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Windows 10’s latest feature means you might never pick up your phone again

Your Phone
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Windows 10’s latest preview build for the update due in the first half of 2020 has hit the fast ring and majorly beefed up the Your Phone app, giving Android smartphone owners the ability to make (and receive) phone calls directly from their PC.

Build 18999 (20H1) introduces the ‘Calls’ feature to Your Phone which lets you answer calls on your PC, or if you prefer, decline a call with some predefined text, or send it directly to voicemail.

You can also fire up a phone call using the in-app dialer or direct from your contacts list. Furthermore, Your Phone gives users the ability to transfer calls between the PC and handset in a seamless manner, apparently.

Naturally, calls will use your PC’s speakers and you’ll need a microphone hooked up to your computer.

Microsoft further noted that the app will also keep a log of recent calls – at this point, privacy activists’ hackles may well be starting to bristle – and you can access that call history and make calls to folks directly from there as an extra convenience.

Your Phone already lets you text from your PC and receive phone notifications on the desktop, and Microsoft is constantly developing the app these days, with the apparent intention of letting you do pretty much everything from within Windows 10.

One of the most recent other changes is the addition of a charge level indicator so you can tell if your smartphone has finished charging without actually having to go pick it up.

Calling all testers…

As mentioned, you need to be a Windows 10 tester to benefit from this feature, and rather confusingly, after introducing this functionality as part of the 20H1 update, later in the blog post, Microsoft says: “This feature will gradually roll out to Insiders on 19H1 builds or newer, so it may take a few days to be available inside the Your Phone app.”

So it will be a gradual rollout, which is par for the course these days, but seemingly it’s coming to 19H1 builds (or newer), with Microsoft noting that it requires a “minimum Windows 10 build 18362.356”, which is indeed the May 2019 Update (19H1). We’d have thought that this was perhaps a typo, and that it should be 19H2 perhaps, except for the mention of the specific build afterwards.

So we’re not quite sure what’s going on here, but it is clearly stated that this is a deployment for Windows Insiders and just in testing at this stage.

The other requirements, incidentally, are that you must be running Android 7.0 (or better) on your smartphone, and your Windows 10 PC needs Bluetooth capability.

No other major changes arrived with build 18999, although Microsoft noted that the ability to move (and resize) Cortana’s window, which previously began to roll out in an earlier preview version, is now available to all testers.