One of the Galaxy Note 10’s new feature is the ability to run its DeX mode inside any Windows or Mac computer. That “Link to PC” feature finally rolled out last week but users only had a few days to enjoy it. Almost all day Monday, users of Microsoft’s Your Phone system have been complaining about problem connecting their phones and the PCs and, since it was also the underlying technology behind Link to PC, Galaxy Note 10 users were also affected.
On paper and in practice, Your Phone does sound very useful. It allowed Windows users to access their compatible Android phones from their PCs or laptops, removing the need to switch between the two. It also allowed accessing files on the phone as if they were available directly in the PC.
The special Galaxy Note 10 version added DeX capabilities, running a version of the Android desktop in a window on the computer. You could drag and drop files into that window to copy them to the phone and even run Android apps on your Windows computer.
Unfortunately, the one fatal flaw in that setup revealed itself on Monday when users were greeted by a “Can’t connect message”. The connection between PC and phone is done directly through USB or Wi-Fi but the service requires connecting to Microsoft’s servers, most likely for authentication and telemetrics. And when that infrastructure goes down, so does the ability to access a phone that may just be a few feet away from you.
It’s definitely bad timing for the Galaxy Note 10, as The Verge notes, as it mars one of the new phablet’s key selling points. At the same time, it might also cause users of the Your Phone to now be more wary of the service that is ultimately dependent on Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure always being available 24/7.