Microsoft 365 Cloud PCs are getting a lot more flexible, and they're on the way to your TV
Cloud PCs are on the way to smart TVs, phones, and more.
What you need to know
- Microsoft announced Windows 365 Frontline today, which allows organizations to split licenses for cloud PCs among up to three people.
- The company also shared that 2023 LG TVs support Windows 365 cloud PCs.
- Android devices, including the Lenovo ThinkPhone are getting an enhanced Widows 365 experience as well.
Microsoft has several new capabilities on the way for Cloud PCs that make them more flexible. The tech giant unveiled Windows 365 Frontline today, which allows organizations to split licenses for Cloud PCs between multiple people, such as shift and part-time workers.
Microsoft also announced that Windows 365 Cloud PCs are now accessible through LG's 2023 smart televisions and unveiled new capabilities for Android devices. The Windows 365 app is now available through the Microsoft Store as well.
Windows 365 on TVs
Microsoft only mentioned LG's 2023 TVs by name, but more televisions are expected to support cloud PCs in the future. Our colleagues at Tom's Guide have a piece breaking down all of LG's 2023 TVs, in case you want to pick one up.
"You’re going to see a lot of partners that are interested in this... you can imagine there’s probably a long line of partners that are interested in a very similar experience," said Microsoft Designer and Director of Windows 365 Scott Manchester to The Verge.
Support for LG TVs lets users access a cloud PC by connecting a Bluetooth keyboard and a mouse to a television.
Not Continuum, but close
A new Windows 365 experience is on the way for Android devices as well. "This new built-in experience will allow people to use the ThinkPhone to plug-and-play Windows 365 connectivity that finds and automatically configures their Cloud PC for use on an external screen," said general manager for modern work apps at Microsoft Wangui McKelvey.
Microsoft's post highlights the Lenovo ThinkPhone but mentions other Android devices in a general sense, so the functionality seems to be on the way to more hardware. The Surface Duo has a secret Continuum mode, which also relies on Windows 365.
That functionality will sound similar to anyone who remembers Continuum, a feature on Windows 10 Mobile that turned a smartphone into a PC when connected to a display. The main difference is that the Windows 365 experience is for a Cloud PC rather than processing being handled by a mobile device.
While the method of getting a PC onto a monitor is different, the Windows 365 experience will deliver the same benefit, people being able to run their own PC at a hot desk.
Windows 365 Frontline
Windows 365 Frontline is available in public preview starting today. It allows users to connect to Cloud PCs running Windows 11 or Windows 10. It's very similar to Windows 365, but Windows 365 Frontline supports up to three people accessing a system with a single license.
This setup is designed for shift workers or those that work part time. It allows an organization to pay for fewer licenses, since it's only paying for the Cloud PCs it is actively using. For example, a hospital could have employees working in shifts and transition between them throughout each working day. That hospital would only have to pay for the number of licenses it needed at any given time, not the number of people that need to access Cloud PCs.
IT managers will have a range of options to streamline how Cloud PCs are accessed, such as being able to log a system off a session if an employee forgets to log out. It will also be possible to set machines to log off automatically. A queue will be able to be set up for anyone waiting to use a Cloud PC as well.
Microsoft has a Tech Community post on managing on provisioning Windows 365 PCs.
More Windows 365 improvements
Windows 365 Frontline isn't the only improvement on the way to Cloud PCs. Microsoft is also working on Windows 365 Boot, which will let users sign in to Cloud PCs directly rather than booting up to the OS running natively on the machine.
Windows 365 Switch is also in the works. That feature places Cloud PCs within Task View in Windows 11, making it easy to switch between Windows 11 running natively on a PC and a Cloud PC.
The Verge reported that Windows 365 Boot and Windows 365 Switch are in private testing at Microsoft and are on pace to ship to general users later this year.
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Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at email@example.com.