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App Review: Files for Windows Phone 8.1 and File Management Tutorial

One of the biggest drawbacks of the Windows Phone platform was the lack of on-device File Management. It's a benefit Android users have had since the platform's inception, but now with WP8.1 and this new Files app, Microsoft has made a significant step forward in addressing this issue.

File management is an idea which doesn't sound very sexy, but is somewhat crucial to the modern smartphone experience. At its core is the idea that a user should be allowed to control what happens with the photos, videos, and documents on their gadget. The user should be allowed to decided where those files live, and the user should be allowed to decide where and how those files are shared.

Many people express frustration when they are unable to attach certain files to an email, or upload them to DropBox. It's frustrating when you are required to plug a phone into another computer to move files on and off. Microsoft's Files app now opens the door to a more "grown up" style of management.

Files is blissfully simple. Opening the app, you'll see your on-board storage and memory card usage, how much space I have left on either. Taping on one gauge will bring up a series of folders, and your files are found within those folders. Taping on those files will bring up the apps available to view or use those files. Tap on a picture and the photos app pops up. Tap on an audio file and the Music app fires up.

Within this folder structure you can also copy, move, and delete files. This is helpful for those who have started filling up their phone storage and want to move some data over to the memory card without using a computer to handle the transfer. Best of all this gives Nokia users the ability to access their full high resolution photos, as the Nokia app will save a high res version and a compressed version for sharing online.

There's always room for improvement however, and while Files is a great first step, it would be helpful to see this app eventually merge with Microsoft's OneDrive, providing us one app for local and cloud storage. This is the current system utilized on Windows RT devices, and it would be a welcome unification on Windows Phone as well.

Hit the related video to see the Files app in action, or head over to Microsoft's App Store to grab it.

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