A week ago, Microsoft revealed its upcoming return to the smartphone hardware market. With the Surface Duo, the company is bringing a new form factor that runs on the Android platform. However, Microsoft did not explain how it would integrate its own services into the Surface Duo.
While the smartphone will run Android, we expect Microsoft wants to deeply integrate its own services into the experience. During the last week, we have seen how this may include support for UWP apps while the handset will also provide a perfect base for Project xCloud.
While those are interesting ideas, it is Microsoft's Your Phone that will provide the backbone of the company's services on Android and Surface Duo.
Your Phone is an app that allows Android users to mirror their smartphones to a Windows PC. Microsoft's development of the app has been relatively slow. Still, in recent months Your Phone has gained functionality, such as being able to mirror smartphone nitifications.
With its latest Windows 10 Preview on the Inside (build 18999), Microsoft has finally added the ability to take and make calls on a mirrored Android device on PC. Users can leave their phones in their pocket and handle all calls directly on Windows 10.
According to Microsoft's blog, the feature allows the following:
- Answer incoming phone calls on your PC.
- Initiate phone calls from your PC using the in-app dialer or contact list.
- Decline incoming phone calls on your PC with custom text or send directly to your phone's voicemail.
- Access your recent call history on your PC. Clicking on a specific call will auto populate the number within the dialer screen.
- Seamlessly transfer calls between your PC and phone.
While Your Phone provides a way for Surface Duo users to link with Windows, what about the other direction. I am still interested to see how Microsoft brings its Windows features to the device, if it does at all.
Just yesterday, we reported on the company expanding its Office Mobile app that is currently exclusive on Samsung smartphones. This app provides a one-stop-shop for Office apps instead of individual services.