Samsung unveiled a slew of new devices at Unpacked 2019, but the most surprising moment of the event was when Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella took the stage to announce a partnership between the two companies.
In many ways, this unlikely collaboration makes a lot of sense. For Samsung, a close relationship with Microsoft will allow it to harness the features of its popular smartphones and brings them to Windows 10 laptops, like the new Galaxy Book S.
Conversely, new Windows 10 features exclusive to the Galaxy Note 10 will incentivize Windows users to purchase Samsung's mobile devices. In the end, everyone wins. Including customers who, thanks to this partnership, will see tighter integration between their smartphones and Windows 10 devices.
But what specifically does this mean for Galaxy phone and Windows PC owners? Here's what you need to know about Samsung and Microsoft's partnership.
DeX on PC
Samsung's DeX is a desktop-like interface that gives tablets and phones features they'd normally find on a full-fledged desktop OS. Before, DeX required you to plug a phone into a monitor to view the full desktop software but now a new version of DeX lets you plug a Galaxy Note 10 into a Windows (or even Mac) computer via a USB connection to transfer files between devices and use mobile apps with a mouse and keyboard.
Galaxy Note 10 Gains 'Link to Windows' Feature
A "Link to Windows" feature built into the Galaxy Note 10's Quick Panel lets you quickly merge your smartphones and laptop so you can send messages, manage notifications, sync photos and mirror your phone on a PC using the pre-installed Your Phone app. Samsung even announced that Windows 10 users will be able to make and receive phone calls on their laptop.
OneDrive Cloud Storage
The Gallery photo and video-storage Android app pre-loaded on Samsung phones will add the option to sync files with OneDrive. This means that starting this fall, users will be able to access photos and videos across their Samsung mobile devices and Windows PCs using OneDrive.
Better Outlook app for Note 10 owners
Microsoft Office apps, including Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook, will come pre-installed on the Note 10. Outlook, the email and calendar manager, will get some extra love on the Note 10 in the form of a new "optimized and integrated app." Samsung says the app will let Note 10 owners hover over email, calendar events and contacts with the S Pen to get short previews. Two-way sync of the Outlook calendar and Samsung calendar features is expected to arrive by the end of 2019.
A new Outlook app is also coming to Galaxy wearables and Outlook for Android will get a better tablet experience.
Buy Galaxy Note 10 at Microsoft
Microsoft will now sell the Galaxy Note 10 at its retail and on-line stores and currently offers the new phone for preorder with a $150 in Samsung credit and six months of Spotify Premium.
Samsung Electronics CEO DJ Koh and Nedella made it clear at Unpacked that the renewed partnership between Samsung and Microsoft is more than a marketing ploy and will have an appreciable impact on Windows 10 and Galaxy smartphone users well into the future.
“Microsoft and Samsung share a long history of innovation and collaboration, and today’s announcements mark the next stage in our partnership,” Nadella said. “Our ambition is to help people be more productive on any device, anywhere – and the combination of our intelligent experiences with Samsung’s powerful, new devices makes this a reality.”
While you should be reluctantly optimistic about how much will come from this partnership, it does seem that Samsung and Microsoft will continue to bring new ways of merging the mobile and desktop experiences in the coming year. In fact, in a press release, Samsung stated that as "cloud computing and advanced intelligence progress and network speeds rapidly increase" its partnership with Microsoft would become even more important.
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Phillip Tracy is the assistant managing editor at Laptop Mag where he reviews laptops, phones and other gadgets while covering the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News covering 5G and IoT. When he's not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, traveling or watching soccer.