Microsoft talks about cross-device experiences with Timeline and Your Phone

Yesterday, Microsoft announced new efforts to make cross-device experiences with Windows better, bringing Timeline to Android and iOS, as well as the new Your Phone app for Windows 10 to bring content across mobile devices and Windows 10 computers.

Today, at the second day of Build, Microsoft's Shilpa Ranganathan took to the keynote stage to talk more about how these experiences will work.

The head of cross-device experiences at Microsoft started by talking about how Android allows the company to create a "fully customized experience" for users with Microsoft Launcher and proceeded to announce Microsoft Launcher for Enterprise, powered by Microsoft Intune.

The business-oriented version of the app will allow IT admins to create a custom folder on the Home screen for all the work-related apps the user might need to use, keeping them in a secure environment. The feed is also adapted for business, allowing IT admins to send users security messages and give users access to their work-related apps as well.

Ranganathan then went on to talk about how Microsoft is trying to make phones "a great second screen for your PC", and with that announced that Timeline is coming to Android and iOS phones. Microsoft has been beta-testing Timeline integration into Edge on these platforms, but now it's going further by making it possible to pick up experiences from a computer on a phone.

On Android, this will happen in Microsoft Launcher, which will give users access to web pages and documents they might have been working on with other devices. However, iOS doesn't allow "launcher" apps, so Microsoft is integrating the functionality into Microsoft Edge instead. Even though it'll show up in its browser, it seems Microsoft is making it possible to access Office documents and other experiences using Timeline inside Microsoft Edge for iOS, providing the same Timeline experience as Microsoft Launcher does on Android.

Lastly, Microsoft showcased the Your Phone app, which will be included in a future release of Windows 10. The video seems to be a tech demo and not real-life use, but Ranganathan went over the features the company is adding to the app. Users will be able to access messages from their phone, and it will be possible to respond to texts from their PC, including drag-and-drop support for sending image files.

The Photos section of the app will give users access to pictures from their phone, allowing them to open and edit them easily through the Windows 10 Photos app.

Finally, the Notifications section presents all the notifications from the mobile device, and it assigns the notifications to the respective app or website on Windows 10, allowing users to interact with notifications right from a PC.

A specific release window hasn't been given for any of the features, but hopefully, they'll be making their way to Windows Insiders soon.

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