Microsoft is now officially entering a testing phase for its Your Phone Windows 10 application that will let users mirror their Android device directly to a display linked to hardware running the OS, sources report. In short, the feature will allow Android users to link up their handset and show that gadget's contents through Windows 10, giving the user seamless access to their mobile apps and games in Windows.
The feature is billed by Microsoft as a way to access Android without putting too much strain on one's thumbs. It also says it will require a handset running Android 7.0 Nougat or newer and a Windows 10 PC or laptop running at least the 19H1 preview build for now.
Bluetooth underpins the connection between the user's smartphone and computer. So it isn't immediately clear how stable the connection will be or how much latency might exist but this is only a beta test. Any bugs that are currently present will likely be worked out by the final release.
It's about time but still limited for now
This feature was actually announced back in late 2018 and is part of Microsoft's larger mobile syncing efforts encompassed under the "Your Phone" umbrella. That all centers around an app bearing the same Your Phone branding, which effectively serves as a real-time link between Windows 10 computers and an Android smartphone.
For end users, the initial functionality of Your Phone was mostly limited to easy-to-use drag and drop features allowing files to be shared quickly across the two platforms. It was limited to users on the company's Insider update track too, following its debut, before eventually being released in a stable update. Notification syncing, including the ability to respond to some notifications directly from a PC, was added later.
As with the prior features, the new screen mirroring will start out extremely limited to work out major bugs in advance of its rollout to the general user base.
Those who want to take part in the testing phase will need access to a Samsung Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8 Plus, Galaxy S9, or Galaxy S9 Plus handset to get it up and running. That's in addition to a Windows 10 machine on the Insider test track with hardware supporting Bluetooth with Low Energy Peripheral mode.
More devices are expected to be added over time in the leadup to the full release, but there doesn't appear to be a timeframe associated with that just yet.
Microsoft's wider bet on Google
Microsoft has placed a substantial amount of effort on the Android side of things over the past several years as its own mobile OS has effectively flopped. Everything started with the launch of its office suite on the mobile platform. That's led through to its Cortana AI's arrival both as a standalone app and in a dedicated launcher replacement, with this latest integration via screen mirroring cementing Microsoft's commitment to supporting the platform.
More recently, the software giant has gone further still to prove that Android does not represent the only investment Microsoft is making in Google's ecosystems. Not only is the company now an active participant in Chromium development and pushing further into commitment in open source solutions. Its own browser, Microsoft Edge, will also soon be based on Chromium as Google's continues to push web standards forward.