Microsoft’s Windows 8 companion app for Windows Phone gets a first look

WP Central

WP Central

By now it’s old news that the Zune Desktop as we know it will be phased out—in fact we’ve seen features already removed over the last few months.  What was to replace it though was always a bit of a mystery though there are only so many options available.

Now an image has leaked out of what appears to be the ‘companion app’ for Windows Phone and Windows 8—think of it as Zune Desktop the next generation. There's really not too much to the image though we suppose it is better than nothing.

While that app has had major redesign with even more Metro, the functionality is essentially the same as it will allow you to sync photos, documents, music, and video  from your phone, seamlessly. We’ve also heard that things like contacts on your phone will sync to Windows 8 too and vice-versa though that has yet to be detailed.

The app is expected to launch of course when Windows 8 devices go on sale in late October.

Source: the Verge


Reader comments

Microsoft’s Windows 8 companion app for Windows Phone gets a first look


It is. I wonder if this will give us any control over WHAT we want WHERE in regard to SkyDrive. That is #1 in my want list

Already running it on my traditional laptop (Dell Vostro V131), and it really is neat. For those who prefer the non-Metro experience it is ENTIRELY possible to never use the Start Screen except at logon (and only for a brief second to click Desktop)... for touch-devices, though, the Metro is a remarkable interface as we all know from Windows Phone. It will be a new Paradigm for traditional users, but just like every release of Windows this is the best way to expose people to it and get them to adopt it more fully. But forget that it's being pushed on people... we all appreciate here how functional it can be when app developers use it right, and I think we're really starting to see that happen, especially now that Microsoft has opened up lots of things like SkyDrive to third parties.

1. what version are you running and 2. would you reccommend to wait a while after it comes out or does it seem very stable and compatible already enough to become your main os?

I use it too and its very stable - not a single issue and Im very heavy user with about 20-25 apps installed. First thing I installed was classic shell which brings the start menu back and auto loads you to the desktop instead of the metro screen. Don't get me wrong, I like the metro screen it just doesn't suit my work priorities.

I am using the RTM version at work on a 4 monitor computer. I spend 98% of my time in what would be considered the traditional desktop. It's like windows 7, just faster and with a colorful start menu that is actually more functional once you get used to it. I really only have had two issues with it. My ATI video driver occasionally crashes, causing a temporary blanking of the screen. It doesn't crash the is or apps. The second problem is with IE10. Some sites just don't like it and I have to switch to Firefox.

I am also running the release preview on a tablet -works great- and my home desktop.

Overall, the OS is very solid, the question is if the hardware you are running has good drivers. So far across 4 devices I have been able to find drivers for everything. The only driver I have had issues with is the ATI video card. I can say that under Windows 7 also. The ATI installer is the only thing that has caused a blue screen on a W7 device in years.

I just installed the RTM on my laptop and I love it. So far I haven't had any real issues. It is faster and smoother than Windows 7 which I loved. I will for sure be buying a hybrid tablet now. 2 in one device, plus the windows phone. Microsoft has certainly won me over the last couple of years. 

Thank god. I was worried we would have to use those god awful windows 8 modern music and photos apps to sync and organize. I was ready to backup an .exe file of the Zune Desktop for functionality.

Far from awful if you always want the marketplace front and center, hate album art on your now playing screen and like to drill down for each music category. None of those things describe me though.

Regardless, they are awful in comparison to Zune. I know they will get better but how much so and when. The app in this article seems to be a better solution

The release versions are MUCH better now, and if Microsoft updates them once in a while, they'll prove more useful. But let's be realistic... they're for presentation, not for function.

Not that much better, they still seem beta in lacking functionality. Also, you need to install Zune desktop application or you can't listen to your downloaded music, seems the Music App is missing the DRM bits.

Nope, that's not correct.  The Music App will play your DRM content.  What it will *NOT* do is add them to it's library.  You can browse the marketplace, and play content there.  You can also download from the marketplace, but will store them in the root folder of your Music library, not the Subscriptions folder like the Zune Client would.  It's a bug that has been reported, but I haven't seen fixed, even in the RTM build of Windows 8.

Zune had awesome presentation and function and was already styled for Metro. It will -really- irritate me if it gets killed.

I have the very same question as well.  I'm seriously hoping Microsoft (and the ex-Zune team) will have the ability to sync with not just Windows Phone 8, but Windows Phone 7 Tango and whatever the codename for 7.8 is.  I would hate to have both the Zune and the new Windows Phone Companion App at the same time.

Another article said that as soon as you plug in your phone it recognizes whether it is a wp7 or wp8 device and then installs the appropriate utility. The wp7 version will be unique.

Not only that, the question is whether we can plug our WP7.x, backup and then restore on our brand new WP8.x ... I want to be able to move my setting on the phone upgrade, without having to:
-. re-link all my contact
-. have to re-play all my games
-. loose my SMS
-. setup all my apps that require settings and account logins...

+1000. However, I have this unshakeable fear that such will not happen. Providing users the ability to effortlessly move everything from one phone to another without losing stuff like SMS still seems unMicrosoft, still seems to me like only something that an Apple would do. I really fear that I will try to move my content from WP7.5 to WP8 and get verification then that only Apple get how important polish and completeness of feature set  is to the consumer. I would absolutely love it if the reasonable list of things you asked for are in the new OS, but at the same time I won't be the least bit surprised if Microsoft continues to not take great lessons from Apple and leave such features out. I would mot be surprised... but sorely disappointed.

Woohoo. Change is good. Love it! I'm really loving everything Microsoft is going lately.

If it's anything like the music and video apps then yes, it is. It will also be the first thing you see every time you open the app, because apparently everyone is more interested in the store than they are in their own content. Grumble grumble.

Why? The W8 apps pale in comparison to the Zune desktop, which already conforms to "metro" guidelines anyway. I don't see why I should be happy with inferior replacements.
Also, the grumble at the end makes it obvious that while I am complaining, I'm doing it more out of annoyance than genuine hate.

The question is what do XP/Vista/7 users use? Will there be a desktop version released or will Zune get updated (and either rebranded to XBM or debranded entirely on the process)

I cant help ignore the tempation to ignore this desktop companion app. If Microsoft is this clear on how they treat customers totheir services it would certanly be a bad bargain. Zune desktop in my opinion has been poor at at best for European customers. I would argue that in many ways the Windows mobile sync was a far better service. In my opinion Microsoft still has to prove its quality and support on this matter.
Im curious to know if Microsoft will provide service support for at least 10 tests. Lees than 5 os nu eorth the investment in the long run.

I disagree. I have been using Zune from year one (yes I purchased one of those bricks...) and the Zune software on the PC has always been better than competing products. It has always sync stuff properly and worked great with the Zune pass and multiple devices. Now I have multiple lists to keep music and videos/photos in sync yo the devices I want.
I just hope they do as they claim: use their Zune experience to make it even better with their new XBox approach...

This looks neat and one more reason while the desktop is about to disappear. However, I don't understand how it would sync contacts if those are synced with your Hotmail, sorry, Outlook, sorry, Microsoft account anyway

With all the leaks thats i've been seeing and whats coming in WP8, Its obvious MS is going all out with 8 (phone & pc/tab).  I keep thinking "Who woke up the sleeping GIANT?"

Wish it can access in app storage like how iTunes does (transfer documents. Useful for eBook apps as they do not require cloud storage or downloading anymore