One of the new features in the Windows 10 October 2018 Update that’s rolling out this week is a new app called Your Phone that allows your PC to talk to an Android or iOS device in new ways.
Right now that means Android users can link their phone to a PC and send texts or view their phone’s camera roll from a computer, while iOS users can send web pages between devices.
Next year Microsoft plans to add a major new feature for Android: the ability to mirror their phone’s display on a PC. That will effectively let you use Android apps on a PC… sort of.
The apps will still be running on your phone. But since they’ll be mirrored on your PC display, you’ll be able to interact with them by keyboard, mouse, or touchscreen without touching your phone.
That means you’ll be able to send messages in chat apps using your laptop keyboard, call a ride using Lyft or Uber without taking your phone out of your pocket, or maybe even watch mobile videos or play games… depending on how speedy the connection is.
Microsoft isn’t the first company to offer this sort of software. Dell added similar functionality to its PC lineup earlier this year with the launch of Dell Mobile Connect. But it’s interesting to see Microsoft adopt the idea… partly because it’s likely to feature better integration with Windows 10 and partly because it’s yet another sign that Microsoft realizes you’re probably not going to buy Windows phones… so it makes more sense to focus on ensuring that Windows 10 PCs work well with the smartphone operating systems you probably are using: Android and iOS.
Unfortunately it’s unlikely that we’ll see Windows 10 app mirroring for iPhones anytime soon — Apple doesn’t usually offer third-party developers the kind of access to the core operating system functions that would be needed to provide that kind of functionality.