Microsoft and Samsung have a long announcement about Windows, Office and the new Samsung Note10 but there’s little really new.
Under the bland title “Microsoft and Samsung partner to empower you to achieve more” is a carefully worded press release which mostly goes over existing Microsoft products which are available in other Samsung products and other smartphones.
Let’s skip over the corporate phrasing that’s so often used that it’s lost any meaning. “empower people”, “share a vision for the future”, “the next chapter of our long-standing partnership” . Yawn.
And not forgetting Microsoft’s favorite (perhaps compulsory) PR word “excited” though they did wait until the second paragraph, so let’s be grateful for small mercies.
It’s all about trying to make using Microsoft apps on Samsung devices seem like it’s something better or special … when it’s not. Microsoft deliberately makes their apps to work on any Android device, not just one from a single manufacturer.
All the talk about apps for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote and OneDrive apply to any Android device with a recent version of the operating system. Same goes for iPhone and iPad.
Samsung already has a deal to pre-install the Office apps into new devices which is a convenience to customers who don’t have to select and install those apps. But how much of a burden is that anyway? The Office apps are free to comers with extra features for Office 365 customers.
What’s really new
There are a few small points of interest buried in the announcement. Your Phone is getting the long promising screen support. OneDrive Camera Roll and Samsung Gallery will be merged.
Most of the PR blurb talked about existing or upcoming features in Microsoft’s Android apps generally.
Your Phone on the Windows screen
Microsoft has been strengthening the links between Windows and Android devices with their ‘Your Phone’ system. It allows some level of connection between the two. For example, a text message or notification on the phone can appear on your Windows desktop. Photos can be swapped between the two.
Coming to the Galaxy Note10 is a new ‘Your screen’ feature. Using Windows (keyboard, mouse, touchscreen) to interact with phone apps directly.
That’s something Microsoft has been promising for some time. It’s likely to launch on the Note10 devices and later spread to other Android devices.
Your Phone is useful, when it works. For all of Microsoft’s hype ‘Your Phone’ has been tough to do. We’ve never seen anyone who has either got Your Phone to work or found it useful.
Later in the year, Microsoft is promising that Your Phone will let you make calls direct from your Windows PC via the linked Android phone.
Redmond calls this “meaningful innovation” while many customers would prefer the innovation to be focused on the basics of connections between Android devices and Windows computers.
OneDrive and the Samsung Gallery
Coming soon will be a merging of the OneDrive Camera Roll and the Gallery on an Android phone. OneDrive app can automatically save to the cloud a copy of any photo/video you take.
At the moment, when you take a photo or video, two copies are on your device. One in the devices Gallery and the other in the OneDrive Camera Roll.
That’s not only a waste of space but quite confusing. People delete photos from their Camera Roll and wonder why the deleted images still appear on their smartphone.
Combining the two photo/video folders into one is promised for the Note10 and later other Samsung devices.