On Wednesday, I reported that Microsoft had updated its desktop sync application for Windows Phone 8, adding expanded support for podcast syncing and other changes. But this weekend, the firm also updated the complementary Metro-based mobile sync app for Windows Phone 8, adding support for document syncing and browsing.
Why the desktop- and Metro-based Windows Phone 8 sync apps offer such different functionality is unclear. For example, the desktop application is the only way to sync podcasts to the phone, while the Metro app offers (very basic) photo downloading and, now, document capabilities.
Anyway. This week’s new version of the Metro-based Windows Phone 8 sync app for Windows 8/RT, or what Microsoft annoyingly just calls Windows Phone, is now available for download from the Windows Store.
According to the release notes, it offers a handful of new features: You can now browse the documents that are stored on your phone, add documents to your Windows Phone, open files that are stored on your phone with other programs, and add different types of files to your phone more easily.
If you’re familiar with this mobile app, you’ll notice that the previous UI, which had different “Add” tiles for photos, videos, music, and ringtones has been replaced with a single “Add to phone” tile. Tap this to see a list of what you can add to the phone from this app.
And if you do have documents on the phone, you’ll see a new Docs tile in the “On your phone” area, which lets you browse to those files. When you do, you can filter the view between Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Other doc types.
Overall a pretty solid update. But I’d really like to see Microsoft move the Metro-style mobile sync app and the desktop sync application closer together, functionally. It’s weird that they both don’t do the same thing, and if you’re using Windows 7 or Windows RT you can only run one of the two, limiting your options.