Cloud Windows Phone - 02 January 2011
Author: Jim Szymanski

Sky-1

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I have been using Code Wallet Pro to manage my passwords since my early PocketPC days, through my Windows Mobile devices, and even today on my Desktop, so I have been feeling a little lost and vulnerable without this critical utility on my WP7 phone. I did purchase a simple Password app in Marketplace but it lacked several key features like categories and any way to backup the data that took me more than an hour to load, and that was only a partial list. To the dev’s credit, there have been a few updates, including the most recent that added category support. Unfortunately I can’t recategorize any of my existing entries so they are all stuck in General. I knew it was time to move on.

Introducing Sky Wallet from developer Nicolo’ Isola, an advanced mobile wallet with a smooth flowing metro look and feel, and as much customization as you prefer. But the best feature of this app is it’s ability to “sync” with Windows Live SkyDrive. What a great idea. And now that this wall has come down, think of the other apps on your device that could benefit from an encrypted file on your SkyDrive to backup or sync other data, like; favorite contacts, radio stations, rss news feeds, web links, shopping lists, stocks, etc., etc. All those things that take precious minutes, and sometimes hours, to get setup just the way you want, only to go away because of a; hard reset, defective device, major OS update, better hardware. You get the point. While Microsoft has got things like contacts, media and apps covered, now you can have protection for virtually everything else. Hopefully other devs will start offering sync/backup to SkyDrive as an app feature. I know it will guide me in making future purchasing decisions. And as an added bonus, the developer has told me that he is currently working on a desktop client to sync with SkyDrive. So in the not so distant future you can have multiple PC’s and WP7 devices all sharing the same mobile wallet data. And the data remains in your control. Now that’s sweet!

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Ok, let’s get into this app. Opening for the first time, Sky Wallet presents you with a Welcome screen where SkyDrive sync is explained. If you choose to setup SkyDrive, the next screen asks for your Windows Live ID and password which is needed to access your folders. After entering your credentials a list of your SkyDrive folders will appear. You can choose any folder to use for sync, but the dev suggests you use a private folder. Thank you for the reminder. Next up, or if you chose to bypass the SkyDrive setup (which you can always do later), is setting your master password. After you enter a password twice, your in.

Sky Wallet starts out with two defined Groups; Accounts and Finance and a couple sample password entries that you can delete or modify to your needs. Using the metro interface you can easily swipe between different groups. The bottom tray has four icons; Add, Edit, Delete & Sync. Additionally, the popup menu includes four options; SkyDrive Settings (basically your id and password), Disconnect SkyDrive (to undo sync), Change Password and About. Each entry displayed includes a; title, description (optional) and configurable icon. Tapping on an entry brings up a popup with all the details you have loaded. You can scroll up/down within the popup to see more detail. While displayed, the entire entry can be deleted or edited. Tapping the “Back” button closes the entry.

Tapping “New” or editing an existing entry basically brings up the same data entry screen. The first three fields are defined as; Name, Description & Group. Name is required to define your entry but description is optional. Group will be pre-loaded with whatever Group  you were in when you tapped New. To change or add a new Group, tap on the field, which opens the Set Group screen. Tap on the field to overwrite the existing Group and define a new one. Or backspace over the field to reveal a list of defined Groups that you can select. Note that I do not believe there is any way to “delete” a Group, which is probably a good thing. So you should give some thought before creating a bunch of Groups that you may not want or need later.  UPDATE: Actually Groups are dynamically created/deleted by the app. When you enter a new Group title, a group is created and when you delete the last entry in a Group, poof the group is deleted. Can’t get much better than that. Each Group will be included in the main screen metro interface. Once I got started I added a few additional Groups; Travel, Personal, Blogs, Social, Mail/Text & Shopping.

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After completing the first three fields you are on your own. Meaning you can define as many additional fields as you choose. Think I have added as many as six fields to one entry, but don’t really know if there is any limit. The data entry screen has four bottom tray icons; Save, Add Data, Edit Data & Delete Data. These buttons will only affect the individual sub-entry you are currently working on. Tap Add Data to create a new sub-entry and the New Data screen will appear, There are two fields to define; Name (or description), and Value. Some examples of Name can be; Web Site, User name, Password, ID, Secret Words, or whatever you prefer. And I think Value is obvious so no explanation needed. Tap Save to save you entry. I was a little bugged by this setup as I needed to keep typing the same Names, like Web Site or Password over and over again during setup. But as I continued on, I appreciated that I was able to define every sub-entry in a meaningful way for that specific entry. And being anal as I am, I did want every entry to have the same field names, and in the same order. But as I entered data, I realized that’s not very important. One added feature might be for the app to “remember” what you typed in the Name field, so a drop down of frequently used names could appear. or maybe activating the auto-correct feature, although that does not work well when defining the Value field so I would only want to see it active for entering Names. 

The right side of the screen offers a column of icons, 32 total, that you can use to better identify your entries. A default icon is displayed if you do not make a change. Icons include; credit cards, investment, mail, blog, media, messaging, social, ID, passport, travel, etc. Don’t want this list to grow too large but I would like to see a few more for shopping sites, auto and rail. Once you are back on the main screen, tap the Sync button and in less than a minute (more like 25 seconds) all of your data will be synced with SkyDrive. Now that’s cool.  Took me a couple hours to setup 65 entries with multiple criteria for each. The Sky Wallet file (.WLT) on SkyDrive is a whopping 19.5K so not much bandwidth needed to sync up. If you do need to hard reset your device, install Sky Wallet, setup your SkyDrive credentials and Sky Wallet will detect your sync file. All of your password data will be restored. Or if you have a second WP7 device, you can sync up the same Sky Wallet folder. Note that if you are syncing multiple devices, it would be a good habit to sync before making changes aSky-10nd then again afterwards, to be certain you are always working with the most current synced file. Data is protected by your personal password and an encrypted military grade algorithm. No 3rd party service to send and retrieve data. Oh, and for you lucky WP7 users with slide out keyboards or for those that just like to spread out, Sky Wallet displays beautifully in landscape. Even the detail popup has been appropriately sized to fit the landscape screen perfectly. Currently, you have to tap the Back button twice (first tap is a reminder that you are still in Sky Wallet) to completely exit the app. But the developer is considering some kind of timeout for a future update, which would add an additional level of security.

With the addition of Sky Wallet my transition from WM to WP7 is very near complete. One step closer to powering down my Tilt2 for good. You can find Sky Wallet in Marketplace here for $3.99.  Note that you need Zune Desktop for the link to work. You can find the app in Marketplace/Tools if it does not show up in Search. There is a free trial but I honestly don’t know what limitations it may have. I was so excited to find a mobile wallet with sync I bypassed that step.









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(10) Readers Comments

  1. Not sure if I am ready to trust my most protected data to the Cloud. But then again, it is an encrypted, password protected file, sitting on a Microsoft server that is also password protected. Probably not much different than all the 3P services I allow to tinker with my PC.

  2. Is there a way to import data from other apps? I already have loads of data in ewallet that i can’t imagine having to re-enter. Either I wait for ewallet on WP7 or make the transition ONLYif I can import that data into this app.

  3. Don’t expect you will ever see an import tool as each app is unique in some way. Took me a few hours to move over about 68 entries and I have another couple dozen less important entries left. Guess you can wait for eWallet (maybe someday) or the desktop app for Sky Wallet that may make the transfer less painful. I thought about maybe waiting for Code Wallet Pro to be ported to WP7 (another maybe) but having separate apps on my desktop and device was beginning to scare me. Hopefully I don’t have a long wait for desktop support.

  4. Pingback: Domenico A

  5. Pingback: Sky Wallet password storage app actually uses Skydrive for cloud storage

  6. Pingback: Sky Wallet Desktop Companion Unveiled

  7. Does it have a form filler for automatic web site logins like RoboForm?

  8. No, Sky Wallet does not have that feature. But since this post, it can now import data from several ewallet applications and also includes a free desktop companion app that syncs seamlessly with SkyDrive.

  9. I just got the Sky Wallet and tried setting it up. I entered a password. but now my password will not let me in. What do I need to do to get into my Sky Wallet?

  10. No idea. You do know that your SkyDrive and SkyWallet passwords are different. Might want to contact the developer. He is very responsive. Would probably need to scrub and reset the account though, for security reasons.