Microsoft first recognized in Build last year that its new mobile strategy is to make iOS and Android devices work better with Windows 10 PCs. While the news related to Windows at the Build developer conference This year have been light, Microsoft has revealed that it is working on a new application "Your Phone" that closes even more the gap between PCs and phones. The application will bring text messages, notifications and photos from a phone directly to a Windows 10 PC, and is designed to facilitate the transition between the two.
I sat down with Joe Belfiore from Microsoft and Shilpa Ranganathan at Build this week to better understand the company's efforts on various devices for Windows 10 and the future of Windows. Ranganathan is responsible for Microsoft Launcher and the efforts between devices, and Belfiore worked for a long time on Windows and is in charge of the user experience for Windows 10.
The new application Your Phone from Microsoft is not ready for Windows 10 users to try it yet, since the company is still developing the application, but it is clear that this will be the central way to connect phones to PCs. While Microsoft used Cortana to link SMS messages and notifications to PCs in the past, this new application will be the main way that phones connect to Windows 10 PCs. Microsoft has shown messages, notifications and photo sharing at the moment, but not all of these features will necessarily work on iOS and Android.
"We will have photos on iOS and notifications as well," explains Shilpa Ranganathan. "Apple makes messages a little harder, but we are very willing to work with Apple." Several third-party applications use solutions to back up messages, but Microsoft's vision is essentially to bring iMessage to Windows inside your phone. application "I want to do this in a way compatible with respect for the ecosystem we are building and, at the same time, make it a delicious experience," says Ranganathan. "Messages is one in which we are not currently where we should be compared with Android, but we have to work with Apple."
That work with Apple has not started, and Microsoft has not yet approached the company to see if it is willing to work with Microsoft. It seems very unlikely that you can convince Apple to partner in a project of this type, so it is likely that your phone has better features in Android. Even so, Microsoft is also looking for other features for the application. "I know that people have also asked to call and dial, that has also been on our radar," reveals Ranganathan. Microsoft is also investigating smart features such as providing indications based on text message information or disclosing relevant contact information through the application. It's still early for Your Phone, but Microsoft is clearly committed to making this a powerful part of Windows 10.
Out of your phone, I pressed Joe Belfiore about the future of Windows and whether Windows Microsoft's recent reorg has affected the direction of its popular operating system. "The way we are making investments and thinking about our customers is practically the same," says Belfiore. "I think maybe this year because we have gone through this organizational change in which the company focuses on Azure and the cloud … we focused the central note on what that means, what is Microsoft 365 about?"
The result The key change has seemed, at times, to be that Microsoft only now focuses on business customers and is looking beyond Windows. Last year several features for Windows 10 were introduced, and some of them were promised before they arrived, and it seems that Microsoft pauses in Build this year to talk more about the future of Windows, so it does not do that. error again "I do not think we have changed our psychology around that, but maybe it was like that," Befliore admits. "I think we are talking about what is coming, what we are doing less is to say the date it will arrive for the population in general."
That trend could continue throughout 2018. Microsoft generally abandons a lot of new features in the Windows Insider versions as soon as a previous update is completed, but this time we have not seen that. Microsoft released a new trial version of Windows 10 this week, with a dark-mode File Explorer and a cloud-driven clipboard, but the main novelty seems to be the Your Phone application. "I think that, in general, it's more gradual," explains Belfiore. "It's definitely more gradual, but I think it's also the case that secondary teams try to incorporate their characteristics, we're developing this in public, we're being very transparent with the work that's going on."
It's still not clear exactly what features will be sent in the next big Windows 10 update. Belfiore was clear on stage that Microsoft does not want to commit to the dates of some of the larger features, and even the tabbed feature ( Sets) and your phone may not make the next version. While Microsoft revealed some of its changes in the UI of Design Fluency during a compilation session, the company is not ready to talk about some of the most important changes that C-Shell makes. "There are a number of things we're doing that involve changing the way internal components work, but none of those things are ready to be publicly treated," says Belfiore.
So, what can we expect from Windows in the next 12 months? It certainly seems that Microsoft is changing to make Windows the best possible PC environment for productivity. The company has gone backwards in many of its dramatic efforts of Windows 8 with Windows 10, and it seems that Microsoft could go further in its efforts to make Windows the true platform for advanced users.
"The Windows PC plays a very important role in people who do significant work, which is where most of the world's creation takes place," explains Belfiore. "I do not think their role in that has diminished at all, but it has been linked to many other things, people spend a lot of time on mobile devices, and we are adopting or trying to make that relationship between the PC and those devices. It works well, I think what we're trying to do is make sure it stays the best it can be and that it does its job to the best of its ability. "
We're starting to see some of those improvements in the trial versions of Windows 10. There's a new clipboard in the cloud that will synchronize clipboard content on all devices, and even a new screen capture tool that finally makes make it easier to trim and share content. These changes are minor, but will be welcomed by Windows users. Microsoft has been gradually improving Windows 10 with these functions focused on productivity for years, and this refinement will continue.
Microsoft will now further advance its efforts between devices to make Windows connect to phones more meaningfully. Your phone is the natural extension of the timeline effort, and Microsoft has more ideas. "I do not think we still have irrational limits," says Belfiore. There's a lot we can do on Android, there's a lot we can do at Apple that we have not done yet, so let's go to the limit and as much as possible and I think we'll be in a better place. "