back to article Microsoft vows to bridge phones to PCs, and this time it means it. Honest.

Losing the smartphone war means Microsoft is taking PC-phone integration seriously again – including the never-quite-solved problem of getting desktops and mobiles to work nicely together. Quite why the worlds remain unbridged is a mystery to some. Or not such a mystery, if you consider the incentives involved. No single …

  1. ArrZarr Silver badge
    Go

    Feel free to call it conservative, but I've always felt that success would come when the bridge was a good, old fashioned arch bridge rather than some futuristic levitating bridge.

    Past attempts to bridge the gap have included huge redesigns (Windows 8) that worked on one platform but not the other (Windows 8) and have alienated swathes of the established user base (Windows 8).

    Being able to use a synchronised app on phone and desktop that connects the two seems like a good solution - at the most basic level, being able to treat a window on the desktop as a second screen for the phone and file transferring would handle >90% of what I occasionally wish was easier while connecting the two platforms.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Bridging the Gap

      Not entirely sure Windows 8 was not an attempt to have a Microsoft advertising and sales kiosk in every home, small office, medium sized business and average consumers trouser pocket...

      Fancy a hamburger? <u>Push the hamburger button now.</u>

      can't find hamburgerbutton? <u>push the blue Microsoft button</u> and our Help Assistant will be with you shortly (or a dubiously contracted support company)

      Hamburger button pressed!!!

      ---That will be $14.99---Delivery in three weeks.....Thank you for Shopping at Microsoft.

      1. ArrZarr Silver badge

        Re: Bridging the Gap

        No, but it was a decidedly un-conservative leap to a unified desktop and mobile platform which changed more than the vast majority were comfortable with and brought in some truly terrible design decisions in the attempt to combine both user experiences into one glorious mush.

        Now I liked Windows 8 on desktop - I'm one of those broken people who found it utterly intuitive, but I believe that a synchronised experience is a much better start than immediately jumping to a unified experience - especially as different user needs require different user experiences.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      >Past attempts to bridge the gap have included huge redesigns

      ?Win8 was an attempt to have a single OS across all devices, it didn't attempt to bridge the gap and actually link all your devices together.

      It's funny how way back in 2001 there was much talk of multi-modal interaction, but very little was actually delivered...

  2. malle-herbert Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Yep...

    This is totally not an attempt to slurp some extra data from your phone...

    1. Avatar of They Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Yep...

      I was recently forced to get windows 10 (don't, I am hating it) and it flashed up a pop up with a phrase something like. "Windows like all your devices" then links to download extra crud, the phrases around the headline were about keeping things the same across multiple devices. I clicked ignore pretty quick so didn't get the name or where it was taking me.

      I took it that they had a bridge for mobile devices but then I realised the way it was hinting was that it actually wanted my data.

      So even if MS did something beneficial I just see negative data slurping now.

  3. John Robson Silver badge

    Apple

    As you have mentioned do it quite well.

    Being a major player in one ecosystem (phones), and a small but significant player in the other (PCs) they have the incentive and generally manage the crossover quite well.

    The issue is that MS can't make a phone. The last MS phone I had was enough to put me off forever...

    It used to crash when it got a phone call.

    - The screen would light up and show me who was calling.

    - The ringer would *start* to go off, meant to be a 'ring' 'ring' tone, but it got stuck in the first ring and went 'riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii....

    - The vibration alert was meant to pulse, but it would get stuck in the first pulse as well... Bzzzzzzzzzzzz

    I had to physically pull the battery to reset the thing, then call back whoever it was that had called me.

    (At least I *could* pull the battery I suppose)

  4. Daedalus Silver badge

    Oh Goody

    Yes, let's add another malware vector to the network.

  5. 0laf Silver badge
    Meh

    It's almost like we once had a massive company with resources and skills that had a foot in both mobile phones and desktop operating systems and this company without any real competition could ahve chosen to develop an enterprise focussed synergy between its phone and desktop offerings that might have seamlessly linked its back end system as well.

    But then what company would want to tap into all those billions of corporate dollars when it could spunk it all up the wall, goodwill and all, chasing after the 5% of big private spenders that love shiny all whilst lying to the businesses and individuals that had bought into its earlier promises of joined up mobile and enterprise.

    If any company ever did that it would really burn people and piss them off. You'd think that MAYBE IF THEY TRIED TO DO IT FUCKING TWICE their earlier customers might not buy into the rhetoric.

    Just a thought.

  6. Peter Ford

    KDE Connect

    ... does some of these things

    but it doesn't show the phone display on the PC, or make calls (yet...)

    It certainly notifies me of incoming alerts and SMS, and I can do file transfer like the phone is a network drive.

    It can also use the phone as an input device, like a touch pad and a keyboard: might be useful in a presentation environment...

    1. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: KDE Connect

      It also allows you to send SMSes. Only problem is that you need to 'pair' devices and there doesn't seem to be an easy way to 'pause' the pairing, as I discovered the other day when I was happily konnecting with my phone to get some pictures off, and my music player kept pausing and skipping tracks. I hadn't 'disconnected' from son's phone after getting pictures from him, and he was having a bit of fun...

      ...until a message came through to his phone, that I was able to read. Not cruel enough to reply on his behalf though ;-)

      M.

  7. LDS Silver badge
    Devil

    They could have done that years ago... but wait!

    You need a cloud for that, of course, of how could you slurp data about that?

  8. PB90210

    Sounds like MS could be getting ready to launch their own phone.... no, wait... didn't they...

  9. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Mushroom

    They'll have to wait

    until all the developers that remember

    Windows CE

    Windows Phone 6

    Windows Phone 6.5

    Windows Phone 7

    Windows Phone 7.5

    Windows Phone 7.8 (aka Windows Phone 8 "lite")

    Windows Phone 8.0

    have died first.

    Or the procurement bods who got well and truly shafted by insisting on "Microsoft only" mobile devices to suddenly realise they had nothing to offer staff.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They'll have to wait

      Or the procurement bods who got well and truly shafted by insisting on "Microsoft only" mobile devices to suddenly realise they had nothing to offer staff.

      I have really enjoyed the spectacle of that little inanity unfolding, like a very predictable slow motion car crash. Even at the time the IT and Procurement types were agreeing with each other that being a "Microsoft shop" even in phones was a great, great idea, anybody following events was thinking about the gravestones of the phone OSs that you name.

      And whilst Microsoft were kidding themselves and these few clueless IT strategists and procurement types of the glorious future of Microsoft phones, the rest of us were saying "it won't work, they'll cut and run again, and any fools invested in the product will be shafted".

      Now where is our "We fucking told you so" icon?

      1. Tom 35 Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: They'll have to wait

        Who was it that used to go on about how great windows phone was and how great it was to have your computer look like a phone... Used to reject my comments about how great a full screen calculator on a 24" monitor was, or mocking the latest MS attempt at a phone OS. I wonder who that was?

        1. JimmyPage Silver badge
          Stop

          Re: how great windows phone was

          Here I have to agree. Windows Phone - certainly 7 to 8 was great. Much much cleaner feel than the slightly haphazard android look. And well thought out.

          Which makes it even more bizarre MS dumped it ....

  10. AMBxx Silver badge

    Um

    I use Onedrive for files - they're available across all devices.

    I use VOIP for calls and can answer on mobile. If I had a need for phone calls on my PC, I could find a softphone easy enough.

  11. David Lawton

    Hmm, sending and receiving SMS's from your computer, have Microsoft been at the photocopiers again? MacOS and iPhone have had this for half a decade and i love it.

  12. Nolveys Silver badge
    Windows

    Oh Goodie

    Hopefully this will just be another collection of half-baked alphabet soup "technologies" that will end up on the Microsoft trash heap in two years time.

    Though if history is any guide it will be a bunch of blatantly stupid and obligatory UI changes of value to no one. I don't think I could come up with anything worse than ribbons and tiles, even as a joke. The best I can do is "replace everything with dog asses", but that would probably be more usable than the current mess.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MS want your personal data from your phone

    to add to that they leech from your PC.

  14. Tigra 07 Silver badge
    Linux

    Don't trust them as fas as i can fling them...

    "Imagine being able to quickly drag and drop your phone's photos into a document on your PC in one swift movement – without having to take your phone out of your pocket."

    This is still Microsoft remember...All your files will likely have to go through Onedrive first, where Microsoft will keep a copy stored for the NSA. A subscription will be required to use this of course. And the EULA will also claim your first born for Nadela to eat.

  15. getHandle

    Sounds like a program I used to have

    Remote P800 for my Sony Ericsson, a decade and a half ago!

  16. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Delusional Thinking

    While smartphones are really very portable computers under the skin their usage is very different from a PC (laptop or desktop). Thus the nature of the applications and UI is very different. While some data can be shared between devices (see Apple) not everyone is thrilled at having this done. One security consideration is a phone is a lot easier to lose or get nicked than a PC so limiting the amount information it can access is a good idea. It seems Slurp has not quite gotten into the feeble minds that phones and PCs are used differently and that most people are perfectly happy with this. It is as if Slurp uses the geekiest focus group they can find to ask what features they crave.

    I personally go so far as to have different base email accounts for my Android phone and my main email. Nothing of personal importance goes to the phone email and I do not have any banking or shopping apps on the phone, limits the amount of damage losing the phone will cause.

  17. John Sanders
    Holmes

    There is a reason for no one achieving this.

    The reason is simple yet tricky to grasp.

    No one knows where to go with it, nor which problem are they trying to solve.

    Easy :-)

    I (in my infinite modesty) have been blessed with the means to know what's required to do this successfully but no one will implement it because it is what is good for the users and not the bottom line of <insert company name here>.

    It is easier to explain it than it is for people to grasp it's significance.

    All that it requires is to integrate a remote desktop type of functionality into the phone.

    You connect your phone with the usb cable to the pc and magically a window appears with your mobile screen, you double click on it and make it full screen, and use any app in your phone fullscreen with a mouse and a keyboard.

    You can copy and paste, drag and drop between your mobile and the computer when the window is not full screen.

    Done, that is the only stuff required, who has it done it? nobody, who will do it? nobody.

    Why? because few understand why that functionality is important. Bear in mid Microsoft does, they will not allow this, and Google does too, they know MS won't allow it.

    1. handleoclast Silver badge

      Re: There is a reason for no one achieving this.

      @John Sanders

      All that it requires is to integrate a remote desktop type of functionality into the phone.

      Seems like a good start.

      You connect your phone with the usb cable to the pc

      Why not bluetooth as well?

      and use any app in your phone fullscreen with a mouse and a keyboard.

      Any app? How about the one that makes phone calls? And lets me use mic/speaker on my computer?

      You're halfway there, though.

    2. GrumpyOldBloke

      Re: There is a reason for no one achieving this.

      The problem is Google not Microsoft. It would be easy to include RDP in the Android build, we already have Microsoft's MTP so why not one more MS protocol. RDP functions can be added to rooted Android devices so there is no great technical barrier to overcome. Google's vision for Android is a data slurping toy for selfies and cat videos.

  18. Dwarf Silver badge

    Experiences

    Had enough of those on recent years with Microsoft and generally they have been bad, so don't expect to see me as a customer for a very long time - if at all.

    Remembering who's in control of their equipment and what they want it to do would be a good starting point.

    Oh and forget the cloudy pay-per-month-through-the-teeth sales model and slurping of MY data too. If anyone is going to capitalise on that data, then its going to be me.

  19. TrumpSlurp the Troll Silver badge

    WhatsApp Web

    Gives you WhatsApp on the PC.

    Good starting point.

  20. mark l 2 Silver badge

    The Airdroid app for Android has been around for a good many years (I have had it on my phones going back to around 2012) it and lets you do a lot of what MS are proposing from within a browser window on your PC, as because it works in the browser it is platform independent so you can connect from any OS that has a modern web browser.

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      The Airdroid app for Android has been around for a good many years

      Gets very mixed reviews, contains ads. Would not use, unfortunately.

  21. doublelayer Silver badge

    sorry microsoft, you had this already

    I remember the days of Windows CE and windows mobile 6 devices. That's the closest they ever got. While those devices had very little connectivity, couldn't store much data, and had annoying restrictions on programs, they had a basis that could lead to what would be useful. At that point, you synced all your data over a cable, so that was annoying, but the theory was there: keep the same documents, e-mails, calendars, etc. on each device and make the programs to use them similar enough that you don't have to learn two, but not so similar that the interface for one of them is terrible. If they kept up with that theory, eventually uniting the two operating systems enough, they would have what people want if they want the two devices to be essentially the same. And people bought those devices, so they had an existing user base.

    The hardware of today and of five years ago would be perfect for this. Extra storage would allow for keeping all the documents stored, at least for most people, on the mobile as well as the desktop or laptop. WiFi and bluetooth would ensure sync was fast and occurred in the background, so things wouldn't be missing from one. That'd also lead to a ton of cloud customers for a your data is completely backed up a la dropbox solution. It would have ensured customers for microsoft, as its control over the desktop and office areas would have helped to drive the sale of "completely connected" mobile devices.

    They had the basis they could build on. So what did they do with it? They wrote windows phone 8. Well, I give up.

    1. Frank N. Stein

      Re: sorry microsoft, you had this already

      What happened, was Nadella became CEO of Microsoft. His only interest is "Cloud", and he lacks vision and skills to lead Microsoft much further than "Cloud". He can't seem to compute what is connected to "Cloud", what "Cloud" is used for as well as what it WILL be used for, and lacks the charisma to inspire anyone to do anything but bail on him. Worst CEO Choice ever made...

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