App Mirroring Has Begun!

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App Mirroring Has Begun!

Last October we wrote about Microsoft’s expedition in linking mobile phones and computers to provide a seamless experience for users. Known as App Mirroring, the goal is to allows users to take any app they use on their phone and use it the same way on a desktop or laptop.  It was just a showcase idea at the time, but now the beta testing has begun!

App Mirroring:

We all love a fluid experience between our devices, yet up to this point in time there has been a noticeable gap between apps and how/if they can be accessed on a computer.  If you want to take your Snapchat conversation and continue it on a desktop, that can prove to be a feat.  With app mirroring the idea is that any app that you can use on a phone can be mimicked on a Windows screen.

We talked about how this could be exciting not only for users, but for developers too.  It could create another medium for experiences, and thus new types of apps could spring up.  Hard to say what, but that’s up the creatives of the world and I’m sure we’ll see some cool things.

Device Limitations:

App Mirroring is still a catchy term in my opinion, but the feature is currently named “Phone Screen”, and it has a few limitations.  Phone Screen will only be supported on certain types of hardware and requires users to use the latest beta Windows 10 Insiders build.  It will be compatible with Android phones running 7.0 or higher, so if you’ve bought a phone within the past few years you are probably in the clear there.

Additionally user’s PCs will need to support Bluetooth with Low Energy Peripheral mode. And with the Surface Go meeting these requirements, there will likely be a fair amount of compatibility between the app and tablet worlds as well.

Using Phone Screen:

To use Phone Screen as a beta tester you’ll simply open the Windows 10 Your Phone app.  In here you’ll be able to see a list of all your installed Android apps, and you can select any of them to open the same way you would a phone.

Currently only Windows Insiders running the latest test builds will be able to test app-mirroring (that’s how betas usually go), but it’s hard to say how long until its available to everyone.  Android users can already use the Your Phone app to see the last couple dozen photos they’ve taken on their phone.  So the first steps to bridging the gap are actually already here for all of us. It’s good to see that trend is continuing with App Mirroring

What are your thoughts on App Mirroring/Phone Screen?  Are there any apps it will be amazing to use on a desktop?  Let us know in the comments below!

 

Microsoft Moving Out Of Mobile

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Microsoft Moving Out Of Mobile

It’s the end of an era for Microsoft phones.  While back in 2017 Microsoft announced they were done developing new hardware for their devices, now they’ve decided to end support altogether.  Security and software updates will be coming to a close In December of this year.  It’s time to move on to an Android or iPhone.

Failure To Launch:

The company once had huge plans for their mobile phones, but things never really took off quite as expected. The Windows Phone 7 launched in 2010, but now less than a decade later Microsoft is moving out of the mobile hardware industry. Back then Microsoft touted that the emergence of their phones would be the death of both BlackBerry and iPhone. One of these has come true, but the other…not so much.

There are many reasons for the Windows phones not resonating with users, but a hefty one was the lack of apps in the app store.  Many popular apps on Android and iOS devices simply weren’t available for Windows users. Now Microsoft has decided to bypass this issue and instead focus on providing its services to other carriers. 

The Future of Mobile For Microsoft:

Microsoft phones may be done for, but the company’s future in mobile is far from over.  They’ve invested heavily in making Office products available on both Android and iPhones.  They also have a partnership with Samsung, who sells some of their Galaxy phones with Office pre-installed.

Android seems to be the mobile choice that Microsoft has embraced.  With an Android launcher and upcoming app mirroring support, users moving away from Microsoft phones will likely lean towards that option.

Moving Forwards:

It’s no huge surprise that Microsoft dropped support for Windows 10 mobile, since the same thing happened for the Windows Phone 8.1 in 2017.  While Microsoft will be playing a role in mobile phones down the road, their attention has shifted elsewhere.  They’re still a mega player in the tech world (we just wrote about their changes to GitHub).

Still, Microsoft is urging users to move to either one of the two main players.  They said “With the Windows 10 Mobile OS end of support, we recommend that customers move to a supported Android or iOS device.  Microsoft’s mission statement to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more, compels us to support our Mobile apps on those platforms and devices.”

What are your thoughts on the end of Microsoft mobile support?  Will these phones be missed or is it best that Microsoft focus their efforts elsewhere?  Let us know in the comments below!

 

Private Repos Coming to a Website Near You

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Private Repos Coming to a Website Near You

Chances are you’re familiar with GitHub, the web-based hosting service for version control.  It’s where many developers go to save their code online or share it with others.  While GitHub is free to use, if you wanted more privacy then that cost money.  At least it used to!

Free Private Repos:

Earlier this week GitHub underwent a change.  Users are now allowed to host as many private repositories as they want.  A dramatic change considering this feature used to cost $7 a month.  Private repos are free to use with up to three collaborators, and public repos still allow for unlimited collaborators.

The number of collaborators is the only real limitation on private repos, and the change is aimed at improving the version control experience for smaller fish in the development pool. The idea being that if you’re on a small team or an individual you won’t have to pay the fees larger companies do. 

GitHub’s Going Through Changes:

GitHub has been making headlines a lot in the past few months. In October Microsoft completed their $7.5 billion acquisition of it.  In November of 2018 GitHub passed 100 million repositories (and that number could sky rocket now that anyone can utilize private repos for free).

A number of pricing changes have come along with free repos, but this is the most noteworthy for individual developers.  Originally called GitHub Developer, the $7/month plan has been rebranded to GitHub Pro.  The company also offered GitHub Enterprise and GitHub Business Cloud for $21 each and has now consolidated them into one $42/month subscription.

Moving Forward:

It’s worth noting that these changes bring GitHub more in line with other version control services like Bitbucket and GitLab.  The former allows unlimited private repos with up to five collaborators, and the latter has no limit.

This is definitely a plus for GitHub users like myself, but it by no means that public repos will come to an end.  The development community thrives on open source technology.  That being said having options is certainly nice.  What are your thoughts on Microsoft making private repos free? Let us know in the comments below!

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