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Microsoft's New Mobile Strategy: Create Windows-like App 'Experiences' For Smartphones (pcworld.com) 74

Microsoft is investing in Windows experiences on mobile devices, with a new app called Your Phone; a migration of Windows 10's Timeline productivity feature to phones; and an update to its launcher app for enterprises. The app, available on Android and iOS, is designed to provide a mirror of a phone straight to a desktop PC, and it will let Windows 10 users access texts, photos, and notifications from their machines. Features will vary depending on iOS and Android. From a report: While Microsoft is also expected to discuss some of the features of its next Windows 10 update (code-named "Redstone 5") at Build, the company indicated that it will be emphasizing cross-platform apps instead. Microsoft will discuss some of these in a Tuesday presentation by Joe Belfiore, who leads Windows "experiences" as the corporate vice president in the Operating Systems Group at Microsoft.

The idea, Belfiore said in a briefing in advance of the show, was that Microsoft needs to know what users are working on, across any device. "Whether you look at a Word doc on Android, iOS, or Windows, is irrelevant," Belfiore said. Belfiore was talking about Timeline, the feature that tracks your work in the Office apps or Edge, recording your activity in what Microsoft calls the Microsoft Graph. But Belfiore could have been talking about any hardware platform. Microsoft sounds like it wants to elevate Microsoft mobile applications to the level of importance of a PC -- making the actual hardware, and operating system, irrelevant.

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Microsoft's New Mobile Strategy: Create Windows-like App 'Experiences' For Smartphones

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  • Screens, I am just filled with anticipation ;)

    Just my 2 cents ;)
  • "Needs to know..." (Score:5, Insightful)

    by b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) on Monday May 07, 2018 @01:29PM (#56568048)

    Microsoft doesn't "need" to know what you, I, or anyone else are working on. It's not a big deal to re-open a document on a different device without giving your life's story to Microsoft (or any other Big Cloud company).

    This is just an excuse to loot your personal/corporate data under the excuse of a tiny bit more convenience.

    Also, the functions of phones and "desktop" devices (not really desktops, could be laptops with a keyboard) are orthogonal. The first are for brief communications, (yes) talking, recording of data (e.g. fitness tracking), and media consumption. But they stink at content production, which "desktop" devices excel at. Try writing several pages on a phone or many tablets -- it amounts to torture.

    • Microsoft doesn't "need" to know what you, I, or anyone else are working on. It's not a big deal to re-open a document on a different device without giving your life's story to Microsoft (or any other Big Cloud company).

      This is just an excuse to loot your personal/corporate data under the excuse of a tiny bit more convenience.

      Also, the functions of phones and "desktop" devices (not really desktops, could be laptops with a keyboard) are orthogonal. The first are for brief communications, (yes) talking, recording of data (e.g. fitness tracking), and media consumption. But they stink at content production, which "desktop" devices excel at. Try writing several pages on a phone or many tablets -- it amounts to torture.

      Yep, I would never write that much on a keyboardless device. However being able to review a document I'm working with while on the run is great for me.

      • Sure, but Microsoft doesn't need to know what I'm working on for this to work. I can open a copy of the document read-only from the cloud-storage (or private server) of my choice.
        • Sure, but Microsoft doesn't need to know what I'm working on for this to work. I can open a copy of the document read-only from the cloud-storage (or private server) of my choice.

          Fully agreed on this point, I prefer cloud storage servers with encryption keys I hold on to.

    • Title summarizes parent post.

    • Also, the functions of phones and "desktop" devices (not really desktops, could be laptops with a keyboard) are orthogonal. The first are for brief communications, (yes) talking, recording of data (e.g. fitness tracking), and media consumption. But they stink at content production, which "desktop" devices excel at. Try writing several pages on a phone or many tablets -- it amounts to torture.

      While I generally agrre with that statement, I often find that I write several pages of a document (think 12 in the last one I wrote) in my desktop-bound laptop (with true keyboard, true mouse, and external monitor in portrait mode). Then I let the documet simmer, and re-read it a few times, making a few edits here and there each time. And for re-reading and small editing, a Smartphone or tablet is a very convenient device, because it allows me to re-read and edit when there is time, or when inspiration str

    • I can't believe I'm actually going to play devil's advocate on a post I actually agree with...

      Microsoft doesn't "need" to know what you, I, or anyone else are working on.

      This is true. However, browser-based productivity suites are very popular for lots of people. In addition, as much as you and I would be happier with some sort of a self-hosted compromise, like a partnership between OnlyOffice and Synology to make a browser based productivity appliance that's accessible from anywhere and stores data locally, the reality is that far too many people see Google Docs as $0 and no techn

      • Does anyone assign children to write documents on a tablet? Chromebooks seem to be gaining popularity in lower education, while what I see in higher education is about a 30:30:30:10 mix. Macbooks:Chromebooks:Windows:Linux. Any of those things is closer in form factor to a laptop, not to a tablet or phone.

        It would take much LONGER to write a paper on a tablet -- if I had a kid with that assignment, I'd show them how to type it on a real laptop, then copy the thing to whatever tablet their school was tryin

        • Does anyone assign children to write documents on a tablet? Chromebooks seem to be gaining popularity in lower education, while what I see in higher education is about a 30:30:30:10 mix. Macbooks:Chromebooks:Windows:Linux. Any of those things is closer in form factor to a laptop, not to a tablet or phone.

          It would take much LONGER to write a paper on a tablet -- if I had a kid with that assignment, I'd show them how to type it on a real laptop, then copy the thing to whatever tablet their school was trying to force down people's gullets.

          I completely concur. However, "technology in education" is like Communism - one of those great ideas whose real-world implementation never, ever looks anything like the brochure. If a school was sold on a one-iPad-per-pupil solution, you'd better believe that the point of the assignment is to justify the purchase of the iPad, rather than for an educative activity to have been performed. It obviously varies from school to school, and I begrudgingly share your preference for Chromebooks to tablets in this con

    • I'd love to be able to come home, dock my phone into a charging KVM station, and use it like a desktop.
      • (provided the phone is capable of running an OS that doesn't stink on the desktop)
      • >> I'd love to dock my phone and use it like a desktop.

        Have you tried this on your existing kit? A Bluetooth Keyboard and Mouse works on my Android phone, as does a USB-C to HDMI adapter.

        The trick is finding a bluetooth keyboard that doesn't suck.

      • by jezwel ( 2451108 )
        You can do what you want with newer Samsung phones and their Dex dock - I think the latest iteration might finally support >1080p monitors too.

        I would imagine this is why MS is looking to provide their apps everywhere and deprecate the device/OS. Your data is in OneDrive, and whatever you are working on is available immediately in their experience app.

  • by swschrad ( 312009 ) on Monday May 07, 2018 @01:31PM (#56568066) Homepage Journal

    aka "failure." you broke the user experience in Win 8 and plowed it under and used it as an artillery range in Win 10. get rid of the idea that big-screen PCs and little-screen phones are the same thing, they aren't, and stop trying to graft Presentation Manager or Quantum on top of Windows.

    • by Agripa ( 139780 )

      aka "failure." you broke the user experience in Win 8 and plowed it under and used it as an artillery range in Win 10. get rid of the idea that big-screen PCs and little-screen phones are the same thing, they aren't, and stop trying to graft Presentation Manager or Quantum on top of Windows.

      But if they do not do this, then how will they leverage their desktop monopoly onto smart phones?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If you're looking at Microsoft's offerings for business products, they're making a big push to provide a unified experience across platforms. With 365 you can have your office docs and email on smartphone apps, tablet apps, browser, and what I'm going to to call "Office Classic" - That is the old office suite that is both ancient yet ubiquitous and still commands a lot of revenue.

    One account controls all of the above (Apps are free to download, and you log in to use them) and provides cloud storage so your

    • Outlook Web Access and Teams on the web are pretty damn good except they're just too slow. We have a bunch of Surfaces without enough SSD space to install Office 2016, so we made those users use the web interface. The problem is the users are starting to rebel against it. We're considering going back to an older version of Exchange and back to Skype.

    • One Ring to rule them all,
      One Ring to find them,
      One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

  • This type of stuff reminds me of Terminal Emulator Apps who added GUI Buttons, and form like input boxes, to Make your old Console Terminal Based application look more like a PC App. The features are just to make sure people don't migrate off the old legacy system, and stop buying licenses for the Terminal Emulator. This is just screaming, Mobile makers don't make Windows irrelevant, we will give you this fancy tool so you don't go off Windows.

  • That word shows they're a bit out of touch with what users want. They want programs and web sites to be reliable, fast, and have interfaces that make sense with features that are needed and without ones that don't make sense like "social" features.

    Ever dealt with a user "experience" consultant? They talk a lot about how users feel or why they do things. It's never about getting actual work done. The five we've churned through wouldn't even look at web analytics. The last one refused since they claimed

  • you already have models in Adroid and IOS, if it's the fact that you want a Windows kernel underneath for app developers then don't hold your breath Microsoft. Nobody wants to deliver for a platform that you constantly change or drop focus on from a business perspective. Of course Microsoft can port their own bloatware onto a phone with their own O/S but unless they pay third party developers to port popular applications, the app store will be a bit barren. Oh wait, that's like it is in Windows 10 now wit

  • OK, Microsoft finally realizes that they kinda suck at creating a mobile-specific OS, (WinCE, Windows Mobile, etc) and that full blast Windows isn't a good fit on a mobile device. This is good. But Microsoft still needs to be a player in this space, hence a mirror application rather than an OS. I can see where this would make sense to Microsoft strategists.

    Thing is, with apps like Good (as much as I personally dislike it) that already give encapsulated access to Outlook, and are more well known and a lot

    • It also occurred to me just now that Microsoft seems to be abandoning the "one OS to rule them all" approach and starting to concentrate on apps, which I think is a much better fit for the company moving forward.

      If nothing else, this helps to "future proof" Microsoft technologies, as apps are easier to make work in radically different spaces than an OS is. (And with PC sales stagnant, having a presence in other spaces is doubly important.) Let Google and Apple continue to create the framework, and Microso

    • by sinij ( 911942 )
      Actually, Microsoft's Windows 10 on mobile was an excellent OS. What MS sucked at is convincing people to pay for it. It wasn't perceived as upmarket the way people view Apple products, and it wasn't being given away for free to everyone the way Google does with Android. So MS didn't manage to become cool and couldn't beat free.
    • by swb ( 14022 )

      The problem is they're prone to crippling apps that could be useful in the mobile space by chaining them to their own cloud services.

      I find OneNote to be useful on the PC and it even manages to work with the documents synced with Dropbox, but it's chained to OneDrive, which I don't use. It would even be kind of useful if I had to manually import the data files.

  • It is really fascinating. MS consistently delivers bad quality, ignores their customers, messes around, and _still_ they rake in cash like crazy...

  • If I'm understanding the summary, and I very well may not, this is exactly what BlackBerry Blend [blackberry.com] did on BBOS 10. It was quite slick being able to throw my device up on my big screen and use the PC keyboard to finish that email I started while on the bus.
  • No sane person wants a Windows phone, presumably because it gives them a "windows-like" "experience" on their smartphone (since it runs feckin' windows.) and M$ wants to make OTHER things on phones act as shit as windows? Are they high?
  • Isn't this just like Zeitgeist, Gnome Activity Journal or Unity Dash? I've been using Ubuntu on the desktop for a number of years now and using Zeitgeist, Zeitgeist Explorer, Gnome Activity Journal and more recently Unity Dash to look at my document and application history and context. These aren't my only "go to" methods for finding historical activity on my Linux system but they are nicely integrated and useful at times. I'm pretty sure that Zeitgeist has been around since before 2008 and Gnome Activit

  • For a new record for how many mentions of Microsoft you can get on the front page.

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