We got an early glimpse at some planned Windows Phone 8 backup options in July when an SDK for the new mobile operating system leaked. Until now, we haven't known exactly how the options — like SMS, photo, and settings backup — will work. Sources close to Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 plans have now revealed to us that the software maker will be offering backup capability to Windows Phone users that sign in with a Microsoft account.

When you first launch a Windows Phone 8 device, a splash screen will encourage users to use a Microsoft account (as it does in Windows Phone 7) to keep data in sync. However, the new slash screen also hints at the ability to keep "photos, contacts, music, documents, and more in sync with your PC or Xbox." Although we're unable to confirm the Xbox sync plans, it appears Microsoft will allow Windows Phone users to share data easily to an Xbox console via SkyDrive.

We understand that the backup options in Windows Phone 8 include the ability to automatically upload photos and video to SkyDrive, sync SMS and MMS messages to Hotmail or Outlook.com, and sync settings such as themes, accounts, and Internet Explorer favorites. App lists and individual app settings will also be synced as part of a backup routine. The options, which haven't been present in Windows Mobile or Windows Phone software previously, will be a much welcomed option that should help Microsoft offer a similar experience to iOS users with iCloud or Google's own Android backup options. We are expecting to Microsoft to detail its backup plans in more detail at a Windows Phone 8 event in New York on Wednesday.