(Android) Phone-PC integration moves forward with latest Your Phone announcements

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The original Microsoft vision was to bring as much of Windows to phones as possible, even extending phones to Continuum desktops to run 'as' PCs. Sadly, they gave up on Windows 10 Mobile and had to shift to plan B. Or C, depending on how you're counting(!) Regardless, Microsoft has been pressing forward with their 'Your Phone Companion' (Link to Windows) software for a couple of years now, buoyed up by a developing partnership with Android phone manufacturer Samsung. With the launch of the latter's Note 20 range yesterday, extra integration features were announced - see below for some interesting animations, demonstrating how it works.

Note that the animated walkthroughs are several Megabytes each and may take time to load below. They're too big for AAWP's imaging upload system, so I've had to embed the originals from Microsoft's servers. Please let me know if they stop working at any point!

It's also worth noting that some of the Your Phone integration requires software support inside the phone, starting with the latest Samsung flagships (Note 20 range) and then back to other recent Samsungs. I've been testing on an old S9+ and an even older Surface Pro and the experience isa little slow and glitchy. I'm sure Your Phone (updated yesterday in the Windows Store) is all faster and smoother on more recent phones and on faster PCs - data points welcome! Most of the functionality is there though, and I'll be doing a video walkthrough shortly on AAWP.

From the Microsoft blog post:

Microsoft’s Your Phone app and Link to Windows integration on select Samsung devices, enables you to stay in the flow by allowing you to take calls, check notifications, see photos and messages, all from your Windows 10 PC. Now, on your Samsung Galaxy Note20, you can access and interact with your favorite mobile apps directly on your Windows 10 PC through the Your Phone app.

GIF shows Samsung phone connecting to PC apps

Note that Your Phone and Link to Windows will now work over wifi as well as with a Type C cable - the Samsung Galaxy phone must be connected to the same Wi-Fi network as the PC. And that some of the features shown in these animations won't arrive until 'November 2020'. Still, the development team have shown stickability so far, I'm confident it will all arrive in time.

When you launch an app, it opens in a separate window, allowing you to multi-task and saving you the time and hassle of sign-in or set up. You can also pin your phone’s Android apps to your Windows 10 taskbar or Start menu for quick and easy access, making things like checking out your social feed or ordering your lunch while you wrap up a conference call even easier, without ever picking up your phone.

GIF shows Your Phone app, showing mobile apps on PC screen

Samsung Galaxy Note20 users can now access a single mobile app on their PC, with the power and convenience of running multiple apps side by side available later this year. Whether you are working on a document, keeping up on your social media feed or simply staying connected with family and friends, everything is accessible in one place, so your flow is never broken.

Though the Note 20 is called out by name, I'm sure this will roll out in firmware updates to other Samsung flagships in due course. Again, I'm monitoring all this from the point of view of an older Samsung, so will update AAWP as and when I reach the cutting edge of Microsoft's vision!

We are also making it seamless to transition between your Galaxy Note20 and Microsoft 365 apps with instant access to your most important notes across your devices. Coming soon, notes from Samsung Notes can automatically sync with your OneNote feed in Outlook on the web or OneNote as an image. You can quickly jot down your notes from a meeting or grocery list with your S Pen on Galaxy Note20 and have instant access to the content in your productivity apps like Outlook and OneNote.

GIF shows M365 Samsung Notes, sharing a sketch of a bridge from a phone to an email on the PC laptop

Samsung Notes integration has been a long time coming, but is good to see. Having all one's vital notes siloed in a proprietary system is always worrying!

You will also be able to sync Samsung Reminders from your Galaxy Note20 to your Windows 10 PC across Microsoft To Do, Outlook and Microsoft Teams experiences, so you can view and edit from anywhere, keeping your reminders aligned across your phone, PC and apps.

GIF shows Samsung Reminders opening up on the phone from Tasks on the PC laptop

Ditto for To-Do and Samsung Reminders then. The more integration, the better, even if it would have been even better to have one ecosystem from the start. But since Microsoft gave up on its vision of a first party mobile platform it's having to make do with co-adopting Samsung and Android and doing the best it can.

I'll report back on whether it's enough in real life...

PS. This was all covered, albeit briefly, in the Samsung keynote video, I've embedded it below, hopefully it's cued up to the right starting point, about half an hour in(!) As usual, click through to YouTube to increase resolution and quality if needed: