Millions of users use devices from different ecosystems. While some users stay within Microsoft, Google, or Apple for every device, it’s very normal for someone to use a Windows PC and an Android or iOS phone. To help users on different platforms have a more full experience, Microsoft outlines three items within Windows 10 to help cross platform users. In addition to Cortana officially coming to iOS and Android, the Phone Companion app in Windows 10 and the updated Xbox Music app on iOS and Android will help users bring their files and entertainment across their various devices.
The Phone Companion app, to be included with Windows 10, makes setting up cross platform services easier for users of iPhones and Android phones. After connecting your phone to your PC you’ll be asked which type of phone it is. Then the app helps you set up syncing your photos, music, documents, and notes between your devices. The app is only available on Windows 10 so you’ll have to be running a preview version to try it out. Windows Insiders will see the Phone Companion app in “a new Windows 10 Insider Preview build we’ll flight out in a few weeks”, with the Android app slated for “the end of June”, and Cortana for iOS coming “later this year”.
Microsoft’s blog post and video explain four ways that using the Phone Companion app will help users.
- Sync photos through OneDrive: It helps you set up OneDrive on your phone allowing any photo you take on your mobile device to be synced through OneDrive.
- Play Music through OneDrive: There’s an update on the way to the Xbox Music app for iOS and Android that will allow users to play their music through OneDrive. This feature is already on Windows Phone and is a great way to stream your personal music collection to your mobile device for free. Microsoft stated that “The updated Xbox Music app for Android and iPhone will be available in late June or July of this year, with “beta” functionality to enable playback of OneDrive music content.”
- Take and edit notes between devices: You can take notes through OneNote on your PC and have your notes show up on your phone. You can then edit those notes from your phone.
- Microsoft Office: You can work on and edit Microsoft Office documents on your mobile devices as well as your desktop.
Again, these features aren’t new but not every user knows about the cross platform options that Microsoft provides. These are a perfect example of Microsoft working across its massive user base and bringing more users to their software and services. The ability to stream personal music collections could be what draws someone into OneDrive. The ability to have notes from class accessible on any device may bring a new user to OneNote.
Microsoft has recently pushed to have their services and software across a wide variety of popular devices. While having software work across multiple platforms is a result of many users not exclusively being on the Microsoft platform, it will likely increase usage within their ecosystem.