With smartphones emerging as a more viable productivity tool, the need to improve cross-platform browsing between a smartphone and personal computer is greater than before. Tech companies are aware of this and have been experimenting with new ways to access smartphone content on the PC or vice versa, so they won’t have to fiddle between multiple screens all the time.
At the CES 2018 in Las Vegas, Dell unveiled a new tool called Mobile Connect which allows Windows users to access content on the smartphone on their Dell PC. The feature will come pre-loaded on all new Dell laptops in the XPS, Inspiron, Vostro and Alienware series. The software uses Bluetooth and WiFi to connect a Windows PC to an Android smartphone or Apple iPhone, allowing users to mirror the phone’s interface on the Mobile Connect app on the notebook. Users can receive and answer to messages and calls directly from the PC. So a text sent to an Android smartphone will be received on the Mobile connect app on the PC as well. The messages and calls won’t be limited to regular calls, but will work for messenger apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger as well. Dell isn’t first original equipment manufacturer to walk the path. Samsung’s SideSync also works on similar lines, but is limited to Samsung smartphones. Users can connect their smartphone to any Windows PC and receive and answer calls and messages without touching the smartphone.
Microsoft provides tools to make cross platform browsing easier. With the Fall creators Update, Microsoft added a feature called Continue to PC on Windows 10 and it is not tied to any particular OEM. Continue to PC allows users to carry their web browsing session on the mobile browser of an Android smartphone or Apple iPhone to the Windows PC wirelessly with a single tap. So if a user is reading a long article on Microsoft’s Edge browser on a smartphone and want to access it on a bigger screen they can use the feature. However, to take advantage of this, the user needs to be logged into the same Microsoft account on the PC and the Microsoft app on the smartphone.
Cross platform browsing is already available through a number of apps and requires users to configure them on both platforms.
Most popular social media apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram are available on both platforms. So if a user is working on a PC and gets a notification on one of these apps, he doesn’t have to go back to the smartphone all the time. Similarly, productivity apps such as Google Docs, Evernote or Microsoft Word allow users to access their files from any device in real time. Users can also book cabs from Ola on their PC and see their photos on Google Photos on a desktop browser. Google is reportedly working on a desktop client for its video calling app Duo. Its messaging app Allo already works on desktop browsers.