Microsoft reportedly working on Continuity Camera-like Phone Link feature

Code uncovered in the 'Link to Windows' Android app shows work on a feature to use smartphone cameras as webcams

Link to Windows on an Android phone with Phone Link on a Windows PC.

Microsoft’s Phone Link software may take a page from Apple’s playbook and let people use their Android smartphone as a webcam for their PC.

Android Authority performed a teardown on Phone Link’s Android companion app, ‘Link to Windows.’ App teardowns like this glean insight into upcoming features by studying snippets of code within the app. However, it’s usually worth approaching findings with a bit of skepticism since work-in-progress features may work differently than expected, if they even launch.

In Link to Windows version v1.23102.190.0, Android Authority found several chunks of code that suggest Microsoft is working on the ability to stream camera video from an Android device to a Windows PC. While the code doesn’t explicitly mention ‘webcam,’ it does seem like users will be able to apply effects to the video stream, such as blur, stabilization, HDR, auto-framing and more.

Android Authority also found code with text strings related to errors, including one that warns the mobile device is “too hot.”

The video functionality sounds a lot like Apple’s ‘Continuity Camera,’ which lets users turn their iPhones into webcams for their Macs.

Link to Windows’ code doesn’t mention any supported devices or apps yet. Presumably, it will work with most video-calling apps since the phone is simply acting as the camera, but that remains to be seen. As for supported devices, that’s another matter entirely. Microsoft tends to launch new Phone Link features for Samsung devices first before making them more broadly available — maybe we’ll see an announcement alongside the Galaxy S23 series reveal expected early in 2024.

It’s also worth noting that Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Seamless platform will potentially be another option for replicating Apple’s Continuity Camera on Android and Windows devices. It’s not clear if Microsoft will adapt Seamless into Phone Link and Link to Windows to power its phone-as-webcam capability.

Source: Android Authority

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