Fight Google. Take your friends back with GContacts for Windows Phone 8.

Even though Google Sync is nearing its end on Windows Phone due to the company dropping Microsoft’s Exchange ActiveSync, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to give up hope with using their services. With no extension of the deadline in sight, Windows Phone users need an alternative and now we have one.

Rudy Huyn, one of the top developers on Windows Phone (Fuse, TVShow, Wikipedia, 9Gag and more) has just released a free, brand new app called GContacts that will keep your contact’s name, phone number and email up-to-date on your Windows Phone. Users can manually sync the app to check for any new changes to bring down to their phones, whenever they want.

Google drops Exchange ActiveSync. What does it mean for Windows Phone? [Updated]

Starting February 1st 2013, Windows Phone users won't be able to create full Gmail accounts on Windows Phone. Does Microsoft have a plan?

This afternoon Google has announced the discontinuation of their support of Exchange ActiveSync (EAS aka the standard for many who use email) after January 30th 2013. The question you may be wondering is, how does it affect Windows Phone?

Skype and the constant syncing problem on Windows Phone 8

Ever since Windows Phone 8 came out people have rightly wanted Skype. And so they got it, albeit a preview edition which in our vernacular reads ‘beta’ and beta it is.

Previously we’ve passed on a few tips for people who have had battery issues and we can absolutely confirm one of them now: Skype. No, it doesn’t occur often in fact this was our first time with the problem ever since Skype hit the Store a few weeks ago.

The issue started when we were updating some contact info and then we force synced our Microsoft Account under Settings (hold down the account, hit Sync). Only problem was, it wouldn’t stop ...ever.

Windows Phone 8 doesn’t support playback of purchased Xbox Video media

To say the re-launch of Zune Music and Video as Xbox Music and Video has been smooth for some consumers would certainly raise some eyebrows around Windows Phone Central.  Since day one we have had numerous complaints over incompatibles and items that need re-purchasing.

One area for which we can verify ourselves as a problem is that of Xbox Video, where as far as we can tell, it is not possible to transfer your purchases to your shiny new Windows Phone 8 device. We spent a good hour or two yesterday fidgeting around with various setups and failed on each one. We’re sure many, many other people have and will do the same—after all, according to Microsoft it’s “three screens and a cloud”, right?


What you need to know if you’re upgrading from Windows Phone 7 to 8

This guide is aimed at those who already have a previous generation Windows Phone handset but can also be worthwhile for those of you who are new to the platform.

We’re going to cover what you need to know in order to ease the transition from old to new so you can get back to top speed and start enjoying your new device.

Microsoft releases 3.0 of Windows Phone sync app for OSX

Microsoft has never been shy about supporting Apple users with their software and that is especially true with Windows Phone 8. For instance, Microsoft announced that importing iTunes DRM-free music will be much easier on PC now, not requiring a conversion/import process.

Tonight, Microsoft has released ‘Windows Phone’ for OSX. The software, previously known as ‘Windows Phone 7 Connector for Mac’, has undergone a substantial rebranding and has received numerous new features. The naming may seem odd—Windows Phone—but it matches the Windows 8 sync app’s name and it actually makes sense. When you look at your PC or Mac and see the icon, it says Windows Phone because it is your Windows Phone. Microsoft has simplified syncing by making it very minimalist and barebones: just drag and drop whatever media you want...

Windows Phone 8 and media file synchronisation

Windows Phone 8 syncs in a whole new way to what we saw with Windows Phone 7. No longer does it work with the Zune desktop software client, instead it has a new client and drag and drop functionality.

Turns out the new way of synchronising files obviates the need to convert common video files, in many cases you can just drag and drop your films right onto your phone and they just play. Sound good?, read on to find out more.

If you have SkyDrive you should check “If this then that”

As Windows Phone users, we are blessed with a handsome, dare we say it, world class cloud storage service slotted right in, SkyDrive.

SkyDrive is baked into Windows Phone, allowing all sorts of wonderful uses, uploading the camera roll automatically, storing your OneNote files or just storing good old Office documents. The team at SkyDrive have been opeing up the service and encouraging developers to take advantage of the space with new applications and services. IFTTT is just such an application and it might well be exactly what you’re looking for.

Tip: Get high res photos for contacts on your WP7 device

Have you experienced this problem? You get your new Windows Phone, you sync up your contacts and then you add a few to the Start screen, using those nifty dynamic squares. And then you notice it: the terrible, crappy resolution and blurriness. You think to yourself: "That's not how it looks on the commercial!"

Well, we think we figured it out. It's not Microsoft's fault and it's not a bug. We're going to bet you sync with our frienemy Google, right?

That's the culprit. Google. Don't believe me or think we're alone? See here and here for starters.

What happens is when you take a photo on your phone, add it to contacts and then it syncs back to Google's servers they then downsize the photo and resync it back to you. Awesome, eh?

What is the solution? There are two and we'll detail both after the break...

Guide: Setting up Wireless sync with Windows Phone 7

No doubt, one of the coolest features of Windows Phone 7 and the companion Zune Desktop software is the ability to sync wirelessly. For years we've had to endure tethering our devices to our computers, loose USB wires everywhere, etc. (Even more ironic if you remember wireless syncing in ActiveSync before they removed it).

Consider this more of a walk-through/what to expect than a true "setup guide" only because Microsoft made it so easy that you really should have no problem figuring it out. Still, we'll show a couple screen shots of the process as well as tell you what you can expect. In short, it's a great feature and once you have your GBs of music loaded, you'll want to use everyday.

Read more after the break!

Windows Phone 7: Calendars

Paul Thurrott does a nice job of breaking down how calendars work on Windows Phone 7, specifically the trade off between simplicity and ability.

Windows Phone 7, via Live and/or Exchange, can sync up your calendar events. You can also add external sources like Google to the mix. All of these can by synced to the phone is a very easy fashion, the problem though is syncing back as you can only have one "source" that gets synced too.

Then there is the issue of multiple, nested calendars that are "subscribed" too within a calendar e.g. 'weather' within Google calendar--those don't get synced.

Granted, this is v1.0 of calendar support in WP7, but obviously some "power users" will have a tough time swallowing those limitations, while for us with not much to do in our lives (ahem, raises hand) it won't be a big deal. As Thurrott notes: can’t be both simple and full-featured. Microsoft has opted with Windows Phone, in v1 form anyway, for simple. This is arguably the right choice, but the limitations of this choice will appear in multiple places all over this system. And this is just one basic example.


Omnia II has very rare but very real issue with Outlook & McAfee

Here is a real strange but evidently real issue for Omnia II users: if you  have Exchange + McAfee Anti-Spam E-mail Toolbar working in tandem, it appears that some of your emails won't come through when using the Omnia II with WM6.5.

User UpHillBattle (indeed) writes

I'm experiencing a strange problem with my new Samsung Omnia II (WM 6.5). I have set up ActiveSync (on the cell phone) to sync e-mail, contacts, calendar and tasks with an Exchange Server. I used the same setup on my older HTC Touch Cruise (WM 6.1) and had no problems then.

The sync appears to be successful after setup, but later some e-mails are synced to the Omnia II while others are not. I have reset the device to factory settings and set up the connection again, only to experience the same thing: Success at first, then later some e-mails are received, while others are not.

Upon some diligent testing he later responds's the McAfee Anti-Spam E-mail Toolbar. For those of you that don't know McAfee, it has an optional toolbar that can be enabled in various e-mail clients (Outlook 2007 in my case) and that lets you manually mark (or unmark) e-mail messages as spam. When I disable the toolbar, everything is fine - when I enable it, I get the problems described above.

Both Samsung and McAfee have been made aware of the problem and a fix of some sort is expected in the future (vague, eh?).  Until then, if you have this gruesome-twosome setup, best to follow UpHillBattle's advice.

[via Windows phone Connection forum]

Syncables v6.0 is now out; Allows syncing of content between PC, Windows phone


Confession: we've never heard of Syncables, so being they are now on version 6.0  is a big surprise to us. 

Evidently it is software that allows seamless syncing of media (and additionally contacts, email, bookmarks) between your PC, laptop and Windows phone.  In doing so,  it will auto-adjust the media for your phone to save space/optimize playback.  It also has (buzz word!) social-networking support.

The software looks nice enough though it is a bit pricey to do what is technically already possible with Windows Mobile Device Center/Windows Media Player, albeit much more streamlined with the former:

  • Syncables 360 - Standard Edition – single OS version for syncing media and files between Windows, Mac or Linux computers. License to syn c 2 computers. Price - $29.99
  • Syncables 360 - Premium Edition – multi-OS syncing of media, files, email, contacts and browser bookmarks with, and between, Windows, Mac and Linux computers. Includes syncing of media to and from Windows PCs and Blackberry or Windows Mobile phones. License to sync 3 computers. Price - $49.99; upgrade price - $39.99
  • Syncables 360 - Home Network Edition – Syncables 360 Premium functions w ith a license to sync up to 5 computers. Price - $69.99; upgrade price - $49.99

So anyone out there actually using this?  Should we give it a go and review here at WMExperts or are all of you too advanced for such a thing?  Hit us up in comments or Twitter.

[Syncables 6.0 Press Release]