At Samsung’s Unpacked event on 5 August, the company talked about the Galaxy ecosystem – a family of devices that are designed to work seamlessly with one another.
However, unless you own a Galaxy Book laptop, a more interesting development is the expansion of the partnership between Microsoft and Samsung.
In an official blog post, Microsoft revealed several ways in which the two companies would be collaborating, with arguably the most exciting being what it called ‘seamless connection between PC and phone.’
One of the most exciting features is a new Apps tab within Microsoft’s Your Phone companion app, which will allow users to natively run Android apps on Windows for the very first time. You’ll also have the option to pin Android apps to the Windows taskbar, intertwining the two operating systems in a way that hasn’t been seen before.
Why was this revealed at Unpacked? Well, Samsung’s partnership with Microsoft means new Your Phone features will come to Galaxy devices first, and it’s unclear whether some will be exclusive to Galaxy devices. Samsung’s One UI 2 has a ‘Link to Windows’ toggle in its quick settings menu, making for a near-instant connection.
There’s also the fact that Samsung’s own Notes app will integrate with Microsoft’s OneNote, which in turn will be readily available from the Outlook email client.
So, while technically the new Your Phone features will enable easy sharing of data between Windows and lots of Android phones, Samsung devices stand to benefit the most.
It begs the question: Can Samsung and Microsoft truly rival Apple when it comes to this ‘seamless connection’ between devices?
That’s difficult to answer in a few hundred words, particularly as the new features are yet to be fully rolled out.
The Apple Ecosystem was arguably born with the launch of iCloud in 2011 and has since become a major reason why someone would buy an iPhone or Mac over the competition.
Whether it’s instantly picking messages across devices, or using AirDrop to quickly share a file, these processes have become almost second nature to those using Apple devices.
Having to boot up a specific desktop app seems a little clunky by comparison, but it’s clear Microsoft and Samsung are moving in the right direction.
Apple’s unique position as the manufacturer of premium hardware and the software that it runs on still puts it in an enviable position. While Samsung and Microsoft might be able to bridge the gap, it’s clear that deeper integration between all Android and Windows devices is some way off.
Another key feature highlighted in the above video is using Microsoft’s xCloud to play Xbox games on the go. Interestingly, Microsoft has ended tests of xCloud early on iOS.