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At the October 2 Microsoft Fall Event, company officials demonstrated a number of Windows 10 and Office 365 features that they had already announced. But they also showed a glimpse of one coming feature that they had not shown before: Android app-mirroring.
App mirroring will allow Windows 10 users to see and interact with applications they have installed on their Android phones directly on their Windows 10 PCs. During yesterday’s event, Microsoft officials demonstrated how a Windows 10 users could participate in a Snapchat conversation without having to use Snapchat on their phones. Snapchat was mirrored onto a Windows 10 PC and users could type directly into the conversation window on their PC.
Given that Microsoft just began rolling out the Windows 10 October 2018 Update (a k a Windows 10 1809) on October 2, it doesn’t seem that this feature is supported on that release. Officials didn’t say when to expect app-mirroring to be available to testers or mainstream users. But this functionality seems to be a continuation of the work that Microsoft is doing in Windows 10 and the accompanying Your Phone application.
Android phone users already can see the last couple dozen photos taken with their phones on their Windows 10 PCs with the Windows 10 October update installed via the Your Phone app. They can edit, share and save these photos right from their Windows 10 PCs when using Your Phone. Android phone users also can see and respond to SMS messages directly from their Windows 10 PCs running the October 2018 Update.
It’s somewhat doubtful that this app-mirroring will come to iPhone users, given Apple’s tight control over the iOS application programming interfaces. Windows 10 users with iPhones can only currently share web pages from their phones to their PCs.
Officials didn’t say whether all Android phone apps automatically will be able to be mirrored on Windows 10, but I’d assume so. I’m thinking this may be a feature of the next update to Windows 10, which is currently in testing and known as the 19H1 update.
Android app-mirroring support on Windows 10 may lead some to recall Microsoft’s rather brief foray into allowing developers to bring Android applications to Windows 10 using the cancelled “Astoria” bridge technology. Microsoft dropped Astoria in 2016, claiming that it wasn’t necessary, given the company also was offering an iOS-porting technology (and most Android apps also had iOS complements). Microsoft’s iOS bridge is basically dead and not being actively updated or used by almost any (or possibly any) developers.