Windows could soon use Android phones as webcams

Code spotted in the latest version of Microsoft’s Link to Windows app suggests that users may soon be able to turn their Android phone into a webcam for video calls.

Android Authority recently tore down the app and noted that there isn’t any direct mention of “webcam” but said the accompanying strings of code indicate that this is the intended purpose.

The code references setting up a camera stream for your PC, including controls for switching between the front and back cameras and activating Do Not Disturb mode.

The strings of code are quoted from Android Authority below.

<string name=”camera_activity_launch_notification_content”>Tap this notification to allow your PC to stream your camera video</string>
<string name=”camera_activity_button_pause”>Pause Video</string>
<string name=”camera_activity_button_resume”>Resume Video</string>
<string name=”camera_activity_launch_notification_title”>Tap to start camera stream</string>
<string name=”camera_activity_lock_notification_title”>Unlock your phone to start your video</string>
<string name=”camera_activity_button_dnd”>Do not disturb</string>
<string name=”camera_activity_button_swap_camera_to_back”>Switch to Back</string>
<string name=”camera_activity_button_swap_camera_to_front”>Switch to Front</string>

Link to Windows app users might also be able to add stabilisation, filters, and HDR effects to video streams via their smartphones.

There is also an auto-frame feature similar to Apple’s Centre Stage. The following strings of code indicate these features.

<string name=”camera_activity_button_effects”>Effects</string>
<string name=”camera_activity_button_select_effects”>Select effects</string>
<string name=”camera_activity_no_filter”>No Filter</string>
<string name=”camera_effect_auto_framing”>Auto-framing</string>
<string name=”camera_effect_automatic”>Automatic</string>
<string name=”camera_effect_blur”>Blur</string>
<string name=”camera_effect_face_retouch”>Face Retouch</string>
<string name=”camera_effect_hdr”>HDR</string>
<string name=”camera_effect_night”>Night</string>
<string name=”camera_effect_soft_focus”>Soft Focus</string>
<string name=”camera_effect_stabilization”>Stabilization</string>

Android Authority noted that Microsoft’s Phone Link can already access your smartphone camera and video conferencing apps. However, this mirrors the app running on your phone.

The new Link to Windows app functionality could compete with Apple’s Continuity Camera feature, which lets users mount the iPhone to their Mac for use as a camera and microphone.


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Windows could soon use Android phones as webcams