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Windows 10

New Windows Phone App

Okay, now I’ve drawn you in with a click-bait headline I need to clarify a little! For some time now Windows 10 has had a tightly integrated app called Your Phone which allows you to interact with your phone from the desktop. However, it doesn’t cater for the 50-odd percent of users who have fruit based phones. I’ve been working on closing this gap by creating an app for Windows which is now available in the Microsoft Store called Thy Phone.

The name came about because thy is an archaic version of your and the name also happens to rhyme with a popular phone type.

It uses functionality available in Windows 10 2004 and above to setup a phone device to use Windows as a handsfree device. This allows you to conduct calls through your PC microphone and speakers (or headset) and see call progress and incoming call alerts on your desktop. It also allows you to activate the Bluetooth Audio support so that you can play music, podcasts etc from your phone through your PC.

Finally when using an iPhone it supports toast notifications and mirrors those notifications directly in the Windows notification center. Notifications which uses actions can also be triggered directly from the desktop Toast.

I’ll be adding more functionality over time including Messaging support. I completed a proof of concept but I’m working on a new version of InTheHand.Net.Obex to make it easier to do this. That will also open up other functionality such as file transfers. Because these features all use standard Bluetooth profiles the app is not limited to just iPhones, you can even pair and use your Windows Phone or Nokia 3310 – whatever floats your boat!

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Categories
Windows Phone

Bluetooth HID on Windows Phones

Microsoft have already announced that Bluetooth HID (keyboard) support is finally coming in Windows 10, but it was quietly added in Windows Phone 8.1 GDR2. The problem is this update won’t be circulated to most phones. It is however present on the new Lumia 640 series. WP_20150511_19_41_09_Pro

It’s very easy to setup a Bluetooth Keyboard with your phone once you’ve paired the devices you just type when you’re in an app which accepts text input and it just works. That could be writing an opus in Word or a quick text message. As a developer there is nothing special we have to do to support this. There are a couple of things to be aware of:-

  1. If the keyboard has special function keys like volume, search, windows etc these do nothing (even if they map to a logical function on the phone).
  2. The Page Up and Page Down keys raise and lower the soft input panel on screen
  3. The keyboard won’t allow you to skip to a section in jump lists (like picking a mail recipient for example)
  4. Although it paired successfully my Symbol CS3070 Barcode Scanner doesn’t actually do anything (When in HID mode it should work as a Bluetooth Keyboard and put the barcode value directly into the keyboard buffer).

There are some interesting subtle visual changes in GDR2. The circular right-arrow button at the bottom of the start screen which provides an alternative to swiping to get to the programs list has been replaced with a more “Big Windows” all apps link

All Apps GDR2

Clear signs of the “oneness” of Windows which will follow!