Android Is The New Windows Phone
Written by Mike James   
Monday, 08 October 2018

Since the demise of Windows Phone Microsoft-oriented programmers have been left to their own devices, literally, to work out what they should use - Android, iPhone, or something completely different? Perhaps some are still waiting for the reinvention of the Windows Phone - not Microsoft, it seems.

winandroid

Windows is still the number one desktop operating system and a lot of us, and a lot of businesses, still use it, but you have to admit that its lack of integration with a viable mobile operating system is beginning to hurt it. It would have been so much better if Windows Phone hadn't been mismanaged and had become a viable alternative to Android and iOS, but it was not to be and Microsoft killed its own product despite repeated attempts to get it relaunched. The big problem is that the company hardly ever admits that a product is dead and hence hardly ever manages to regroup around an alternative, especially if the obvious thing to use is a non-Microsoft product.

This seems to be changing.

Microsoft announced some interesting things at a recent press event, but perhaps the most interesting from the programmer's point of view is that embracing of Android. Android app mirroring is going to be part of the new Your Phone app for Windows 10. This is rolling out in the October 2018 Windows 10 update, which is currently on hold due to a bug.

The new app will allow integration between an Android phone and your desktop by letting you read text messages and view photos. Microsoft claims that support for iPhone will also be forthcoming, but as iPhone integrates in the same way to a Mac it might never happen.

The biggest restriction at the moment is that Your Phone only works with one PC at a time. You have to disconnect and reconnect to move to another PC.

A more important feature is app mirroring. This won't be part of the October update, but essentially if you have an app on your phone then you can see it running on your PC - effectively you can use your phone apps on the PC. Very little information is available on how it works, or what limitations there might be, but as there are already a number of Android mirroring programs available and it is likely to be similar.

All this is good and the message it sends is: develop for Android if you want integration with Windows. It would be so much better, however, if Microsoft really embraced Android and created an Android fork of its own and perhaps even some hardware. When you compare the level of integration that Your Phone is promising to what Windows Phone was promising you start to realize the degree of missed opportunity. Window Phone failed because of management blunders, not so much because of technical shortcomings.

A Windows Android would let Microsoft push its own technology. Want cloud services - then there is Azure. Integrate with a desktop browser - you have to use Edge. Log on to services - use your Microsoft account. The list goes on. 

It makes sense for Microsoft to Window-ize Android - Windroid?

winandroid

More Information

Your Phone App

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Last Updated ( Monday, 08 October 2018 )