In short: Microsoft has announced a new Your Phone app-related feature which is designed to mirror the use of apps on an Android phone to Windows. Effectively, the app will now let users engage more with their smartphone without having to physically turn away from using Windows. The updated Your Phone app is now available as part of the new Windows 10 October 2018 Update which is understood to be available now. Users can prompt the update to install right now or wait for Microsoft to start to push the update automatically to their device within the coming days.
Background: Microsoft announced the latest improvements to its Your Phone service including the ability to mirror phone apps on Windows as part of the company’s Surface event which took place today, and where a number of new product announcements were made, including a new pair of wireless Surface Headphones. This is basically an extension of a feature that was already available to Android users who had previously downloaded the corresponding Android version of the Your Phone app from the Google Play Store. The difference being that previously what the app could mirror was fairly limited to viewing images and websites. Now, however, the idea is the new version is a more robust solution which offers greater integration including the option to view, send and receive SMS messages and more from a compatible Windows 10-running device.
Impact: It’s not that surprising Microsoft has now made this announcement considering the Your Phone app was already preparing for this. Even more so when you consider the company has had to largely abandon its own smartphone ambitions which would have inevitably left a dent in the company’s intention to offer a unified experience across devices. Since that abandoning Microsoft has been increasing the integration between its own products and the Android operating system, with this being one of the most recent examples. This is likely to still be a work in progress and something that will improve over time as greater mirroring support is routinely added. For now, the main requirement on the Android side of things is the smartphone must be running Android 7.0 (Nougat) at a minimum.