MICROSOFT IS TESTING a screen-mirroring feature for Windows 10 that will, effectively, bring Android apps to the Windows desktop.
'Phone Screen', as it's known, has rolled out as a preview to the Insiders programme. It casts your phone screen to a window on your computer as part of the Your Phone app for Android.
The clever bit is that once you are connected, you can bring up a list of your Android apps, and run any of them in Windows independently, meaning the feature goes far further than previous attempts at screen mirroring.
The Phone Screen service works using Bluetooth LE, so both devices need to support it. That will have dongle sellers rubbing their hands with glee because a surprising number of laptops (and most desktops) don't have Bluetooth LE on-board.
In the first instance, the lowly Surface Go will be the only device to run the beta, but it will spread to other compatible machines fairly quickly. Although it's only available to Insiders right now, the Your Phone app is entirely separate to Windows, so there's no reason why this can't be released more widely, even if the Spring 2019 Update to Windows, due next month, goes badly.
But there's another caveat, too. Microsoft is only making the beta available to certain Samsung handsets, to begin with. At launch, it works with Samsung Galaxy models: S8, S8 Plus, S9, and S9 Plus. And no, you'll note that the Galaxy S10 range isn't on that list.
Don't worry. Other phones will also be supported too, be patient.
The scheme marks a significant step in Microsoft's policy of adopting Android as its preferred mobile platform by supporting it with software. We've referred to it previously as the "chestburster" strategy.
This could prove to be a "killer feature" for many users, but the fact that it uses Microsoft's bespoke app means that the company is likely to get a foothold for future nagging to install its other services for Android.
There's no such thing as a free lunch. μ
Some deliberately, others through stupidity
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