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Microsoft Offers a “Continue on PC” Option for Android Phones

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Microsoft is trying to make your life easier.  Specifically by bridging the gap between your phone and your PC.  You’re likely familiar with the Handoff concept from Apple.  Where you can do work on your Mac, and then pick up where you left off on your iPhone.  Microsoft is now offering this same feature, but calling it “Continue on PC”.  You can only do it on your Android phone.  Which I think is a great idea.

Android phones allow users to customize their launcher, which pops up when you press the Home button.  Microsoft Launcher is based on Fluent design and allows you to further customize what you want to see.  In addition to “Continue on PC”, you can place icons of your favourite people on your home screen.  It also offers The Feed, where you can find your most used apps, recent news, important events, and more – all tailored to your needs.  You can access The Feed by swiping right.  This sounds really kind of neat.  Having icons of people that I call often would make it easier when placing phone calls.  I realize it’s one more step to open my phone app and go to favourites, but I still think this is a good idea.

The entire feature is useful.  But it’s been around for awhile.  Since iOS 8.  Which makes you wonder why Microsoft is just getting into this business now?  Maybe one of the most useful tools with Apple Integration is the ability to send iMessages from your Mac.  Which makes you wonder if you’ll be able to do that from your PC with the Launcher?

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When a new app or tool comes out on the market, I’m always very critical of them when they are so similar to another app or tool.  But in this case, I’m not going to be.  Mostly because it has to do with a different operating system.  If Apple came out with another Handoff feature, I’d be skeptical and voice that.  But this is for Android and PC.  So even if it is the same, it doesn’t make a difference.  And it could be identical and it would be ok.  We see this with the phones themselves.  They all have a lot in common, but the one thing that will always be different is which operating system the phone is using.

Microsoft Launcher is only available in preview right now, but it is open to any Android user.  If you’ve been using the Arrow launcher beta, you will automatically get the Microsoft Launcher update.  I do think this is a good move for Microsoft and I can see it being extremely useful for users.   The scenario that Microsoft paints is sone that I actually find myself in all the time if you can believe it:

“You’re standing in line at a coffee shop.  Your right thumb is stretching to drag out words on your phone’s keyboard while you squint to read the text on the web form you’re filling out.  It’s amazing what’s possible today – but don’t you wish your phone could magically send that task to your Windows 10 PC where you could luxuriate in a big screen and hardware keyboard?”

Overall, I think this is a good move for Microsoft.  If you’re using this feature on your phone/PC we want to hear from you.  Is it useful?  Are there any drawbacks?  Are you completely in love with it?  Let us know.