead of having me copy, open app and paste in the app. Try the emulator and see.

Smigit said,
I get the feeling though that MS doesn't see some of these as being crucial, rather they are design decisions that were made long ago and wouldn't be changed even if they had six months more to develop the OS. In particular multitasking they seem to be in the same ship Apple is regarding that and installing apps from anywhere to me seems like something they want to move away from in favor of having a centralized store.

Then what about HTML5 support and native code app support.

thealexweb said,

Then what about HTML5 support and native code app support.


HTML5, well, that's because Microsoft couldn't manage to do it. Native code on the other hand is an intentional design choice. Sucks if you want to port something or need high performance, but it's an intentional choice. As for missing a database and (non-HTTP) networking, well, I'm leaning towards the first being because they couldn't manage to get anything working, and the second because they simply don't want people to use anything that isn't web-based. If you want an example of something that could use all three of this, a streaming audio application is one.

thealexweb said,

Then what about HTML5 support and native code app support.


HTML5 support will be coming when IE9's rendering engine is done and can be ported to mobile IE. While I'm not sure if/when native app environment is coming, socket support (for stuff like Skype and Fring) is coming. So will actual c/p for that matter.

hdood said,

HTML5, well, that's because Microsoft couldn't manage to do it. Native code on the other hand is an intentional design choice. Sucks if you want to port something or need high performance, but it's an intentional choice. As for missing a database and (non-HTTP) networking, well, I'm leaning towards the first being because they couldn't manage to get anything working, and the second because they simply don't want people to use anything that isn't web-based. If you want an example of something that could use all three of this, a streaming audio application is one.

I think the lack of c/p is a technological problem. WP7 runs a hybrid of Silverlight 3 and 4 while true copy/paste wasn't available in Silverlight until SL4. As far as the managed code environment, I don't know the technical details exactly but from what I've heard the necessary runtime environments for high-performance apps start up and run in the background when the OS itself boots up, so app performance shouldn't be much of an issue (as opposed to most managed code scenarios where these runtime environments don't start until the app that needs it starts up).

Edited by lordcanti86, Jul 17 2010, 6:42pm :

lordcanti86 said,

I think the lack of c/p is a technological problem.
No.

lordcanti86 said,
As far as the managed code environment, I don't know the technical details exactly but from what I've heard the necessary runtime environments for high-performance apps start up and run in the background when the OS itself boots up, so app performance shouldn't be much of an issue (as opposed to most managed code scenarios where these runtime environments don't start until the app that needs it starts up).
The time it takes to load the virtual machine and JIT your code is not the issue. The code running in the virtual machine is almost always slower than native code, in some scenarios a lot slower. It does not have access to any low-level APIs either (such as AP features that can be used to accelerate calculations and processing.) Microsoft simply doesn't want native code running, that's all. There are arguments both for and against it.

So you think they should have included every random feature that someone might come up with just because you know that failure to do so will be used against them? I've never used SkyDrive or Windows Live Sync and have no intention of using these services. As such, it doesn't bother me in the least that Microsoft are taking their time to implement these features and I'm sure I'm not alone.

Deviate_X said,
I thought WP7 would sync with the My Phone service not skydrive (windows live sync) ....

Windows Phone Live is the new MyPhone. It syncs with SkyDrive.
This already syncs our stuff, so I'm not sure why we would want Live Sync when we don't have a traditional directory structure.

Deviate_X said,
I thought WP7 would sync with the My Phone service not skydrive (windows live sync) ....

http://myphone.microsoft.com/

To Be Honest Microsoft is all over the map with their services and Windows Phone 7. They keep swapping names and features and commitments so frequently I have no clue what will work with what or be supported in Windwows Phone 7... And as a developer I keep up with it regularly...

They REALLY need to get this thing together FAST! As if I'm getting confused by these mixed messages I'm sure the consumers will...

They also need to start synergizing... You have this Live Mesh syncing My Phone then SkyDrive and adding to that Windows Live Sync... I mean seriously?

They don't have the luxury of stamping an apple on the device, so they should get their act together and be very careful about leaving things out and releasing something half-done. If they have so much faith in the platform, they should spend some more money on it.

hdood said,
They don't have the luxury of stamping an apple on the device, so they should get their act together and be very careful about leaving things out and releasing something half-done. If they have so much faith in the platform, they should spend some more money on it.

Isn't that what they're doing by leaving Sync out for now? It won't work the best way if you just bolt it on as it is right now with phones for the reasons they bring up, which make perfect sense.

GP007 said,

Isn't that what they're doing by leaving Sync out for now? It won't work the best way if you just bolt it on as it is right now with phones for the reasons they bring up, which make perfect sense.


I was talking about the device as a whole when I said half-done, not individual features. That said, omitting features is not much better than leaving them in half done. There's no reason why they shouldn't be able to have this stuff ready for launch, as well as stuff like cut and paste or a database. It just shows poor planning and a lack of resources.

hdood said,

I was talking about the device as a whole when I said half-done, not individual features. That said, omitting features is not much better than leaving them in half done. There's no reason why they shouldn't be able to have this stuff ready for launch, as well as stuff like cut and paste or a database. It just shows poor planning and a lack of resources.

There's a working 3rd party DB out there iirc, and there are ways for apps to work without one from what I remember as well. I also think you need to stop getting hungup on cut & paste, it's coming in a update, it's been said time and again, it won't be a 3 year out thing.

GP007 said,
There's a working 3rd party DB out there iirc
Are you seriously excusing the fact that the OS doesn't include something as fundamental as database support with "who cares, people can just implement their own from scratch in C# and include that with their app." Well yeah. You could do the same with the UI framework. The OS doesn't really need anything other than a raw graphics API. I mean, you can do all that yourself. It doesn't really need any audio or video decoding built in either, you could just write it yourself in C#. Hell man, they could just ship a kernel and a compiler and you could write everything else yourself.


Don't be silly. Apple ships one, Google ships one, RIM ships one, everyone does, because it's basic functionality. Not Microsoft though. It's got the same old "do it yourself" attitude as always.

GP007 said,
and there are ways for apps to work without one from what I remember as well.
Yes. It's called storing your data somewhere that isn't a database. Plain/XML files, over the web (what Microsoft wants), and so on. That's a lame solution.

GP007 said,
I also think you need to stop getting hungup on cut & paste
I personally don't care, it was just yet another example of simple and basic functionality that it's missing for no reason.

GP007 said,
it's coming in a update, it's been said time and again, it won't be a 3 year out thing.
I've yet to see any official timeline of when Microsoft intends to add features that should be there from the start, only vague claims (not based on any fact) from random people on forums. It's unbelievable that you actually consider it acceptable to ship a half-assed product in such an insanely competitive market and try to make excuses for a corporation. Why don't you want them to do it right for once?

hdood said,
They don't have the luxury of stamping an apple on the device, so they should get their act together and be very careful about leaving things out and releasing something half-done. If they have so much faith in the platform, they should spend some more money on it.

I would rather have a phone that feature only half of the feature set at launch, but run smoothly than a feature complete, but buggy one.

hdood said,

I was talking about the device as a whole when I said half-done, not individual features. That said, omitting features is not much better than leaving them in half done.
TBH I think it's substantially better. If its not there at all then the consumer doesn't have to deal with an implementation that MS themselves know is half baked. Given most win mobile 7 users won't even be on blogs reading up on this sort of thing then what they don't know won't hurt them. What will hurt them is if MS forces a UI on them prematurely which doesn't function as needed or is buggy because they wanted to squeeze a partially done implementation into the product just so they could have an extra dot point on a feature list.

That and people won't have to relearn anything when MS finishes the feature and the user experience potentially changes in the process.

You argued by my reading that its best to have the OS out as complete as possible. Surely that applies to individual features too. The OS will still function fine without this over the air sync so I dont think its really worth holding back the release for.

hdood said,

There's no reason why they shouldn't be able to have this stuff ready for launch

wow you must have years of experience in project management. cause everything planned makes it to final product EVERY TIME!

hdood said,
Are you seriously excusing the fact that the OS doesn't include something as fundamental as database support with "who cares, people can just implement their own from scratch in C# and include that with their app." Well yeah. You could do the same with the UI framework. The OS doesn't really need anything other than a raw graphics API. I mean, you can do all that yourself. It doesn't really need any audio or video decoding built in either, you could just write it yourself in C#. Hell man, they could just ship a kernel and a compiler and you could write everything else yourself.


Don't be silly. Apple ships one, Google ships one, RIM ships one, everyone does, because it's basic functionality. Not Microsoft though. It's got the same old "do it yourself" attitude as always.

Yes. It's called storing your data somewhere that isn't a database. Plain/XML files, over the web (what Microsoft wants), and so on. That's a lame solution.

I personally don't care, it was just yet another example of simple and basic functionality that it's missing for no reason.

I've yet to see any official timeline of when Microsoft intends to add features that should be there from the start, only vague claims (not based on any fact) from random people on forums. It's unbelievable that you actually consider it acceptable to ship a half-assed product in such an insanely competitive market and try to make excuses for a corporation. Why don't you want them to do it right for once?


http://winphone7db.codeplex.com/

There's your database, you only have to download it, not make it from scratch.

day2die said,

I would rather have a phone that feature only half of the feature set at launch, but run smoothly than a feature complete, but buggy one.

I would rather have a phone that is feature complete AND bug free

Omen1393 said,

There's your database, you only have to download it, not make it from scratch.

Really? You want to compare that to a SQL implementation (that is available on all competing devices)? Did you even look at it?

Not that it matters, because you're completely missing the point. Someone did write that (and the few others that are also out there)from scratch in C#, and that's the point. Why the hell should someone have to do that with, and why should individual applications have to bundle something that should be part of the core OS (and is on all competing ones)?

It's absurd to defend this.

chago12 said,

wow you must have years of experience in project management. cause everything planned makes it to final product EVERY TIME!

It can. Not if you're Microsoft though, because they're very bad at planning and very bad at management, and appear to have learned little from past mistakes.

hdood said,

It can. Not if you're Microsoft though, because they're very bad at planning and very bad at management, and appear to have learned little from past mistakes.

I must get the iPhone 4 then, because it's made by Apple, a company that does well planning and management. Oh wait...

For once would you not be biased! Just because it's not made by Apple doesn't mean it suck.

day2die said,

I must get the iPhone 4 then, because it's made by Apple, a company that does well planning and management. Oh wait...
Just because others have screwed up doesn't mean Microsoft has to. Microsoft doesn't have a strong brand like Apple, so it's important to get it right the first time.

day2die said,
For once would you not be biased! Just because it's not made by Apple doesn't mean it suck.
Uh? I don't own any Apple products.