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The Windows 10 preview now lets you make and take calls with your laptop

Dialling up the functionality

If you’re a Windows 10 Insider that enjoys the heady thrill of a buggy preview build, then a little treat is heading your way right now. Preview Built 18999 (20H1) brings with it Calls – a feature that lets your laptop do the work of your Android phone.

This is an expansion of the Your Phone app functionality introduced in the October 2018 update, that lets Android owners respond to SMS messages and manage their photos from the comfort of their desktop. Now it has the added bonus of being able to make and take phone calls, as if your phone were an extension of Skype.

The difference, of course, is that here you keep your own number, but still get the benefits of dealing with a phone call on your PC: better speakers and a big screen. 

Microsoft says that Calls has six nifty features, as things stand:

  • It can answer incoming calls to your phone on the PC.
  • You can make calls on your PC, either using a dialer or your contacts list.
  • You can send incoming calls straight to your phone’s voicemail.
  • If you decline a call, you can send a custom text message from your desktop to the sender, just so they know you’re not being rude (unless said message is rude, of course.)
  • You can see your call history from the PC desktop. If you click a phone number, it’ll be added to the dialer, ready to call back.
  • You can seamlessly switch calls from the phone to the PC and back again, should you wish.

For this magic to come your way, you need a handful of things other than the appropriate preview build of Windows 10: the Your Phone app and a PC with Bluetooth. Your Android device will also need to be running Android 7.0 Nougat or later, which essentially means everything released since autumn 2016 will qualify, and quite a few before then too.

Again, this is a preview build for early adopters, so expect things to be a bit messy. In particular, Microsoft says that the recent builds have had an issue with some anti-cheating software for games which can cause PCs to crash. 
“We are working with partners on getting their software updated with a fix, and most games have released patches to prevent PCs from experiencing this issue,” Microsoft says – if you’ve got a lot of work to do, you may still not want to chance it. Regular Windows 10 users will get the opportunity to play with a (hopefully) bug-free version soon enough, after all.

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