As mobile phones become ever smarter, more and more of us are using our devices as mini computers. But how easy do you find it to share data from your Windows machine with your mobile? Not very, I reckon.
Until now, only Windows Mobile users have really had any kind of standardized platform for transferring files and synchronizing contacts between a PC and a handheld device: using Microsoft ActiveSync. Not any more though, because Microsoft Phone Data Manger enables data sharing between Windows and a wide variety of different phones and PDAs.
Microsoft Phone Data Manger is specifically designed to transfer contacts, photos, music and video from your device to your PC, and to synchronize your phone's contacts with your Windows Live contacts. This is great for users of the service, as it ensures you have access to your phone book when you don't have it to hand, and means that your contacts are kept safe in the vent of you losing your mobile. Of course, this is only good if you use Windows Live, because Microsoft Phone Data Manager doesn't support GMail, Yahoo! or any other webmail provider.
The key to Microsoft Phone Data Manager lies in its simplicity. The application detects any device connected, provided it supports the SyncML standard - check the Microsoft website to see if your device does. You'll need to connect via Bluetooth or USB cable in order to perform syncs. Syncing in Phone Data Manager is a real breeze. You simply double-click on the device you wish to hook up to, then choose whether you want to sync your contacts or back up your files. Enter your Windows Live (or Hotmail) ID and the program will automatically share your contacts between your phone and the email service.
Microsoft Phone Data Manager is still in beta, so it isn't perfect. There are a few interface glitches, such as the screwy Live ID entry screen, and the fact that there aren't any advanced features like a proper file explorer.
On the whole, however, Microsoft Phone Data Manager provides a fast and reliable way of syncing contacts and backing up files.