Windows 10 is Getting New Cross-Platform Experiences This Year

Posted on May 7, 2018 by Mehedi Hassan in Android, iOS, Windows 10 with 22 Comments

Microsoft is announcing new cross-platform experiences for Windows 10 at Build 2018 this week. These features, which are expected in Redstone 5, will be shown off by Joe Belfiore tomorrow during the day 2 keynote.

Your Phone is the first of these new experiences.

Microsoft is positioning Your Phone as a window to your phone from your Windows 10 PC so that your PC works better with your mobile device, even if it isn’t built by Microsoft. (And it won’t be.) The app is supposed to give users instant access to the text messages, photos, and notifications on their phone from their PC without requiring any other app.

With Your Phone, you will be able to take a photo from your phone and drop it into a document on your PC without needing to do anything else. At least that’s how Microsoft is advertising the app; we will have to wait and see if the actual functionality will live up to the promise. The company says that the new Your Phone experience will be available to Windows Insiders soon. In fact, it’s already present in the latest Insider build.

But it’s not just Your Phone. Microsoft is taking cross-platform experiences in Windows 10 a step further with updates to Microsoft Launcher on Android and Microsoft Edge on the iPhone. Redmond is bringing cross-device app launching for Timeline to Microsoft Launcher, so you’ll be able to pick up from where you left off across your devices. The company is also making it possible to access your browsing sessions stored on Timeline from your iPhone using the Edge browser.

It is important to note that this is the first Build since Windows’ former lead Terry Myerson announced his departure from the firm. And there aren’t a lot of consumer-focused Windows announcements at this year’s Build, which will be disappointing to many. But Redstone 5 is supposed to be a huge update for the OS — and so far, we are only aware of some major features such as Sets, Your Phone, the new screenshotting tool, and a dark theme (and tabs!) for File Explorer.

Tagged with , , ,

Join the discussion!


Don't have a login but want to join the conversation? Become a Thurrott Premium or Basic User to participate

Comments (22)

22 responses to “Windows 10 is Getting New Cross-Platform Experiences This Year”

  1. will

    I am all for getting new experiences that tie the phone and the desktop together, but first improve and build on what is already in place. I feel Microsoft is in this mode of launching lots of solutions but they are limited in features. Then the rollout of new features takes years, if done at all.

  2. innitrichie

    The "Your Phone" stuff sounds very promising and an actual useful feature for Windows 10 users, unlike a lot of the other nonsense they've headlined in previous years.

    Some OEMs (Dell and HP) already offer some of this stuff but they have chosen to artificially restrict it to latest models of their hardware. I guess they have evidence that shows some morons will actually buy a new PC to get text messages from their phone onto a new premium PC. But now I am happy to see Microsoft coming up with a solution all of their own.

    This is something that works very well on macoS and iOS devices, and I'm happy to see Microsoft is working on bringing more of this to Windows 10 and iOS/Android handsets. I already really like the way I can send a webpage in Edge on mobile to one of my larger screen devices. The Edge handoff feature has worked everytime I've wanted to use it so far too, unlike handoff on iOS which quite often fails me.

  3. Jorge Garcia

    The upcoming Google Chat service might negate most of the need for this app. Also, Apple probably won't ever let MS have access to the iPhone's texts basically this is only good for Android users until Google gets serious?

  4. atulmarathe

    Since WP days, I always think of any feature that Joe Belfiore shows on stage as "coming soon" till they "hit refresh", and then it gets out of their "focus"... In the rare case that they deliver something, it'll be so late and incomplete that almost everyone will ignore it.

    I'd love to get excited, but I've lost faith in Microsoft that they'll deliver anything useful to consumers anymore.

  5. nbplopes

    The big news is the evenue share policy.

  6. harmjr

    Microsoft needs to take a bold step and release an update with no new features only improvements/fixes on existing features.

  7. remc86007

    Being able to send and receive text messages through my iPhone on my Windows machines is my number one requested feature.

    • Jorge Garcia

      In reply to remc86007:

      I've been using the MySMS app (for Android; Apple cripples the pointless iOS version) for years. It has a very nice web client, and even a UWP app, if memory serves. But even the wonderful MySMS app could probably become unnecessary after Google Chat is rolled out. I'm sorry to hear you have an iPhone though and are therefore (artificially) stuck in the past - unless you purchase a Mac, too that is.

      • nbplopes

        In reply to JG1170:

        Yes, if you pair with a Mac OS device you actually get the future as far as Windows / Android integration goes. It has been years ahead in that regard, almost half a decade by now. I repeat, almost half a decade. Apple approach its like lego.

        Hopefully Android / Windows integration will work better than XBOX / Windows integration. I remember Skype ringing forever in XBOX One or in a PC when the call was answered already in a Windows Phone and vice versa.

        Oh, Cortana seamed to have SMS capabilities when paired with a Phone, it did not work that well.

        I guess. now, with another repeated announcement, a facelift of an MS app that existed previously for similar purpose, all will work from one day to the other. I would like it to work well, but have little hope.

        • TechOCD

          In reply to nbplopes:

          Own an iPhone & Mac: been there, done that many times over. No thanks. Mac’s office applications are crippled compared to Windows versions, as are alternatives. Giving up rich desktop features just to sync texting with my iPhone = cutting off your arm to lose weight.

    • rgelb

      In reply to remc86007:

      It's sort of possible right now. In fact, I have it setup. If you adventurous and willing to jailbreak your iPhone, you can use RemoteMessages (iOS 9.x jailbreak) or AirMessage (iOS 9,10,11). I love it.

      Another way I had it running on the windows desktop is to setup a Hackintosh VM via VirtualBox. It's not the fastest, but it works and you get the native MacOS app.

    • lvthunder

      In reply to remc86007:

      You will need Apple to change it policies first. As far as I know 3rd parties are locked out of the Messages App.

    • daveevad

      In reply to remc86007:

      Agreed! I solved this by using T-Mobile's "Digits" after many failed attempts with Skype & Win10 Mobile. "Digits" is...consistent. I want to say great but the UI and lack of a store app for Win10 kind of hurt the experience. Also, this solution is only useful for a select number of handsets and one of the US carriers. Maybe "Your Phone" will finally get this done, for the masses. Not holding my breath though..."fool me once..."

  8. UK User

    Pity that I have just had to roll back to the previous version of Windows from 1803 after getting a continuous circle of dots when starting up my Dell desktop. In my limited knowledge of computers I managed to get to the Dell diagnostic screen and ran a check, no hardware problems found. Then finding out that F8 doesn't boot into Safe Mode unless you set it up first in Win 10 I used the Ctrl-Al-Del sequence as a long shot and up came the Windows recovery option, don't ask my how as I don't know. I tried the Windows restore point option, no restore point on my machine it seems, so the only other option was roll back to the previous version option and so here I am. As to why Windows would not load when it shut down as usual last night I have no idea, the trouble is that I have uploaded 1GB of pictures to One Drive and now a pop up has just informed me that I have deleted a large number of files from One Drive, I won't look as I already know what they are.

    • innitrichie

      In reply to UK User:

      I'm using a Dell desktop on 1803 and just saw the Windows encountered a problem after clean booting up my machine this evening. Luckily it recovered itself upon a second boot attempt, but yeah probably not the wisest decision for me to rush in and upgrade all my machines already.

    • IanYates82

      In reply to UK User:

      Yeesh, that last bit is the scary part.

      It'd be good to know if those files are in a recycle bin in the cloud.

      My main beef with onedrive is that it keeps on downloading my camera roll to my surface pro and my laptop. Easily each will fetch 100gb of photos that I then need to manually free up space.

      I can't find an easy way to see which app is doing it (nothing in event viewer) but I *think* it's the built in photo app. This is on 1709.

      I ended up making a local "camera roll" folder to deliberately conflict with onedrive. That stopped that folder syncing. I have a permanent error but the rest of onedrive still works OK.

      One positive... Others on here insisted, to the point of being rather rude / blunt, that onedrive will sync even when on a metered network. I was travelling this past weekend, tethered to my phone which is marked as a metered WiFi connection. I got a popup saying sync was paused due to being on a metered network. That's smart and obvious. Not sure why others don't get that same experience...

  9. nbplopes

    When will MS launch its Windroid - a MS driven Android variant?

    The way MS its approaching the edge, in particular smartphones, to get the so called fluent experiences across devices, requires a fare amount of user setup, so much so that for some users is as complex as hacking. This is not gonna work if not for filling up a techie checklist. That and filling the pockets of Consultants! :)