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Best Buy Plans Web-Based Smartphone Backup, Syncing

Minneapolis – Best Buy Mobile wants to make it easier for consumers to
access and manage all of the contacts, messages and content stored on their

On Oct.
12, the retailer will launch a free service that automatically backs up and
synchronizes a smartphone’s settings, contacts, text messages, calendar items,
photos and videos to a personal Web-based account, making it easier to transfer
such data to a new phone. From the Web browser on a PC’s larger screen, users
will manage and share their data more easily than they could from a smartphone’s
small screen, the company contended. Changes made to data on the phone will
automatically sync with the user’s Web account, and changes made to the data
from any PC browser will sync to the phone, Best Buy added.

service, called mIQ, includes 1GB of storage in the clouds. It will come
standard with the purchase of any new smartphone using the BlackBerry, Windows
Mobile and Symbian S60 operating systems. Compatible devices include the
BlackBerry 9700, Bold, and Tour, Nokia E71 and N97, HTC Pro 2, Samsung Omnia II
and T-Mobile Dash 3G, the company said. Other smartphone users can also sign up
for the free service at

Microsoft, Nokia and Apple offer similar services for users of their smartphone
platforms, mIQ operates across smartphone platforms, “is much more robust, and
delivers a better user experience,” a spokesman contended. Microsoft and Nokia
don’t charge for their services, but Apple does, Best Buy

For their
part, carriers offer to back up a phone’s contacts in the clouds, and some offer
to backup additional content, but “contact backup is the most common,” the
spokesman added.

Best Buy
Mobile is launching the service because with smartphones, “sometimes all the
great features can be overwhelming,” said Best Buy Mobile business development
director Mark Mosiniak. As a result, he said, “customers have a hard time
getting the most out of their devices.”

With mIQ,
a phone’s contacts as well as contacts from Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook can be
imported into a mIQ account, and users can add, edit or delete contacts via a
PC, the company said. Changes are pushed automatically to the phone and backed
up on the web. Likewise, mIQ automatically uploads text messages to an inbox in
a personal mIQ account, where from any PC they can be read, forwarded or replied
to. From a PC, users can also view all text messages and calls associated with a
particular person in the phone’s contact list.

Appointments and events also automatically upload to
the clouds when entered on a phone, enabling editing or deletion via a PC. 
Photos and videos automatically upload as soon as they are taken so they can be
organizing and editing on a PC and sent through email or MMS and posted to
social-networking sites. In addition, mIQ lets users automatically post pictures
and videos to social-networking sites such as Facebook, Flickr, FriendFeed and
Twitter directly from their smartphone.