Listen, the Windows Phone is dead. Yes, all two of you, it’s really dead. But that doesn’t mean Microsoft is done with phones. While the Windows OS might not have anything to offer to smartphones, that doesn’t mean smartphones don’t have anything to offer Windows. The latest preview build of Windows, available to PCs in the Insider Fast Ring, is beginning to address this with the addition of PC-to-phone linking. The feature is only available through Android right now, but iPhone connectivity is coming, too.
The offerings are pretty limited right now. With this build, you’ll be able to link your phone to your PC and, from there, do a couple things. You can take any link you’re looking at, and move that link to your PC by selecting “Continue on PC” with that link. That will “magically” open the link on your computer automatically or, if you want to open it later, add it to your reading list. The problem right now is that when it opens that link, it opens it in Microsoft Edge automatically – not in your default browser. If you’re using Chrome on your PC and phone, you’ll find that link to offer the same functionality, but with the additional benefit of acknowledging your preferred browser.
It’s primitive right now, but I think it’s a good sign of things to come. Microsoft knows it isn’t going to get us all on Windows phones, so it’s starting to invest in making our existing phones work with our Windows PCs. Being able to sign into your computer from your phone could follow, and an improved remote-desktop experience that treats your phone like a phone could even follow.
Logging out, logging in
Speaking of improved sign-in, phone-to-PC linking isn’t the only thing coming with this new build. If you still use Cortana with your PC, you’ll be able to sign out, restart, turn off, or lock your PC with Cortana. That has a pretty limited range and application, but it is, once again, a start. It’s easy to imagine that functionality being integrated into Cortana on Android and iPhone, allowing us to lock our computer through our phones.
Another interesting addition extends a previous enhancement. Currently, you can set your system up to automatically log back into Windows after an update so that the update will automatically complete, rather than waiting for you to log yourself in. Members of the Insider preview program can extend that to include any reboot or shutdown, making updates that much less irritating.