We’ve touched on the basics with Microsoft SkyDrive services and the SkyDrive app for your Windows Phone. But how does all this translate into everyday life?
The obvious daily use of SkyDrive and your Windows Phone is to free up storage space and access content easily. Why load your Windows Phone with documents, pictures, and music files when you can store them in the cloud and access them at your leisure? But did you know that several quality apps use SkyDrive? Of course you did… and we’ll try to cover some of them while we go over the daily use of your SkyDrive account.
Keep in mind that there are several ways to upload files to your SkyDrive account. There is an internal feature that you can find in the sharing options in your Pictures section, an upload feature in the SkyDrive app, and feature uploads through various third party apps.
SkyDrive allows you to store your documents in the cloud and access them from your Windows Phone while you work. Whether it’s a Word document, Powerpoint, Excel, OneNote, or .PDF, you can store these documents in the cloud and download them to your Windows Phone as needed.
Edit, create, save and download these documents to your computer (more space on your keyboard) and upload them to your SkyDrive account via the SkyDrive Desktop app. The document is now easily accessible from your Windows Phone.
But what if you stumble upon a document that you need to copy and use for, say, a research project? Or a recipe from your great-grandmother? Or an article in a local newspaper that you want to keep?
HandyScan will upload any scanned document to your SkyDrive account. Instead of wasting time and money looking for a zerox device, use HandyScan to copy whatever you’re researching or need and upload it to SkyDrive for future use. When you get home, you can access your scanned documents from your desktop computer. It would have been nice to have this when I was doing all my research work in college.
One of the most notable complaints we hear about new Windows Phones is that there isn’t enough built-in storage for the music collection of Windows Phone users. With SkyDrive, you can store your music files in the cloud and, with Windows phones upgraded to Mango, transfer them to your phone.
Yeah… the interface sucks. You can only play one song at a time and cannot download music files to your Windows Phone. Enter third party apps.
Applications like sky music, Sky Player and cloud music, connect to your SkyDrive account to play music files stored in the cloud. While you still can’t download music files to your Windows Phone, you can create playlists, artist/album folders, and other song lists for uninterrupted music playback.
As with music files, SkyDrive is a good resource for freeing up storage space. As with music files, there is room for improvement here. For starters, SkyDrive resizes images uploaded from your Windows Phone when you upload images from Pictures Hub. I have to say, significantly resizes your images.
On HTC Titan II, a 4640×3480 image is scaled down to 719×539 when uploaded to SkyDrive directly from Windows Phone (using the share option under Pictures). I also found that shrinking and resizing changed the perspective a bit. Please note that the crayon images that have been downloaded and resized do not have the same angle as the copy that was downloaded directly from Windows Phone via Zune. In most cases, the changes are so slight that you won’t notice them, but other times it’s a little more noticeable.
This resolution change may not be a big deal if your images will be viewed from your Windows Phone or computer screen. This will be a big problem if you want to print thumbnails. Resizing is basically a bandwidth issue when using internal upload. In order to minimize the amount of data used to transfer pictures from your Windows Phone to your SkyDrive account, someone decided to put a shortcut in place.
Fortunately, there are several ways to work.
The easiest way is to upload images through the SkyDrive app. The recent v2.1 update has changed the way you upload images through the app. Image sizes are no longer resizable and are renamed with upload date and upload number per day. For example, your second image on 5/12/2012 would be called WP_20120512 2.
You can upload your photos to your desktop via Zune and then sync your SkyDrive picture folder using the SkyDrive desktop app. It may be a long way, but the images will be uploaded in full resolution.