Microsoft is embracing Android as the mobile version of Windows

Microsoft unveiled a bunch of Surface hardware during a press event in New York City last night. While matte black Surfaces, headphones with Cortana, and a new Surface Studio were the highlights of the hardware side, Microsoft unveiled an interesting change to its Windows operating system. Windows 10 will soon fully embrace Android to mirror these mobile apps to your PC.

The Android app mirroring will be part of Microsoft’s new Your Phone app for Windows 10. This app debuts this week as part of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update, but the app mirroring part won’t likely appear until next year. Microsoft briefly demonstrated how it will work, though; You’ll be able to simply mirror your phone screen straight onto Windows 10 through the Your Phone app, which will have a list of your Android apps. You can tap to access them and have them appear in the remote session of your phone.

Android app mirroring on Windows 10

We’ve seen a variety of ways of bringing Android apps to Windows in recent years, including Bluestacks and even Dell’s Mobile Connect software. This app mirroring is certainly easier to do with Android, as it’s less restricted than iOS. Still, Microsoft’s welcoming embrace of Android in Windows 10 with this app mirroring is just the latest in a number of steps the company has taken recently to really help align Android as the mobile equivalent of Windows.

Microsoft Launcher is designed to replace the default Google experience on Android phones, and bring Microsoft’s own services and Office connectivity to the home screen. It’s a popular launcher that Microsoft keeps updating, and it’s even getting support for the Windows 10 Timeline feature that lets you resume apps and sites across devices.

All of this just reminds me of Windows Phone. It’s only been three years since Microsoft launched its Lumia 950 Windows 10 Mobile device at a packed holiday hardware event. Windows Phone has vanished in the last couple of years, and Microsoft finally admitted Windows Phone was dead nearly a year ago. The software maker has now embraced the reality that people don’t need Windows on a phone. Instead, it’s embracing Android as the mobile version of Windows.

Microsoft’s Lumia 950

Microsoft’s best mobile work is debuting on Android right now, and if you’re a Windows user then Google’s operating system has always felt like the natural companion anyway. As Microsoft can’t replicate a lot of Your Phone functionality on iPhones, Android now feels like the only choice if you want a close mobile connection to a Windows PC.

We’re only at the early stages of Microsoft’s new mobile strategy of making iOS and Android better at connecting to Windows, but it’s clear the company won’t hold back on features to ensure they’re available on iPhones too. Bringing Android apps to Windows 10 PCs through a remote window into your phone is a useful and clever way of keeping Windows 10 users focused on using their PCs more.

This is all part of Microsoft’s bigger productivity push, and a renewed focus on “prosumers” that use Windows for both work and home. It’s encouraging that Microsoft is willing to embrace a rival operating system to deliver mobile functionality that we’d never see from Apple and Google unless you bought a MacBook or a Chromebook. Microsoft’s “for the people” fluffy message always feels like marketing, but this new mobile push is a good example of doing something that will actually benefit Windows 10 users, Android owners, and iPhone users.

Comments

I mean it kinda is the mobile version of Windows.

I think we’ve always thought that, but it’s good to see Microsoft embracing it aggressively.

MS had no choice really. Aside from iOS, all other mobile OS platforms are pretty much dead.

sure, but out of the gate (2010) they should have modeled windows phone more after android instead of ios. in the end they didn’t have the apps that ios has nor the versatility that android has, which ultimately made it absolutely useless. if they had done a ground up rewrite of windows mobile with modern frameworks/ui, they would have been golden.

Between their delays in getting WP out after the iPhone, and their constant re-jiggering of that OS 7>8, WP was kind of doomed.

Out of the gate they should have not been years behind, then Windows would have been Android. Android was the first decent iPhone alternative with a several year head start. Windows never had a chance.

Android was never decent. All mobile but now defunct OSes from that period were superiors in basics and foundation.

100% correct. Android flourished because it was free and first. Not because it was best in class.

Not even close. Windows Mobile was around before even iOS/iPhones. Nokia was also making smart phones before both Android and Apple.

Android caught on due to users liking it. They wiped OS kings Microsoft, and hardware kings Nokia off the map.

Exactly. The UI was a direct rip of SPB Mobile Shell developed for Windows Mobile.

What’s past is past. I applaud MS for moving in this direction. This allows them to get into the mobile phone space without having to build a phone. Although I am intrigued by a surface phone running android, with the MS launcher as the default launcher and their apps bundled in. Pair that with app mirroring and MS may have a winner.

Hum, I can see some more advantages of having the dual screen in their Andromeda project.

At least they got the new windows OS out of it- or vice versa. Then then went and change Windows on PC to be less mobile. Not sure I like that, esp not when I use the touch laptops. Funny thing about those- I keep thinking I can touch and interact with things on the $1500 monitor on my mac after a few hours of working on those laptops!

iOS is so locked down MS didn’t have a choice. Guess they are hoping businesses will opt for android phones due to this feature as well as put pressure on Apple to think a bit more openly about interoperability.

MS has been making iOS apps for a long time. Business tends to not go with Android because its far too unsafe and insecure. Interoperability is great but just as long as it does not come at the expense of safety and security. That’s usually where iOS and Android tend to have different philosophies in implementation. Android builds features first, thinks about security later. iOS lays down the groundwork of security first, and then builds features on top.

Hmm can’t say I’ve ever seen business steer away from android towards iOS with security as the deciding factor, of course in more sensitive industries this may not be the case but from what I’ve read even then usually there will usually be an approved list of devices and there’s always a choice of Android/iOS and usually Blackberry. More commonly from what I’ve experienced we tend to avoid iOS due to compatibility issues with enterprise systems, there was even issues connecting to enterprise WiFi on certain iOS versions.

And if you look at security hardened devices most use a custom fork of Android.

Most businesses use both Android and iOS, with the business encryption apps, they are both equally secure. But Android phones are cheaper, so it makes sense for businesses to use more of them.

I work in IT for a corporation with factories and offices in more than 100 countries, most phones we use are Samsung A3 and A5 models, a bunch of high end Samsungs and a few iPhones. We used Blackberries before we changed to Android and iOS.

Knox is a secure alternative to iOS.

The rest of Android though is a shit show for enterprise.

MS has been making iOS apps for a long time. Business tends to not go with Android because its far too unsafe and insecure.

hi, i operate mdm for my company, which is about 97% iOS. (2nd largest media company in the world) While security is a concern, it’s honestly traditionally been about app performance, bugs, and encryption. Before the last 18 months or so, a lot of android phones didn’t have hardware encryption, and enabling it (which is normal in the corporate environment) would destroy the performance of the phone. That was honestly more of a factor for us.

iOS is also wayyyyyy easier to support, when corporations go android, they go android for very few specific models that they then can provide support for, that too.

As for thedawn thinking that android’s open-ness is a plus to corporate types, that’s hilarious.

Also; backups.

Curious what people are using their phones for, other than email, and IM style communication apps (Slack, et.). Everybody uses apps, and plays games, but for business use, how much can you do on a 5 or 6 inch screen?

Our ceo almost exclusively uses his iphone for 100% of business.

we are in media so we have apps that are like showrooms for people to review shows etc. Then there’s video conferencing which allows sharing content, cloud storage apps, and your more typical stuff, email/cal/contact management, vpn apps as we are international all the time and to a much lesser degree, office apps.

there’s also some other useful stuff you can get thru mdm like access to internal sites / portals for things like your health options etc – sans vpn.

so it’s grown quite a bit.

I dont understand this crap that you are talking.

Seriously, is there something which iPhone can and Android cant? Lol

And what is mdm?

This comment is full of vague assertions and isn’t backed by any credible sources.

I dont understand the crap I am reading in this thread. Am I in 2018? Are there people who have never used Android? I mean the level of bull**** in the thread is mindblowing!

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