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Microsoft’s new plan for Windows on mobile: just use Android and iOS

At Microsoft's Build 2017 conference, the company has discussed plans to sync Windows desktop/laptop machines with mobile devices.

Published onMay 12, 2017

Microsoft so far hasn’t been able to compete with Google and Apple’s mobile platforms, with Windows products occupying about 0.3% of the smartphone OS market share at the end of 2016. Now, Microsoft appears to be eyeing a more “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” approach: PC’s don’t just love Windows 10 Mobile devices, PCs love all your devices, apparently.

At Microsoft’s recent Build 2017 conference in Seattle, the company discussed plans to help improve the user experience for those with Windows machines and other devices. This lofty goal will be achieved mainly through two new features: Timeline and Pick Up Where I Left Off.

Timeline will track your progress in a particular task on Windows 10, be it writing a document or sending an email, and then Pick Up Where I Left Off will let you resume your task at the same point on a different device. So, if you leave your home halfway through reading a news story on your PC, for example, you’ll be able to access it again on your phone to continue reading on the move — providing you have the Cortana app installed. The same applies for editing Word documents, or using third-party apps.

This is all powered by Microsoft’s nebulous Graph service, which is what will allow developers to link their apps to the PC systems.

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The success of this venture no doubt depends on how seamless the transition between the platforms is, but it definitely seems like a sensible move for Microsoft — the company has nothing going on with its mobile platform right now, but it does have a fairly popular desktop/laptop system with Windows 10.

As ChromeOS devices start to nip at the heels of Windows products — and become increasingly close to Android (users likely use Google’s suite of products on both) — this could be a way for Microsoft to increase adoption of its mobile apps, and ensure Windows 10 stays relevant.

The new features are due in the Windows 10 Fall Creators update. What are your thoughts on Microsoft’s plans? Let us know in the comments.

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