I watched todays Galaxy Unpacked event for the Note 10 with anticipation that Samsung would bring it hardcore and they kind of did. The Note 10 has always been a symbol of leading innovation with Samsung and the Note 10 didn't disappoint this year.
Among the expected updates to the device like better performance, battery life, cameras, and a 5G option, there were new features such as the ability to use your Note 10 as a 3D Scanner, SICK!!! The S Pen also received a bunch of new added functionality that I can't wait to spend some time with.
What really got my attention was the ability to do iCloud like things that only the Apple Ecosystem has on your Note 10 and a Windows 10 computer. Let's talk about that for a moment and keep in mind that at the moment I am unashamedly writing this from an iPad because I can more easily include screenshots I took earlier during the keynote.
For years the experience has been much better across multiple devices for Apple users. The ability to answer calls and respond to text messages across your Apple devices is really convenient. Being able to AirDrop files between devices is something I use almost daily. Samsung has tried to create their own software to somewhat achieve this in the past but it lacked many features and was super unreliable.
Today, Samsung announced a deeper partnership with Microsoft. Before they got into the specifics, I thought they were going to announce that Samsung had just bought Microsoft or something. The presentation throughout the keynote seemed to overhype things just a bit to say the least. On top of that, you can now buy Samsung Galaxy devices directly from Microsoft. Microsoft has always had a pretty decent return policy so I look forward to purchasing my device from them if the return policy remains the same.
This deeper partnership includes better integration with Microsoft cloud offerings such as OneDrive. They also announced a new app coming to Windows 10 computers called Your Phone App. To top that off, DeX now works when connected to a Windows 10 computer. DeX was the operating system that let you use your Galaxy devices as a kind of desktop computer when connected to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. There are other integrations, but as far as using Android together with Windows 10, this is what I am going to focus on.
Samsung DeX and Windows 10
I liked the idea of DeX, but it just wasn't practical for any use case I have. Never did I have a monitor, keyboard, and mouse sitting there just for my phone. I used it a few times and just couldn't find a reason for it. This may be because I had an iPad and in the past Galaxy tablets, but it just wasn't very useful.
Samsung decided to make it work with something many Android users already have, which is a Windows 10 computer, and for those holding on to Windows 7 for some reason, you will now have a really good reason to upgrade.
DeX will now allow you to pull up apps on your phone and interface with your phone from your computer. This sounds more useful to me. In the past, we have needed apps to accomplish this, but there was a lot of lag and it often crashed. Hopefully this experience will be much improved.
Galaxy Note 10 and OneDrive
One thing I really like about my iPhone and iPad is that photos sync between devices without having to do anything. You can sync files between devices using cloud services like Dropbox, Google Photos, and even OneDrive, but the process took a long time. If you let OneDrive run in the background, it sucked your battery down. It would also use a lot of data if you allowed it to sync over your cellular data connection.
Due to these shortcomings, I would only allow OneDrive to sync when connected to a Wifi network which meant my stuff was never synced when I needed it to be. Most of the time you would also need the OneDrive app open as it was not always ready to go in the background due to Samsung's aggressive battery management.
I am excited to see how this new integration with OneDrive works as it will now be available within the Samsung Gallery app. Samsung has also had their own cloud syncing service, but it is horrible. It was impossible to get files synced using Samsung Cloud to my computer without a few workarounds. I hope Samsung Cloud is just gone and that OneDrive runs more freely in the background.
This also adds more value to OneDrive which until today, I had no use for at all. OneDrive has gotten better over the years but it's still kind of a copy of Dropbox and Google Drive with less functionality from a mobile device perspective. The OneDrive app is also pretty ugly. I hope they work on updating that as well.
Your Phone App for Windows 10
For those who spend their day with Bluetooth headphones in, you can keep them connected to your computer now because your Note 10 will push your phone call to your computer. Within Windows 10, you will soon be able to make and receive phone calls from your Note 10 and other Android phones. The Your Phone App is from Microsoft so in a coming update to Windows 10, we all should get it and be able to use it with our Android phones. Up until now, the Your Phone app was pretty useless. This update should be rolling out in September 2019.
Is this iCloud for Windows 10 and Android?
Not really. There is still a huge gap there. AirDrop from Apple is just about instantaneous. OneDrive will likely still take a moment to kick in and sync your files. I will likely still be relying on SendAnywhere to transfer files between my mobile devices and my Windows 10 PC.
There was no talk today about tablets. Samsung updated their Galaxy Tab S6 last month, but it likely won't see these features. Samsung's history leads me to believe that the Galaxy Tab S7 would come with it. With Samsung phones you often get security updates throughout the year but not new features. They save that for the next phone or tablet.
We will have to see what added functionality the Your Phone App gets when it updates next month. Hopefully it will come with a drag and drop file transfer function similar to AirDrop. That would be a game changer for Android if Microsoft could make that happen without forcing us to use OneDrive. I don't mind putting files in OneDrive, but when I want to send a file from one device to the other, I don't need it to stay in OneDrive. I just want it to go from point A to point B.
This is a giant step forward for Android users though. The fact that we will be able to do more than just get phone notifications on our Windows PC is huge. It is long overdue. This also made Windows 10 the obvious choice for Android users. It was a smart move for Microsoft to finally get this functionality added to their OS.
What do you think about today's announcement from Samsung? Are you going to order one or wait for the Galaxy S11 that will come out in Spring of 2020?