Microsoft is increasing its reputation for creating useful and occasionally whimsical smartphone apps with the release of two new ones for managing expenses and syncing photos and other data with Android devices.
The company’s growing portfolio of iPhone and Android software has become an integral part of how it advertises its innovation to a wide audience, and its latest apps promise to continue the trend.
The first of Microsoft’s new apps is simply called Your Phone. The app, which has been available as a preview build since May, is designed to allow easier transfer of information between Android devices and Windows 10 PCs. Many of its features will be familiar to those who have used Apple’s iCloud, iMessage and other iOS and Mac synchronisation services in the past three years.
Android and Windows 10 users who download the free app from the Microsoft Store will now enjoy a whole host of integration services between their devices. When taking a photograph on an Android smartphone, it will automatically be synchronised to the user’s PC. Text conversations can be started from a computer, then continued on a smartphone and vice versa. Other data, such as any web pages that are open in Microsoft Edge, will show up on either device.
The Your Phone app is available free of charge from the Microsoft Store and requires an up-to-date version of Windows 10, as well as a smartphone running Android 7.0 or higher. Set up requires a user’s phone to be linked to their PC via Windows Settings. Microsoft has made no mention as to whether it is working on a similar app for iOS devices.
iPhone users need not feel forgotten however, as Microsoft has also released a preview build of a new expense tracker called Spend. The work of the company’s Garage development teams, Spend is not without competition on the iOS App Store, where there are already numerous personal finance management tools. Spend differs somewhat from similar apps by offering a comprehensive set of expense logging and tracking features with a friendly, simple-to-use interface.
The Spend app is also free but does not appear to have been rolled out in every App Store region as yet. Microsoft Garage projects are intentionally experimental and whether Spend will ever gets a wider release remains to be seen. Any expense information a user logs can be exported into a CSV file, which is a format commonly used by apps of this type, so data should be able to be uploaded to other finance software if desired.
While Microsoft continues to focus on its Surface line of portable touchscreen devices, its continued development of free apps for Android and iOS signal it has no plans to retry its hand at selling smartphones. Instead, it is leveraging the user base of these popular platforms to brand itself as a developer of all kinds of software, and thereby grow its audience for Windows 10 and other programs such as Office 365 and SharePoint.
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