Aside from a brief period with Nokia-branded phones and its now troubled Surface Duo, Microsoft’s presence on Android has mostly been on the software side. It has, however, tried to bridge the gap between mobile and desktop, primarily through exclusive features born out of its partnership with Samsung. Samsung isn’t the only Android phone maker, though, and Microsoft can’t risk alienating everyone else for too long. It might slowly be opening up some of those exclusive features to other Android phones, provided they’re using Microsoft apps, of course.
One of the perks that Samsung Galaxy phone owners enjoy is being able to sync their clipboard’s content with their Windows 10 computers. This happens via the Your Phone app on Windows and the Link to Windows service on Samsung’s side. Given the security and privacy issues involved, Microsoft said that such an integration is only possible in cooperation with an OEM but it seems that they have also found a way around it.
WinFuture reports that a beta version of the Swiftkey keyboard app for Android, which has been acquired by Microsoft, shows a new cloud sync feature for the clipboard. Since a keyboard is one of the authorized apps on Android for handling clipboard contents, this is able to get around to the technical and security limitations cited by Microsoft. And since Swiftkey is available on any Android phone, that also means users of other phone brands will be able to access the feature as well.
There will, of course, be some privacy concerns considering how this clipboard sync works. Like with the Samsung-exclusive feature, clipboard data, which may include passworsd or sensitive information, has to go through Microsoft’s cloud. Then again, those using or desiring these features may already have some amount of trust in Microsoft anyway.
It’s still uncertain when this feature will land in the stable version of Swiftkey and if it also needs an update from the Windows side to work. It’s definitely encouraging that Microsoft is finding ways to open up those exclusive Samsung features but it might be a while before the best features become available for all.