Microsoft has been retiring a number of its Zune desktop app features recently, in preparation for the upcoming switch to Xbox Music. While the company is readying its new music subscription service, Microsoft will also introduce new apps to manage and sync Windows Phone 8 devices. Sources close to Microsoft's WIndows Phone plans have revealed the look and feel of a Windows 8 companion app for Windows Phone 8 devices.

The application, a Metro style one that will be available from the Windows Store, is designed to replace the Zune client for Windows 8 users. We understand that the app will be automatically installed for Windows Phone 8 users on a Windows 8 PC when a device is connected. Windows 7 users will be directed to an equivalent desktop app to manage devices. The application, which will likely be branded as a "companion app," will provide quick access to photos, documents, music, and video on Windows Phone devices — allowing users to import or export data to handsets. We understand the application will be made available in the Windows Store in time for the Windows Phone 8 launch — expected in late October.