With the upcoming Windows Vista release I thought I'd publish a blog article on the Windows Mobile Device Center (WMDC) I also managed to grab some screenshots when I was working with our PM - Prithvi so I thought I'd share those too!
So what is the Windows Mobile Device Center?
Well firstly it's the Synchronisation client for Windows Vista. Activesync is not compatible with Windows Vista...
It's been in Public Beta since early October and is scheduled to ship with Vista later this year.
It's compatible with Windows Mobile 2003, Windows Mobile 5.0 and future releases of Windows Mobile devices.
In terms of the key features it's been designed for easy device setup and management as well as having an intuitive user interface.
You can connect to WMDC via Bluetooth and USB but not WiFi (this was removed from Activesync sometime ago due to security concerns from customers - I know msmobiles.com is always very vocal about this)
So why as an Enterprise should be excited about Windows Mobile Device Center? There are three reasons:
1) It's integrated into Vista so no deployment.
2) It's updated via Windows Update - so no need to redeploy later releases.
3) It can be enabled/disabled via Group Policy!
So let me dive a little deeper into the functionality....
Previously some customers had challenges with setting their device up with Activesync - with WMDC we have tried to make that experience much simpler!
Firstly the Windows Mobile Generic device drivers are preloaded on Windows Vista, then when the device is connected to your computer, WMDC is downloaded through Windows Update or if you don't have an Internet Connection the WMDC is available on the Getting Started Disc that will come with your device.
Once your device has been recognised the setup process will begin offering you the options to setup and configure your device to sync email, calendar, contacts, tasks, music etc....
If you don't want to setup the device and simply want to have a 'guest' partnership you can click on 'Connect without setting up your device'
The UI in WMDC has been brought right up to date and aligned with Vista and now offers a much easier way of managing your device from your PC.
Firstly - you can quickly see if you are connected and what device you are using with device specific images.
It's also much easier to setup and work with your files and synchronisation settings. The key content items are highlighted and then there are options behind those to make tasks simpler.
If you want to easily setup your device to talk with your Microsoft Exchange Server you can setup that really quickly and easily using the integrated wizard (there are also wizards for other email options such as POP3 and IMAP)
It's also much simpler to sync and transfer Microsoft Office documents and other content...
One of my favourite features is the ease with which you can synchronise music from WMP11 in Vista as well as importing pictures from your mobile device. If you select the Pictures Music and Video option - WMDC automatically highlights the number of pictures or videos on your device that it could import.
When you then click on the icon to import them you also get the option to automatically tag the pictures and have them placed straight into your My Pictures folder!
You can also quickly get to the device storage to copy files or just browse the device!
So if you are running Windows Vista RC1 or RC2 - plug in your Windows Mobile Device and you will then see the WMDC option in Windows Update.... give it a try and let me know how you get on!
Feel free to post any questions you may have!