Microsoft’s Continue on PC feature, which introduces a Share option on Android handsets which lets you open web pages from your phone on your PC is a grudging acknowledgement of the mobile first world we live in, but to live up to its potential it needs to be a whole lot better.
The feature currently offers itself in two ways – one as a share contract as in the picture above, offered when a URL is available to be shared in multiple applications, including Chrome and the web control on Android.
It is also however available in the built-in web browser in Cortana on Android, where the icon (above) is much more prominent.
There it works as in the gallery below:
Users can view a story, click on the icon, will be offered the option to Continue Now or Continue Later, and if you choose now and Edge is open the article will be opened a few seconds later.
If you choose to Continue Later the URL will show up in your Action Centre as a notification, which can be clicked to open the article in Edge.
The idea is relatively good, but there are some issues with implementation. Continue Later appears to be very buggy at present, as clicking on the notification often does not open the article in Edge. Secondly, the process is somewhat slow, due to the Finding your Devices bit, which takes a few seconds. Microsoft should be doing this in the background and caching the result, so the feature works instantly, which will likely promote use.
Thirdly, of course, there is the persistent complaint that sharing is only to Edge on the desktop, which is not used by 95% of desktop users. Microsoft could easily implement this as a Chrome feature by simply opening your default browser instead of their preferred browser. If Microsoft insists on using Edge then at the very least the browser should have a dedicated sidebar for shared URLs, especially Continue Later ones.
The biggest issue for me, however, is that the feature is not ubiquitous amongst Microsoft’s Android apps. Microsoft’s recently updated Bing app does not include the prominent Continue on PC button for example, and Microsoft’s Office apps on Android do not even support the Android share contract. Microsoft should be making this a default feature of all their apps on Android if they wish to weave a PC workflow into the mobile first world.
This of course also means there should be a reciprocal Continue on Phone feature, but that is a debate for another day.
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Have our readers used Continue on PC and have ideas how it could be improved? Let us know below.