Microsoft, Apple and Google have been trying to unify computing experience across devices for sometime. Apple seemed to have the best shot among the three tech giants since it controlled both hardware and software experience. However, it’s handoff has not really translated into a feature that it was previously envisioned. Google, on the other hand, is also trying to unify experience with cross-platform syncing on Android and Chrome OS but that experience is still not widely available.
Like Apple and Google, Microsoft also envisioned an ability to pause and resume applications and services across multiple devices. While it had the most versatile solution of the pack with its Unified Windows Platform (UWP), which shares a common source code regardless of device form factor, the adoption of the technology was never swift. But Microsoft is not ready to give up on that idea anytime soon.
At Build 2018, Microsoft announced that it is bringing Windows 10’s Timeline feature to Android and iPhone. The Timeline feature was pushed to nearly 700 million Windows 10 users as part of April 2018 update last month. With Timeline, Microsoft does not want users to just start an app on their PC, and resume it on their mobile phone. It rather wants the feature to be your gateway to get back to an application, photo or video.
On Windows 10, Microsoft lets you go back in time up to 30 days to find things that you have been working on using Timeline. Now, that same experience will also be available on Android and iOS devices including iPhone and iPad. This is another example of how Microsoft is bringing its own features to rival platforms instead of going after them by limiting its services to Windows.
On Android, the Redmond-based software major is taking advantage of Microsoft Launcher app to bring the feature. With Timeline on Microsoft Launcher, it plans to enable cross device app launching experience. On an iPhone or iPad, Microsoft Edge browsing sessions are already included in the Timeline experience on a Windows 10 PC. At Build 2018, Microsoft announced that consumers will be access Timeline on an iPhone with Microsoft Edge.
Watch: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon First Impressions
It is now clear that consumers might be using Windows on their desktop but their mobile device will definitely be powered by Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android. By bringing Timeline to Android and iOS, Microsoft wants consumers to start their work on desktop and resume them on these mobile ecosystem without much effort. But considering the walled nature of Apple’s iOS and lack of native application support on Android, it needs to be seen how well the feature performs in real life. However, one cannot deny how handy this feature will be, especially when it lets to pick applications and work files dating back to 30 days.