Microsoft’s mobile strategy has evolved in recent years. Instead of trying to push its own Windows 10 Mobile operating system as a competitor to Android and iOS, the company has largely focused on developing apps and services for the world’s most popular smartphone operating systems.

That makes sense, since billions of people are using Android, and the market share for Windows 10 Mobile is… practically 0.

But how do you convince people to use Microsoft’s mobile apps? Maybe by acknowledging that there a lot of folks using Windows on a PC and Android or iOS on a mobile device… and offering tools to bridge the gap between those platforms.

Today at the MS Build developer conference, Microsoft unveiled a few new and upcoming tools for doing just that.

First up is a new Windows app that will let you connect your phone to your PC so that you can:

  • Compose and send text messages from your PC
  • Drag and drop photos from your phones into a document on your PC
  • View notifications from your mobile device on your PC

Tentatively called “Your Phone,” the new Universal Windows Platform app should be available to members of the Windows Insider Program for testing soon.

If you’re like me, you probably have your phone nearby pretty much 24/7, but you spend much of your workday looking at a computer screen, not your phone. These sorts of cross-device features could help make sure you don’t miss important messages or that you can pick up on one device where you left off on another.

Speaking of picking up where you left off, another Windows feature coming to mobile devices is Timeline.

It’s a new feature that’s rolling out to PC users with the Windows 10 April 2018 Update, and it lets you see documents, websites, and other data you were working on in the past at a glance. You can scroll through your timeline or search for items to get back to something you were doing at an earlier time.

Microsoft is adding Timeline support to its Microsoft Launcher app for Android, giving users a way to access their Timeline from an Android phone or tablet. While iOS doesn’t support third-party launchers, Microsoft will bring Timeline support to a future version of its Edge web browser for iPhones and iPads, allowing you to view your past desktop browsing sessions on an iOS device.

Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore says the Launcher app will also support new enterprise features including support for business applications.

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8 replies on “Microsoft is bridging the gap between Windows PCs and Android or iOS phones”

  1. Seems like an odd move considering they seem to be doing everything they can to kill off Windows as a desktop OS in the next few years. It seems pretty clear they want to replace desktops with “smart terminals” dependent on Azure via UWP front ends and the web via Edge.

      1. Look into the projects code named Polaris, Andromeda, Aruba, and Oasis. Polaris would replace desktop Windows.

        1. Polaris–along with Andromeda–doesn’t seem to be anything more than part of Microsoft’s effort split windows into core and user interface components — i.e. the next version of Windows.

          Nothing suspicious or wrong with coming up with a new, more flexible architecture that might allow them to push into new markets or compete better in existing markets.

          Really, though, there’s nothing about Polaris–a long term project that might never come to fruition–that would preclude Microsoft working to make their desktop/server product line more relevant in the mobile space, in the short term. They address completely different needs.

    1. Actually it helps keep people from jumping to Chromebook and similar devices.

      1. I was thinking the same. But as an alternative to, rather than leading to the demise of, Windows.

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