In the eyes of many, including myself, Windows Phone is well overdue an update, and it’s in line to get one pretty soon if Microsoft is to be believed. And it just got a lot more credence given the recent launch of a new site called ‘My Windows Phone’, which aims to collect the bulk of the data stored on your Windows Phone device in one easy-to-use web interface.
Windows Phone, from the very beginning, incorporated functionality not unlike iCloud, that automatically backed up any photos snapped on the device to the SkyDrive attached to the Windows Live account you used to setup the phone. This has made its way into ‘My Windows Phone’, and your most recent photos are displayed in a grid at the top right, and if clicked take you direct to that photo as well as your others on the typical SkyDrive page.
To the left of that, you have your phone info, including the name of your phone, your number and the model of your device. Just below that sits a map, or rather a link to a map, which pinpoints the last recorded location of your phone. Of course in theory this is dependent on you giving your permission to track your location, though as we seem to be finding more and more these days, that doesn’t matter a whole lot to companies such as Microsoft.
This ties in with the next feature I want to tell you about, which is the ‘Find My Phone’ tab at the top of the page, sitting amongst the typically pretty Metro UI. You can set this up easily by telling it your phone number, although clearly it already knows it from the device info section I touched on earlier. Nonetheless, once it is setup you can ring, lock or erase your device remotely, as well as track it as it monitors the device’s location via GPS.
Incidentally, games can also now be bought from this web interface, through the web marketplace that’s been introduced to US customers only at the moment, but surely on a more global scale eventually, with this update. It’s not only games either, apps are there too, though listed in $ rather than £ for obvious reasons, the majority of the apps are globally available so UK and international Windows phone owners can browse the marketplace from the comfort of a desktop or laptop machine, rather than on a 3 or 4 inch device with a touchscreen.
Each app in the marketplace is accompanied by ratings from users, as well as the same short reviews you’ll find on the phone marketplace.
Overall it’s a neat little site that is well presented and displays a lot of very useful and relevant information regarding your phone and what’s stored on it. It’s very much like Microsoft’s answer to iCloud, though don’t be fooled – a lot of the features were around long before Apple came along with that undoubtedly magical product.