Initially, it appears limited to photo syncing and Android handsets.
Back at its Build conference in May, Microsoft showed Your Phone, a Windows 10 app (with companion apps on Android and iOS) that helped bridge between the smartphone world and the PC world. The company showed syncing of photos, SMS messages, and notifications between the phone and the PC, hoping to put an end to time-honored traditions such as e-mailing yourself a picture you took on your phone just so you can use it on your computer.
The latest Insider Preview build of this autumn’s Windows 10 update, released yesterday, finally enables this syncing. Or at least, it enables the Windows-side portion of it. The phone-side updates are merely “coming soon.” An Android app, requiring Android 7.0 or better, will soon be available to handle the necessary work on the phone.
Initially, it appears that the focus will be only on the photo syncing (it’s the only thing Microsoft mentions in its latest blog post, and the screenshot above shows that there’s only a “Photos” section in the navigation bar). This is generally the easiest thing to sync, but it’s also probably the most useful. SMS integration will be Android-only anyway (iOS apps aren’t allowed to read or send SMSes), and notification syncing is going to be complex. Microsoft wants the notifications to be actionable on the PC, such that clicking, say, a notification from Instagram will open the Instagram app on Windows. This will be powerful and seamless if it works well but will require much more engineering effort than merely mirroring the notification text from the phone onto the PC.
Other aspects of Microsoft’s vision of an integrated phone and desktop are already available. I use the Microsoft Launcher and Edge browser on Android, so tabs I have open on the phone already show up in Windows Timeline on my desktop. Microsoft plans more integrations along these lines to, for example, make it easier to continue writing an e-mail on my PC that I started writing in Outlook on my phone.