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February 6, 2009 3:48 PM

Microsoft confirms new phone service: "MyPhone" to offer free cloud sync

Posted by Brier Dudley

After inadvertently posting details of its new MyPhone service online, Microsoft went ahead and confirmed that it will unveil the service at the upcoming Mobile World Congress wireless show starting Feb. 16.

It looks pretty interesting -- and like Windows Mobile finally has an answer to the groovy cloud services offered by Nokia, Apple and Google.

MyPhone is a cloud service that syncs information such as contacts, appointments, tasks, text messages, photos and video between a mobile phone and a personal, protected Web site.

The site can be used to back up and restore mobile phone data, move it to a different phone and access the data from a PC. MyPhone also works as a portal where people can access and manage information on their phone and share it with others, the company said.

It's a free service with 200 megabytes of storage. Microsoft will presumably charge for additional storage, and carriers may charge users for data transfers.

Competitors include Apple's MobileMe, Nokia's Ovi service -- which was partly developed in Seattle -- and the GrandCentral service that Google acquired but hasn't pushed heavily.

Microsoft's going to release an invitation-only beta version. It will work only with phones running Windows Mobile 6 software to start. There was no word on whether an iPhone version is in the works.

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Gadgets and games | Fun stuff I've written about lately includes Apple's iPhone, Hewlett-Packard's HDX laptop and Microsoft's Halo3. Also on the radar are new digital video boxes such as the Tivo HD and the Vudu.