Currently, there’s no need to rely on one of the top webcams for video calls and meetings, as several third-party apps allow you to use your phone as a webcam. Even Apple has joined in with its Continuity Camera system, and now Microsoft seems to be following suit. According to Android Authority, Microsoft is working on integrating this functionality into its Phone Link app, which facilitates the connection of Android phones to Windows. This could be a significant advantage for those who prefer not to invest in a separate webcam when they already have high-quality cameras on their smartphones.
Android Authority reports that code in version 1.23102.190.0 of the Phone Link app indicates that the app will provide the ability to set up a camera stream on your computer, with controls to switch between front and back cameras, enable Do Not Disturb, and more.
Furthermore, it appears that there will be a variety of video effects available, including HDR and night modes, soft focus, image stabilization, face retouching, and more. There’s also an ‘auto-framing’ feature that sounds similar to Apple’s Center Stage.
Plenty of competition
While Phone Link can currently access your camera, it only mirrors video-calling apps on your phone. With the new code, Microsoft seems to be working towards integrating video-conferencing functionality directly into Phone Link.
It is unknown which devices will support this feature, but Android Authority speculates that it could be limited to products that have Phone Link as a system app, such as several Samsung Galaxy phones and the upcoming OnePlus 11 running Android 14, for instance.
When – or if – this feature becomes available, it will face tough competition. For example, the Camo app is an excellent tool for using your phone as a webcam, offering a wide range of controls for refining your videos. Microsoft will need to put in considerable effort to compete with this.
It’s important to note that there’s no guarantee this feature will be included in Phone Link. Microsoft may simply be experimenting with it and could potentially discard the feature before launch. Time will tell, but if Microsoft can replicate what Apple has achieved with Continuity Camera, it could be a valuable addition for both Windows and Android users.