Microsoft published a beta of the company's newest product Microsoft Phone Data Manager which is tool to synchronize and backup data from supported mobile phones. The contacts data can be synchronized with Windows Live Contacts while the media, the music, videos and pictures, can be saved to a local folder.
Microsoft Phone Data Manager is not a full blown backup solution like the software that comes from the mobile phone company directly which can backup data like sms, games or protocols. It is a beta product on the other hand that could see those features implemented in later versions.
The major advantage of using the Phone Data Manager is that it works with phones from different mobile phone manufacturers. That is handy for a family that possesses different phones but only one computer and basically everyone else who is using phones from different cell phone manufacturers.
The list of working mobiles include phones from Motorola, Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson. About 30 mobiles in total are listed on that page that have been tested and are working with the Microsoft Phone Data Manager but there are also a few that are not working. Most cell phone owners will probably have to try and find it out for themselves if their mobile phone is not listed on that page.
Microsoft has posted a user guide on their website that walks the user through the process of installing and working with the Phone Data Manager.
It supports and can identify Bluetooth and usb cable connections. While it lacks on features it could be a viable alternative for users with multiple phones from different manufacturers.
Update: Microsoft Phone Data Manager is no longer available for download. It is not clear if the project was canned by Microsoft, or if it has made its way into other Microsoft products to support the company's own Windows Phone operating system.
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