Microsoft doesn’t have a smartphone of its own, at least not until the Surface Duo launches, hopefully in a few weeks. In the meantime, it seems to be fine making Samsung an extension of its desktop experience. The “long-term partnership” between the two, which actually only started last year, has already born quite a lot of fruit and actually goes beyond merely installing Microsoft apps on Samsung’s phones. With the Galaxy Note 20 and its integration with Windows, it almost feels like Samsung’s premier Android phone is Microsoft’s Windows phone as well.
Microsoft’s poorly-named “Your Phone” app has been acting as a bridge between Windows and phones, both Android and iOS, but Samsung’s Galaxy phones are getting some preferential treatment. An upcoming version of the app, for example, will let you pin your favorite Android apps on the Windows taskbar. That will make the app launch in a window of its own outside of the Your Phone window but the Galaxy Note 20 will have something special. Later this year, it will support launching multiple individual apps but only if you’re Samsung’s phablet.
The integration with Microsoft products doesn’t end there, of course. The two have worked to make it easier to move data back and forth between the Galaxy Note 20 and a Windows 10 computer, but only if you’re using Microsoft’s and Samsung’s apps. Samsung Notes get synced with OneNote which can then be used in Outlook, for example, while Samsung Reminders get synced with Microsoft To Do, Outlook, and Teams.
And, of course, there’s Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, the gateway to Microsoft’s cloud gaming, previously Project xCloud. Galaxy Note 20 pre-orders get the chance to select a Gaming Bundle that not only includes three months of the subscription but the new Power A MOGA controller and clip.
These are definitely tempting features, but only if you’re really deep into both Microsoft’s and Samsung’s ecosystems. The $1,000 price tag might still be too high a hurdle for most consumers, though, and that’s just for the least impressive of the two phones. Pre-orders for the Galaxy Note 20 start today while Xbox Game Pass Ultimate goes live on September 15.