Winners and Losers: Microsoft brings iMessage to Windows as Ring revokes features for non-subscribers
It’s Sunday, which means it’s time for us to decide on this week’s winner and loser.
This week kicked off with a host of announcements from the floor at Mobile World Congress 2023, including new phones from the likes of Xiaomi, Honor and Nokia, a tablet from OnePlus, a smartwatch from Huawei and a pair of AR glasses from Oppo. However, none of these companies will be the focus of this edition of winners and losers.
Keep reading to find out why Microsoft swept up our winner title this week along with how Ring became our loser.
This week’s winner is Microsoft after the Windows maker confirmed it would be launching a version of its Phone Link software specifically for iOS devices.
With Phone Link, anyone using a Windows 11 device can access messages and calls from their iPhone on their PC.
The two devices sync using Bluetooth, allowing Phone Link to offer basic support for sending and receiving calls, messages and contacts from an iPhone on a PC. Unfortunately, support does not currently extend to group messages or media, meaning you won’t be able to send photos and videos to friends and family from your laptop.
Phone Link was previously restricted to Android devices, but now iPhone users will be able to access the same benefits as those using Pixel, Galaxy and OnePlus devices (among many others).
This is just one of many steps Microsoft has taken to break down the divide between the Windows and iOS platforms – despite Apple itself not appearing totally on board with the plan.
Phone Link for iOS is currently available only to Windows Insiders in its early preview stage, but hopefully we’ll see the app roll out for the rest of us in the near future.
Our loser this week is Ring after the company announced that it would soon be shoving a number of previously free in-app features behind a paywall.
Affected features include the Home and Away Modes and the in-app Amazon Alexa voice controls.
The Home Mode ensures cameras aren’t triggered when you’re wandering around your own house, while the Away Mode does the opposite, allowing you to keep an eye on your home while you’re out.
Alexa support is pretty self-explanatory – without this, you won’t be able to control the device with your voice.
Starting March 29, users will need to purchase a Ring Protect Plan monthly subscription to access either of these features. This means that Ring users will be forced to pay extra money to access features that were marketed to them as free when they first bought their camera or doorbell – and people are understandably upset.
This move from Ring serves as a painful reminder that companies can sometimes pull and release app features after you buy their device. If you were considering picking up a Ring doorbell, the update might make you think twice before choosing the brand.