As reported by Top Tech News
Windows phone users won’t be the only ones able to test-drive Microsoft’s new Windows 10 operating system when it comes out later this summer. The new OS, which Microsoft is touting as a “universal” system that delivers the same experience across any device, will also be available as a “Phone Companion” app on iOS and Android phones.
Along with the Phone Companion, iOS and Android users will also be able to install an application for Cortana, Microsoft’s “smart” digital assistant. The iOS and Android versions of Cortana will be able to do most of what it does on Windows phones and devices, although some functions — like the ability to activate the assistant hands-free by saying, “Hey Cortana” — won’t be available.
Microsoft also plans to update its Music app so iOS and Android users will be able to access and play music stored on OneDrive via their phones as well as via their PCs. All the updates are set to begin rolling out at the end of June, according to Microsoft.
An OS Experience that Goes Where You Go
“In a multi-device world where you move between your phone, tablet and PC multiple times a day — you expect your experience to go wherever you do,” Joe Belfiore, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft’s Operating Systems Group, said in a post on the Windows blog. “That’s why we built Windows 10 on a common core and enabled Windows Universal Apps, so people using Windows 10 for both their PC and smartphone experience will get an optimal, seamless experience as they transition devices throughout the day.”
However, because most people don’t have Windows phones, Microsoft, which is increasingly expanding its reach beyond just Windows devices, needed to find a way to enable that multi-device experience on the iOS and Android mobile platforms. It decided to do that via apps that will let users bring the functionality of Windows 10 to their iPhones, Samsung phones and other Android devices.
The Phone Companion app built into the new Windows 10 OS will let users “connect your Windows PC to whatever phone you own — whether it’s a Windows phone, Android phone or iPhone,” Belfiore said. When they launch the app on their PCs, Android and iOS users will be walked through the steps needed to ensure the Phone Companion works as it should on their devices.
Cortana Rolling Out in ‘Select Markets’ First
When Windows 10 is released this summer, users in select markets who upgrade their PCs to the new OS will also see the digital personal assistant Cortana automatically included as part of the operating system. Cortana will also be built into Microsoft Edge, the company’s coming successor to the Internet Explorer Web browser.
“That capability gets a lot better when Cortana can exist on whatever phone you have,” Belfiore said in a video describing the new Phone Companion app. The Cortana app will allow iOS and Android phone users to, for example, set reminders for groceries or track flights using spoken queries and commands.
“If your phone is in your pocket when Cortana has a reminder for you, your phone will wake up and buzz so you’ll get your helpful notifications wherever you are,” Belfiore said. “We set out with the goal of making Windows 10 for everyone — we know people have a wide variety of devices, and we’re going to ensure that Windows 10 works great with whatever device you have.”
Ahead of the launch of the new OS, the next preview build of Windows 10 — expected in a few weeks — will let members of Microsoft’s Windows Insider Program try out the new Phone Companion app. The Cortana companion for Android phones is set to be released at the end of June, while iPhone owners will be able to download it later this year. The updated Xbox Music app for iOS and Android users is also due for release in late June or July, according to Belfiore.