At Build 2017 Microsoft gave us plenty to be excited about, including the next big update for Windows 10 and a pair of Mixed Reality controllers, but one conspicuous omission was any talk of Windows 10 Mobile. Despite the complete absence of Microsoft’s smartphone platform, it may well have released the best smartphone app yet.
Windows Story Remix might be the linchpin of the Fall Creators Update for Windows 10, but in many ways it reminds us of numerous other mobile apps. The basic functionality of the app pulls together all of your images and video – stored both on a Windows 10 device or OneDrive – and automatically stitches them together into short videos.
It’s a feature we’ve seen in other apps like Apple Clips, Facebook Moments, and even as far back as the HTC One M7’s Zoe feature.
Other element seems familiar too. We’ve seen collaboration done well in the Cluster app, while Strum transforms video clips into short music videos. That’s not to say Microsoft isn’t doing anything new or better with Story Remix, and the fact that it has squeezed all of this functionality into a single app is an impressive feat.
The Redmond company’s long history with cognitive vision could mean you’ll never have to tag your friends and family another image. On stage, the software maker also demonstrated how users could easily change the focus of the video by clicking on another person to be its star.
The ability to take virtual objects created in Remix 3D and place them into your video clips enables anyone to create with mixed reality media. Adding digital avatars and special effects to regular video are far more interesting than the text and image overlays we’ve seen in video editing apps thus far.
It’s just a shame that the only way Windows users will be able to experience the app is on a Windows 10 device when the Fall Creators Update arrives. Yes, users can upload their images to OneDrive, but the vast majority of phone owners keep their own media stored on the same device they’ve used to capture it.
While Microsoft tells us it expects the app to come iOS and Android, it has made no mention availability on Windows 10 Mobile – though it should be fully compatible as it is Universal Windows Platform compliant.
Microsoft has never officially stated its done with Windows 10 Mobile, but the company has made it clear that it has made a fundamental shift in making the experiences of its apps great across all devices.
A Microsoft spokesperson explained “Now, we’re focusing on prioritizing our customers that also have an iOS or Android phone by opening up the benefits of Windows across platforms and delivering a continuity of experiences that meet our customers where they are.”
With other AI-driven apps like Pix and Selfie, plus a few other standouts like the Flow Keyboard and Translator, Microsoft is quickly building a unique suite of apps for other platforms.
While it’s great Microsoft is building mind share, we feel like its missing a great opportunity to launch a new version of Windows 10 Mobile. Of course, Microsoft would have to tackle other obstacles, like producing a standout smartphone and getting other apps onto the Windows Store, to make its mobile ambitions a reality.