Microsoft details how Windows 10 will work with Android and iPhones

The company is focusing on the more connected world where technology is swapped and mixed on a daily basis. You could be rocking a tablet one minute and be enjoying a film on your smart TV the next. Microsoft wants Windows 10 to be center stage. It's clear Microsoft is seeking to include those who choose to use products from other vendors simply by analysing the new services launched for iOS and Android alone.

The Phone Companion app is also touched upon in the blog post, which enables you to choose which phone you own - be it a Windows Phone, Android or iPhone. The tool will help those with the latter two get set up and configured for a seamless experience. There are various bonuses to using Microsoft's own services too, including Xbox Music.

"With the latest upcoming version of the Music app, you'll be able to store and access your music from OneDrive not only on your PC but now also play it anywhere, for free, on your iOS or Android phone (this already works on Windows phones). This means the music playlists you spend hours putting together on your Windows 10 PC will now show up and be playable on your phone, automatically."

Cortana will also be making her way to Android and iPhones, which will connect to Windows 10 as a companion app. Using the Phone Companion app on Windows 10 will aid those with both platforms to get started with Microsoft's personal assistant. It's a neat move by Microsoft to include more consumers into the Windows ecosystem by making it easier to get connected.

"At Microsoft, we want everyone to love not just their Windows 10 PC, but all the devices they own, working with their Windows 10 PC."

So, how does one get involved? You'll need to join the Windows Insider Program to test out the Phone Companion app on an upcoming Windows 10 Insider Preview build, which will be out in "a few weeks". Cortana is also expected to be made availabe for iPhones and Android handsets by the end of June, alongside the updated Xbox Music app.

Source: Microsoft

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

267 Comments
  • Cue wailing and gnashing of teeth.
  • This is a bad move for Windows Phone, good move for Windows on desktops and laptops.
  • Not really. Its great for the entire ecosystem.
  • It's a great move for windows as a whole. It's important for MS to look beyond phone coz that ship sailed. Windows phone will always be used and loved by its loyal fans and it will reach around 20-30% world wide.
  • I have to confess that I was one of the nay sayers that believed MSFT prolifiration of what I call key windows features to competing platforms is bad. But I have since realized that is not entirely true. When competing devices uses all these new, well thought out and robust windows features on their devices and enjoyed them, they will be tempted to try windows phone to explore if there are deeper integrations of these features they are missing; that is when they would see that windows rich features on these platforms are jolly good, and that they are jolliest best on windows phone. From investment point of view, google opted to abandon windows phone, Apple does not put her services on any other phone platform outside iPhone and iPad, but MSFT put theirs on all these major platforms, meaning MSFT is willing to go to competing platforms' turf to compete and make money. If Cortana works well on these platforms as I hope, Bing will make ad money like its black Friday as a search engine behind that scene. Alao, wait until these competing platforms try MS-Edge I have come around to what MSFT is doing and I think it needs to be giving time for it all to jell, Windows 10 is major key in gluing all these together.
  • Reason to buy a windows phone? none. Back to android. Atleast switching between apps doesnt bring up the loading screen for half a minute especially when using the disgraceful skype app. It was a great small community here for win phone fans but I dont see the point any longer.
  • Who in the f*ck would buy a Windows Phone because there was a built in companion app? That doesn't even make any sense lol. I don't even see the logic in "well, now there's no reason to buy a Windows Phone" yeah, like you were going to buy one just so you could use the companion app.
  • Hahhah hollow threat troll love it!
  • WINDOWS PHONE fan knows what they love in windows ... as a windows phone user i will say its a great move... becaause when an Android or Iphone user will use a windows phone aps on thair phone, and if they loves it... they should think about using windows phone.. and the RANK will increase ...
  • I used a 1020 last June I found out it was not getting full on Denim I started to think about going back to Apple even as a Windows Technical Preview.  I was one of the lucky ones that got the ASUS in a contest on Android Central  I will see how Cortana works on there before I make my full on decision as to what platform I will go to. I will not buy Microsoft Office by the year we don't use it often enough to make it worth while. I am more than pleased how MixRadio is working on both my iPod and ASUS Phone.  What this platform needs is APPS plain and simple without the Apps people use on a daily basis they will still have a issue attracting more users. Also people still want a flagship phone one with all the bells and whistles which I thought I had in the 1020 but oh so wrong.
  • Precisely.
  • Agreed!!
  • Nope it'll draw more people.
  • I tend to agree IF they make sure that the experience on Windows 10 phones is superior to what they can get from their other platforms. In that case, it's sort of like shareware and will almost certainly draw more people in. To a lesser extent, it will draw people into using Windows 10 on desktops and possibly tablets. That should help improve the app ecosystem and we will also derive some benefit from that such as more equity in app selection (which will eliminate one of the things keeping people away from WP).
  • Not an if really.  Look at the iPhone companion app.  Install this app, login, configure.  Install next app, login, configure.  Rinse, repeat.  Apps aren't an integrated part of the OS and not default.  Windows 10 Mobile?  Login when you turn on your phone, done.
  • it'll draw more people to Windows 10 PC, Android and iOS. With Android and iOS you get everything that WP10 have without the disadvantages of WP10 that has much less apps.  
  • This. Was going to go windows mobile, there is NO reason to switch from Android now, none. I already get the goods! Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • "I already get the goods" You were seriously going to switch to to WP because of a companion app? Lol wow...
  • Why not? That's the main hangup with the platform aside from a couple of features the OS still lacks. If it had the apps I used on a regular basis, I'd pull mine back out of the drawer and stick a SIM card back in it.  Until it gets those apps, meh, it'll stay where it is.
  • Liar
  • Fiann   I tend to agree IF they make sure that the experience on Windows 10 phones is superior to what they can get from their other platforms. In that case, it's sort of like shareware and will almost certainly draw more people in. To a lesser extent, it will draw people into using Windows 10 on desktops and possibly tablets. That should help improve the app ecosystem and we will also derive some benefit from that such as more equity in app selection (which will eliminate one of the things keeping people away from WP).
  • And... it will cut into Google revenue by taking away some Google searches and services.  Google doesn't make money by selling Android, they give it away and make money on ad revenue from services.  This is a direct attack on Google services.  I bet Google hates this.
  • nothing to fear until MS goes platform agnostic. They have got to abandon that WMA shit.
  • Actually, Microsoft makes money out of Android through patents...
  • Its not. It will actually draw the people out of Android and iOS to Windows. If you use android and you will love the cortana experience and more and more you will love the windows its just a matter of time when you buy a windows phone.
  • But nobody cares about "personal assistand" also known as feature that is never used cause doing it on my own is faster
  • Really? I disagree. In SOME cases it's faster. But adding things like appointments, reminders and alarms is definitely faster with Cortana for the most part. So is enabling/disabling quiet hours (I replaced it in the action center with internet sharing). Some of that is likely to change with Windows 10, but Cortana is definitely easier when it works for a lot of things.
  • You will come around. Do you even have Cortana? Because once you start using it, you will not want to go back. It is great and will only get better.
  • ...unless the Cortana experience is already on your Android or iOS.
  • It will never be the same as Cortana won't have the same level of deep hooks in iOS and Android compared with native Windows.  This is what Satya means by "services everywhere but best on Windows".
  • yea. sure. i really love windows and wp. but as they showed in recent years.....they dont give a crap for wp. better integration? i doubt. better integration means an additional work for their wp counterpart, which i dont see in nearly future, maybe only when/if wp reach 15%+ market share
  • android is open source. Cortana can be integrated as deeply as developers want it to be. On rooted devices, I imagine that cortana could completely replace google now.   iOS on the other hand, it is going to be an awful experience: User: "Hey i am going to use cortana to search something" *hold down home button to bring up cortana* Siri: "what can i do for you?" User: "i wanted cortana" *press home button* *swipe to home screen with cortana icon* *press cortana icon* Cortana: "what can i do for you?"
  • Android has not been opensource for a while now, the opensource part is completely buried and has not been updated or maintained for a long time. Google has not done anything but add in their closed source replacement components. The bare 'open source' part of Android has no access to the services and functionality these closed apps and closed parts of the OS offer.. A good read on this is HERE   On a Google Android device there is no way Cortana can get that deep and if you think that rooted device are actually making a dent in the numbers as far as users go you're mistaken in a major way. Google will _never_ allow any other service but their own to get a foothold on Android devices that use their apps and services. And without those Android is really a horrific and outdated pile of junk.
  • Skype says hi Posted via the Windows Phone Central App for Android
  • It could have the hooks into Android.  And it might on some platform where it comes bundled from the manufacturer.  With Samsung already on Bing services... Well, Cortana replacing the Google Now voice assistant is only logical.
  • Why would I want to switch to Windows Phone if I already have the best Microsoft experience on iOS and Android? Seriously everyone knows Microsoft apps works better on those platforms.
  • I think a big part of what you're missing here is that phone and desktop share the same OS now. Or will anyways. Unless you think that MS is going to make things like xbox music and Cortana work better on iOS and Android than on Windows desktop and Xbox too then I think you'll find the experience to be better on their platforms. At worst you might have a period of time between when those are available and when W10 is available for our devices that it lags. But even then I'm doubtful. Did you notice how it mentions that they're getting features that we already have (like streaming from OneDrive). And Cortana will never be as useful or as integrated on iOS at least compared to WP.
  • Its the os as well. Android is dreadful. I'm only back from Samsung galaxy 6 edge. . Never again. I thought I was missing something. Nope not a bit. Apart from about 2 apps. . But quiz up is on its way to wp anyway. . I sold the Samsung and got my self a beauty . The Nokia Lumia 930 white and gold. . I'm so glad to be back to this fantastic OS.
  • So the real question is why do you post here then? I know misery loves company but still...
  • Part of it is in the video - "Of course, if you have a Windows Phone, there's pretty much nothing to do"
    All this magic just happens on a WP, you have to set it up on the others.
  • Yeah. Look at how iTunes on Windows made iPhone compatible with Windows PCs back when people needed iTunes in order to sync media files and apps, as well as for activating and updating the iPhone OS. This made people who weren't Mac users become part of the Apple eco system. Later on, when they bought an iPad, they realised that the platform was kind of good and they started looking at Mac computers, accepting the Apple design language and eventually they bought Mac computers. I think this is what Microsoft is trying to do: launch a complete suite of services on competing platforms to make people (re)discover Microsoft services and move back from Mac computers to Windows computers and Windows phones. Of course, the same goes for Android device owners, except not many people who own Android units also own Chromebooks. The majority of Android owners are Windows desktop/laptop users, so in this case they only need the Android owners to start using Windows devices more, not leave the platform.  
  • Yes, this ^............if they can convince people using Android phones and tablets to upgrade their PC's to W10, and buy W10 PC's in the future, its a win for the platform.  Same goes for IOS users - a lot of whom have been buying macbooks, etc. lately.  Macs are not going to overtake Windows as a whole, the enterprise use alone is just not obtainable on OSX - but, if they can keep these IOS users happy with Windows on their PC's, and keep them buying PC's with Windows on it rather than Macbooks, they will keep those people happy.  When they see the integration between W10 and W10 mobile, they will be intrigued, and maybe want to try out a Windows Phone..........
  • Microsoft doesn't have the brand recognition or the brand loyalty that Apple has.  Apple is still viewed as Premium, rightly or wrongly.  Their products are priced in such a way that's its impossible for a Mac to be viewed in the same light as the average Windows PC:  Average, Ordinary, Commodity, Cheap. Microsoft's not going after that kind of business model.  They cannot replicate that unless they take risks they are not willing to take (becasue if OEMs start to move on, then they will eventually start courting corporate clients with alternatives i.e. Enterprise Linux distros from Red Hat, Novell, Oracle, etc.).  Look at how pissed off some OEMs got when they got into the Tablet Market. What Microsfot needs to aim for, is to get someone to dedicate one device/screen to their OS - whichever one they choose.  It may be a Phone, or a Desktop, or a Notebook, or a Tablet, or even an Xbox.  But they just need one screen to give the user a reason to consider their services and other software (like Office, Xbox Music/Video, OneDrive, Bing, Outlook.com). The point isn't to try to lure hte user in to lock them in.  It's to make it "comfortable" for them to go out on a limb and get, keep, and use that one Windows device they decide to get without feeling like its value is degraded simply because they didn't go "all in" with Microsoft. It means if you get a Windows Tablet, you can still interact with Cortana on your iPhone (which improves her for when you are on that Tablet).  You can still use Bing on your iPhone, and even get Bing Reward Credits.  You can still Sync all your PIM Data on your iPhone.  You can still access Office and Skype on your iPhone.  OneDrive, OneNote, etc. That's the point.  Not trying to take over yoru entire digital life, but being okay with being the odd-man out among your gadgets and embracing it while increasing its value by proliferating the services connected to it to other platforms you may use in addition to it.
  • You can downvote all you want, but I'm pretty sure Microsoft is going in a similar route to what I'm suggesting, becasue there's no way in hell the average consumer is going to just go all in with their products services they way they go all in for Apple's stuff.  The two companies aren't even thought of in the same way. Whether we like it or not, Microsoft is not thought of as Cool, Hip, Premium, or Exclusive.  Their OS is commodity because it's the one that people get just for buhing a new cheap PC, not the one they actually have to think long and hard about purchasing because of the price disparity. The nature of Apple's pricing model and market position means they get most of the users who are more willing to buy into an entire ecosystem and dump money into the storefronts. Microsoft's goal should not be to replicate that, becuase they simply cannot due to the way Windows is sold and proliferated.  Their goal should be to find a way to be a factor in the home's of those more "attractive" users which Apple has a virtual monopoly on these days.
  • Apple premium. Flip its so over in my opinion.
  • I'm not even sure if you're speaking English...  Did you even read anything. I'm talking about the general perception (which Microsoft is actually furthering with thier device strategy) not what may or may not be the actual case. Yes, Apple is thought of, generally, as a premium brand compared to Microsoft.  There are even tons of discussions on this very site where people are questioning whether or not Microsoft should have branded their phones with the company name, due to reputational/marketing issues with it as a brand...
  • You can't draw those who are embedded on their OS/ecosystem of choice. If they can use MS's ecosystem on iOS or Android, who needs to switch. Only fanboys would say such a thing as wp10 will draw other users to wp. No! That's not how It works. MS's and the fanboys best bet is to target new and dumb phone users.
  • It's not fanboyism, it's real psychology. The more you are exposed to something, even if it's subtly, the more likely you will be drawn to it in the future, even without being consciously aware of it. So if a person keeps seeing and/or hearing Windows 10 and then sees it in a phone, he or she may actually strongly consider it that time. You've got to wet the appetite first before serving the main course.
  • Been 6-7 year appetite already. Not gonna make a dent regarding WP strategy. Maybe in the emerging and some European countries, not US or China...
  • Psychology ceases to matter when people realize it's going to be near impossible to watch their iTunes movies on their Windows Phone or Xbox One, or that they have to repurchase 15-20 apps (games) ranging in price from 0.99 to 6.99 (before Tax, and that's ignoring IAP they may have purchased on their "home" platform), and that they have to actualy pay for productivity software on their desktop, among other things. At that point it becomes less about psychology and what your "subtly exposed to" and more about cash money and sheer annoyance/inconvenience. Saying they should eat the costs simply because you think the platform is "superior" and they'll only have to do it once isn't going to cut it.  It basically ramps up cost of the device.
  • Just an FYI, a lot of apps allow you to transfer your iphone/android purchase license to their WP counterpart. I know this because I have done it myself with ,ultiple apps when I moved from Android to WP.
  • I've jumped between Android and iOS 3 times in the past 18 months.  Everytime I move platforms I delete my Google Account because I don't need it if I don't have an Android phone.  There is literally no developer who has given me a free license on Android.  One gave me a free license on iOS, and I had about 15-20 Apps that were cross platform on my Google Account and had all the purchase confirmation emails/order numbers, etc. to prove it. The risk isn't worth it. Just becasue I bought a Windows PHone doesn't mean I'll be there forever. Also, it's not just about apps. What about Movies and Shows you bought via iTunes?  What about eBooks you bought in iBookstore?  Magazines in Newsstand? None of that carries over, I doubt Microsoft will give them to you for free just because you bought a Windows Phone, PC, or Tablet, and they can be a significant investment for some people. Additionally, the people who invest decently in one ecosystem are the ones who are most likely locked in beyond just that one device.  Those are the people who probably have an AppleTV, or an iMac, or an iPad, or a MacBook *in addition* to their iPhone.  It's a much harder sell to get them to move over, and those are the people that are most worth bringing over because they're the ones who will make sure the developers get paid.
  • If I were MS, my goal would not be to convert users because like your statement conveys, its not easy as ones thinks converting those heavily invested in their ecosystem. What MS should do is target those first timers and dumbphone users, and those heavy on office. Commercial the hell out of the next flagship giving consumers reasons why Lumia's should be their choice of smartphones. And i can wholeheartedly say right NOW, iPhone and google bashing ain't gonna work. Not a compelling reason to switch or purchase a WP. WP division could learn alot from the Surface's.
  • It definitely worked for Apple.  A lot of the recent converted Mac users are previously Windows users having hooked on Apple products like iPod and iPhone.  This is the same play with MS except in reverse.
  • Same play with what? People loved the iPod iPhone in many regards. MS needs to have something to show for with the new "UI." So far, nothing compelling.
  • If Microsoft has to choose between surviving in desktop/tablet market and phone market (with low % market share), of course they will choose the former. If this strategy works, it will benefit the whole ecosystem and hence Windows Phone in the long run. It's a long battle.
  • The say that every year.
  • It's actually a great move.
  • So it means i can go back to iPhone and use all the apps that are lagging on WP and get all MS features just as they're on WP? Because i use Xbox music, Xbox live and cortana the most. I bet they'll give away edge to iPhones and Androids soon too
  • Whatever it is, I am very sure the apps on other platforms will be far, way faar smoother than what we WP ppl will be getting.
    No one thinks of low end phones. Does MSFT even know how long it takes for Cortana to actually open up on a Lumia 520?? Fed up of those crappy Loading+Resuming screens, I end up using Google on the Internet Explorer. Why release Low End phones when they cant even handle the core apps.
  • "why release low end phones". Are you stupid or something??
  • Dude, have you ever tried a low end phone? You spend half of yoir life seeing the Loading+Resuming screens on it.
  • Yet you fail to realize that low end phones gain market share.
  • No they don't! Apple never had a low end phone and Samsung gained market share and recognition because of the popularity of the Galaxy S.
  • When was Lumia 520 released?
  • Doesn't matter.  When you update an older device and it gives a subpar user experience, you're basically putting that out there and allowing it to stand as representative of the user experience on the platform.  This is why sometimes you just have to cut a device off.  At some point the performance and/or amount of features you have to cut to keep it performing make it unworth the investment.
  • It's a companion app, they're not releasing their complete OS.
  • You got it bro. These WP fanboys don't love in reality.
  • So are they virtually lovers?
  • I think so. Dam auto correct.
  • You've obviously never used the atrocious Xbox Music on iPhone or Android else you wouldn't have even made such a comment.
  • Cue blind loyalty and Microsoft Kool aid drinking.
  • Cortana for iphone and android? I still haven't got Cortana with Lumia in my country and language...
  • Shouldn't be any. It's been pretty well proven across all industies that platforms don't succeed because of "exclusive" features, they succeed by providing better experiences. If Windows 10 Mobile provides the best experience with Microsoft services it will gain marketshare as adoption of Microsoft services improves. If it doesn't provide a better experience than iOS and Android, then yes it's dead, and that's the OS team's fault - not the rest of the MS service portfolio's. Android got where it is largely because it had a first-rate integration with Gmail, Chrome and Google Search. 3 things that lots people loved and used every day. They are available on iOS, but that didn't matter because they were better on Android. Not better because they had "exclusive features" but because they were seamless. If Windows ca