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Microsoft Is Integrating Windows 10 With Your Phone

SEATTLE – Windows Phone is long dead, long live Windows on your phone. At its Build developer conference, Microsoft announced new phone-friendly features for Windows 10 as well as iOS and Android. 

On PCs, Microsoft will release an app called Your Phone for access to text messages, photos and notifications. The company suggests that you will be able to share data between devices, like simply dragging your photos from your phone to your PC without ever touching the handset. This app will roll out to Windows Insider Program members this week, though we don’t have a definite date for everyone else.

At a keynote, the company only demoed the machine with an Android phone, showing how you can access texts and photos. It showed copying of images from a Windows desktop into a text. The company also used Your Phone to take the last 25 photos she took from her phone and save one of a receipt to her desktop to her PC. Additionally, there's a Notifications tab that shows everything from an Android phone. Notably, there was no demo of an iPhone, which may be a weaker experience because iOS has more restrictions.

Others have gotten into this space before. Dell, for instance, has its Mobile Connect program, which lets users control Android devices. HP has similar functionality in Orbit app.

Microsoft is also bringing Windows 10’s Timeline support to both iOS and Android. Timeline, a part of the Spring 2018 Update (formerly known as Redstone 4), lets you go back to different workflows you had open at different times and start them up again.

On Android, Timeline will be part of the Microsoft Launcher . Later this year, the company will bring the same functionality to iPhone and iPad, but you’ll need to install Microsoft’s Edge browser from the app store.

The Timeline and Your Phone features are the biggest consumer-facing announcements at the developer-centric Build conference. Microsoft is also showing off updates to the upcoming Sets feature for organizing tabs in Windows and will demonstrate improvements to Outlook like the ability to pay bills via Microsoft Pay.

Microsoft has abandoned its own mobile efforts after Windows 10 Mobile was too little, too late in the marketplace. The company first announced its intention to hitch Windows 10’s star to iOS and Android at Build last year, and these new features further that commitment.

Image Credit: Microsoft

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Andrew joined Laptopmag.com in 2015, reviewing computers and keeping up with the latest news. He holds a M.S. in Journalism (Digital Media) from Columbia University. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Kotaku, PCMag and Complex, among others. Follow him on Twitter @FreedmanAE.