Making Windows and Marshmallow work together

Lincoln Spector

Windows and Android have always had an uneasy relationship. Those of us who use both Windows and Android on a regular basis often find that the two OSes don’t always play well together.

In some ways, the newest phones have made the problem worse. Here’s how to make your Android phone work with Windows.

In the Nov. 26 Top Story, “Why your next cell phone should be unlocked,” I reported on my experience with the new Nexus 6P phone, which runs pure and unaltered Android 6 — aka Marshmallow. There are good reasons to purchase a phone that works with more than one cell service, but many of the newest phones have made Android-to-Windows connections even more problematic. The Nexus 6P is no exception, due mostly to its USB Type-C port and lack of support for some legacy formats. (Again, this is not unique to the Nexus 6P.)

This follow-up article will tell you how to turn a Marshmallow phone into a viable, mobile extension of a Windows PC. (I must confess that I can’t type the words Marshmallow phone without imagining a white, puffy, gooey, sticky, and diabetes-inducing smartphone made of gelatin and sugar.)

Doing real work on your phone

Let’s be clear: I’d never recommend trying to do major work (such as writing this article) on a smartphone. But sometimes you really need to process some words, crunch a few numbers, or edit a slide show, and the only tech tool you have is in your pocket.

In those cases, you need productivity apps on your phone, and those apps have to access the files you normally create and edit in Windows.

Marshmallow comes with a trio of productivity apps — Docs (word processing), Sheets (spreadsheet), and Slides (presentation) — along with a note-taking tool called Keep. These are all free, app-based versions of Google Docs, the company’s online set of productivity tools. They’re not particularly powerful, but that’s typically the case with portable document-creation/-editing apps.

This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.

Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.

= Paid content

All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2015-12-17:

Lincoln Spector

About Lincoln Spector

Lincoln Spector writes about computers, home theater, and film and maintains two blogs: Answer Line at and His articles have appeared in CNET, InfoWorld, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other publications.