Consumers are struggling to find an easy way to get files like photographs out of their phones to share with friends and family. Microsoft Corp's upcoming MyPhone service seems to solve the mobile industry's eternal challenge: how to make a wireless service easy to use. It may not have as much storage or as many features as the equivalent from Nokia but an early version of the service is easier to use.
Sales of cameraphones have already passed those of digital cameras, and last year alone some 700 million cameraphones were sold. But sharing the pictures requires cables (or shaky wireless connections), time and nerves.
Microsoft's MyPhone is the solution at least for users of Windows phones. It is a simple back-up service, still in limited testing, that uploads pictures and any other data from a phone to a Microsoft data center via the Internet.
Here's Microsoft MyPhone versus Nokia's Ovi.
Users can then log on to myphone.microsoft.com and tweak or download the pictures and data. Usage is as simple as it gets: the service works on its own, quietly downloading files when the phone is not in use.
To someone who has used Nokia's comparable "Share on Ovi" service since it was launched in early 2008 for storing and sharing photos, MyPhone is shocking at first: it offers total storage of just 200 megabytes. That's enough for only a few rolls of pictures with a good quality camera.
A Microsoft official plays this down, saying 200 megabytes should be enough for most users, and if demand shows more is needed, the company is flexible.
Nokia's Share has more features than MyPhone, like links to other services and sharing options. It has no data limits apart from one that stops people downloading single files larger than 100 megabytes, big enough for a decent video recording.
But flashier outlook comes at a price. It is much more difficult to use, and it takes time.