Samsung introduces feature that transforms Galaxy phones into laptop webcams

Your webcam may be about to get a lot more mobile thanks to an update from Samsung.
Written by Artie Beaty, Contributing Writer
The Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra running Adobe Photoshop.
June Wan/ZDNET

Several months ago, code began appearing in the Link to Windows app that hinted the service may soon add the ability to use a cell phone as a webcam

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It appears "soon" is here, at least for Samsung users. Microsoft and Samsung announced at CES that a new feature would debut on the Galaxy Book 4 series that enables users to use their smartphones as webcams for their Windows computers. Support for other devices, Microsoft said, would be added over time.

Users will have the ability to switch between front and rear cameras, Microsoft noted, along with the ability to change the frame to add other speakers or move around the room -- adding significant mobility over a traditional webcam. There's also the option to add background blur, auto framing, and other features to the video to make it optimal for any working environment.

According to Samsung, the feature works on any Galaxy phone running One UI 1.0 or higher (Android 9.0 or higher), meaning quite a few Samsung phones are compatible.

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An exact date for rollout to other devices wasn't announced, but since the code started appearing back in November, it likely won't be too far away. The same Microsoft account will need to be logged into on both devices, and both devices will need to be on the same Wi-Fi network.

To get started with the feature, users will need to download the Link to Windows app on both their mobile phone and PC and follow the setup prompts. 

Also of note, in a move that mimics Apple's all-in-one ecosystem, also new for the Galaxy Book 4 is a feature that lets users use Link to Windows to find, read, send, or even AI-summarize text messages from their phone on their computer.

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