Microsoft to debut mobile sync service

My Phone beta will allow users to back up text messages, photos, contacts and other data online

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By  Vineetha Menon Published  February 8, 2009

Microsoft is taking an ambitious stride with its new My Phone mobile backup and synchronisation beta service.

An invite-only beta will be announced at the 2009 GSMA World Mobile Congress, which begins on February 16th in Barcelona, Spain. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is slated to give a keynote speech on the 17th, which is when many expect more details of the service to be revealed.

According to the My Phone website, users will be able to back up contacts, appointments and tasks, together with text messages, photographs and other information to a password-protected account online.

Data will be backed up to remote servers automatically once daily, though users can request a backup at any time.

Other sync features include sharing photos with friends and the ability to transfer stored data to another mobile handset if required.

It’s already seen as a possible competitor for Apple’s MobileMe, which debuted last year at a cost of $99 per year. In comparison, Microsoft has stated that it will “not charge a fee for the My Phone service at this time”.

Another marked difference is that while MobileMe offers a generous 20 GB in storage space, Microsoft is making only 200 MB available for each account. Once that limit is reached, the website will not backup any further data.

The My Phone service will be limited to phones that only run the Windows Mobile 6 operating system and devices that have an active connection with Microsoft Exchange server (frequently used for corporate e-mail) won’t be able to sync contacts, appointments or tasks.

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