You can now pepper your Windows 10 desktop with Android apps... if you have a Samsung phone, that is

Also: A new Visual Studio Code and back to black for some Dev Channel Insiders


In Brief Microsoft's Your Phone has enhanced its Android functionality with a jump from single app support to the considerably more useful ability to launch and run multiple apps on the Windows 10 desktop.

The single-app version of the feature turned up during summer and allowed users to pin favoured mobile apps to the Start Menu or Taskbar of a Windows 10 PC. When selected, the app would then run in a window on the desktop. A neat tech demo, but a little limited.

The update, which is slowly making its way to Windows Insiders, allows multiple apps to be launched simultaneously.

There are inevitably some limitations to the preview code. Some apps, which block casting, simply won't work while others may need a touch-enabled PC for interaction. The PC and phone must also be on the same Wi-Fi network and, in a surreal twist, any sound produced by the app will come from the phone not the PC.

More seriously, considering the breadth of the Android ecosystem, only a very limited subset of devices are currently supported and all must be stamped with the word Samsung.

Microsoft's own take on the Android world – the Surface Duo – is conspicuous by its absence.

Windows 10 gains dark text on dark background in latest Windows Insider update

Perhaps channelling its inner Douglas Adams, Microsoft pushed build 20251 of Windows 10 to the Dev Channel last week and noted an issue where "some screens incorrectly have black text on dark backgrounds when dark theme is enabled."

We can but hope that clicking aimlessly around the dark screen will result in a black message box appearing, with black text admonishing the user.

Hotblack Desiato and Restaurant at the End of the Universe references aside, the release was a minor one, and included a fix for an issue that prevented Windows PowerShell launching for Insiders on Arm-based PCs. The team also fixed issues around Miracast and the Settings app, which had a habit of hanging after checking for updates following an upgrade.

In terms of known issues in the preview, as well as black text on dark backgrounds in some screens for dark mode users, drives might be absent from the Manage Disks and Volumes tool (necessitating a return to the "classic" Disk Management tool). Pinned sites may also be a bit wobbly and no Dev Channel Insider build would be complete without a bugcheck or two. In this case, some devices might throw up a DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION.

Housekeeping and polishing for October's Visual Studio Code

Microsoft continued buffing its cross-platform code wrangler, Visual Studio Code, to a high sheen in the beloved editor's October release.

Notable improvements this time around include a "local echo" mode for the terminal, allowing for UI update ahead of a server round-trip and improvements to the appearance of IntelliSense. The latter has received a resizeable suggestions UI and the ability to move the cursor in order to see more suggestions.

Source control has also received some attention, with Rebase and Clone (Recursive) commands added to the Git functionality and the commit message history saved in the source control input box.

As far as the Workbench is concerned, pinned tabs will now always show a pinned icon to make them easier to spot and extensions may be installed without synchronising. Extensions can also be installed via a right-click on a .VSIX file.

GitHub will continue to be a theme for the Visual Studio Code team into November, with work on the likes of GitHub Codespaces "being more involved than originally anticipated." ®


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