Samsung Flow for Galaxy devices is like Apple’s Universal Control
With the launch of the Galaxy S23 smartphones, the Galaxy Book3 laptops, and its existing Galaxy Tab tablets, Samsung is showing off a nifty trick, combining all three into a unified system that you can control or copy from a single mouse.
It may not sound like much, but mousing from a tablet to a PC to a phone is something to see. It’s like Apple’s Universal Control, but Samsung’s implementation is much more versatile.
It’s another twist on the old problem. What’s the best way to move data from device to device? PCs have USB keys and removeable storage for just this reason. But phones don’t. It’s one of the ways that Samsung is trying to convince you to buy a phone, laptop, and tablet, all with the company’s brand.
One of the things worth watching out for is how individual device makers sometimes strike gold with software and services. Samsung’s Quick Search app blows away the built-in search within Windows. Lenovo’s Vantage app sets the high-water mark as a management utility. And Dell’s Mobile Connect app kicked off the ability to connect phones and PCs in 2018, long before the Windows Phone Link feature appeared. The point? All three justify buying the manufacturer’s hardware, by selling software.
Add Samsung Flow to that list. Samsung’s Flow is an existing app within the Galaxy ecosystem, but the company is enhancing it with the release of the new Galaxy S23 series. Flow already allows you to transfer data between the Tab tablet and the Galaxy Book series. The latest version allows you to mouse between all three devices (phone, tablet and laptop) and transfer data. That sounds simple enough, but we think you’ll see the potential: With the phone and tablet within view, you can control them with the new Galaxy Book3 laptops, as well as quickly grab a photo or a document that you had previously saved to your phone and move it to another device.
If that’s not good enough for you, you can access your phone’s apps directly from your Windows PC via Phone Link, but only through most Samsung Galaxy phones, the Surface Duo, and select devices made by Honor. It’s a select partnership between Microsoft and Samsung that’s never been fully explained, though Samsung’s self-positioning as the “Apple” of Android devices may have something to do with it. You can still pull photos from your Android phone and author texts, but the experience has been optimized for Galaxy phones.
There are certainly other ways to do this: save documents to the cloud and then download them on another device, email them to yourself, and so on. But being able to simply mouse across devices is like a cross-device version of Mouse without Borders, a fascinating free app for Windows PCs that does the same thing.
Mark Hachman / IDG
Samsung is launching the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra beginning today, a 6.8-inch phone which will be available in Phantom Black, Green, Cream and Lavender for $1,199. The Galaxy S23+, with a 6.6-inch display, will be priced at $999. Finally, the S23, a 6.1-inch phone for $799.99 will also go on sales. You can preorder all three phones today, with shipments and in-store purchases beginning on Feb. 17.
Want more details on Samsung’s new phones? Check out the coverage on TechAdvisor, our sister site.