Your Phone app for Windows reviewed
Oliver: The following major Windows 10 update will include several goodies, such as Narrator improvements, better application scaling logic, new keyboard shortcuts, safer and faster Internet browsing, and so on. However, the biggest improvement by far is the new "Your Phone" app, which will help keep in sync SMS, photos, notifications and much more between your Android phone and any Windows-based PC.
Here's a quick example: if you take a picture using your phone, you will be able to see it on your PC as well. So, from now on you won't have to email those great-looking pictures to yourself; they will automatically be uploaded to the "pictures" folder on your computer. The same thing will happen with documents and files that need to be uploaded to online storage services such as OneDrive or Dropbox; Your Phone will take care of that for you as well.
This new set of exciting features is built into Cortana, even though (sadly) many of them won't work for iOS-based smartphones. Users who have devices running Android 7.0 or a newer version of the operating system are in for a treat, though; they will be able to see missed calls and SMS notifications, as well as find out if their phone's battery level requires immediate charging, for example.
On top of that, they can forward the mobile applications' notifications to their PCs on a per-app basis. This means that you could have all the notifications that show up on your phone's screen sent to your personal computer, which will become a centralized work hub.
Since both the smartphone and the PC can send messages back and forth, it will be possible to reply to the received text messages using your computer's keyboard. This will significantly increase typing speed and reduce errors, of course.
Microsoft has introduced the Continue on PC feature a while ago; it utilizes the Microsoft Apps application, which can be downloaded from Google's Play Store. This feature allows you to continue on your desktop PC whatever you were viewing on your phone's browser, and thus benefit from reading the news on a much larger screen when you arrive home, for example.
"Your Phone" takes this feature one step further, integrating a "Continue on PC" menu option in any mobile browser. You will be able to send content to one or more of your PCs, which must be tied to your Microsoft account.
Cortana will also allow you to set up reminders, which can then be sent to your smartphone as well. This will also work for location-based reminders, of course. You can create a reminder that is triggered whenever you visit your favorite coffee shop, for example. Then, when your phone's GPS determines that you are in the area, it will communicate this information to your desktop PC, which will fire back a notification, telling you that it's time to buy more coffee.
I am sure that this is just the beginning. Microsoft has designed an extremely useful application which has a great potential, so let's hope that developers will extend its functionality in the near future. It's true that iPhone users will not be able to benefit from many of its features, but this only happens because Apple doesn't allow third-parties access to the inner iOS functions.
James: All sounds well until you realize that the entire content of your PC is now accessible to anyone who can get hold of your smartphone, or manages to hack it. I will have to wait until Your Phone is released to draw more conclusions, but my recommendation is to avoid installing it until all the major security holes in the initial release have been patched.