Microsoft smartphone-to-PC mirroring could improve mobile workflow

Professionals will be able to drag files from their smartphone to their PC, while also accessing text messages and more.

Microsoft, Google, Facebook aim to woo developers

Microsoft is bringing smartphone mirroring to the PC with upcoming Windows 10 updates that will allow users to access their photos, texts, and notifications from their desktop, according to a Monday blog post.

The feature, which our sister site ZDNet reports will be called the Your Phone app, is similar to Apple's Continuity, which allows iPhone messages and calls to be answered from a MacBook, among a host of other features. It will be a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app, and will use a wireless connection to mirror between devices.

According to The Verge, specific features will vary depending on whether or not the user is working with an Android or an iOS device. But the goal is the same: Enable front line workers to handle all of their business on one device.

SEE: Mobile device computing policy (Tech Pro Research)

Dell announced a similar feature called Mobile Connect at CES 2018. As reported by CNET, the feature works for both iPhones and Android devices, but it is more limited on the iPhone. Dell's service differs in that it allows full apps to run on the PC in some instances.

So, what's the point of these kinds of applications? For one, they could boost productivity, as users can respond to text messages in a chat window on their desktop. Also, it makes it easier to share content between devices, as users could "quickly drag and drop your phone's photos into a document on your PC in one swift movement - without having to take your phone out of your pocket," for example, the post said.

The Your Phone app will first arrive in upcoming Windows Insider preview builds. However, a Microsoft spokesperson told ZDNet that the firm would "roll it out broadly when it's ready."

In the same post, Microsoft also announced that an updated Microsoft Launcher application will be coming to Android to support enterprise customers with "easy access to line of business applications via Microsoft Intune." The new Microsoft Launcher on Android will support the Windows 10 Timeline feature for additional sharing capabilities.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:
  • Updates to Windows 10 will allow users to access text messages, photos, and notifications on their smartphone.
  • With phone mirroring, Windows 10 users could get more value out of their smartphones as work tools and content creation platforms.

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Image: Microsoft