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Microsoft update of Teams Rooms for Android falls short

Microsoft has yet to add to Teams Rooms on Android critical features available on the Windows version. Missing features include the ability to join Zoom or Webex meetings.

Microsoft has improved Teams Rooms on Android, but the company has more work to do for the conference-room product to reach feature parity with the Windows version.

The company updated the software that powers meeting-room devices this week, improving the calendar, expanding touch controls and adding capabilities for workers logged in with their accounts. However, industry observers said Teams Rooms on Android still lacks critical features found in the Windows product.

Constellation Research analyst Dion Hinchcliffe said key, user-requested capabilities remain missing from the Android version. For example, workers can't use Microsoft's direct guest join feature to enter Zoom or Webex meetings, a crucial omission as hybrid work gains prominence.

"Few organizations can dedicate one room for Teams and another for Zoom," he said.

Gartner analyst Brian Doherty said cross-functionality is essential. Many companies use Teams for internal collaboration and another meeting platform for dealing with outside parties.

"If these Android devices are going to find wide adoption, Microsoft needs to bring direct guest join to them as well," he said.

Users also can't plug an HDMI cable into a Teams Rooms on Android device to share content, like they can on the Windows version, Hinchcliffe said. Android's outgoing video resolution is capped at 720p, as opposed to 1080p for Windows.

Some of the new features bring the two versions more in line, like better touch controls on the optional meeting consoles. Android-based workers were previously limited to on-screen directional keys, meaning they had to navigate the UI as if they were using a physical remote. Now employees can touch UI elements directly, like Windows users. Microsoft advised companies to check with their device manufacturer to ensure that it supports the update.

Teams Rooms on Android home screen
Teams Rooms on Android has a better calendar on the home screen.

Like its Windows cousin, the home screen's calendar also displays the latest and scheduled meetings.

Workers logged into Teams Rooms on Android with their accounts will see improvements as well. Such users can blur or change their backgrounds, record meetings and start whiteboard sessions. Microsoft said it will add the latter two capabilities for shared accounts soon.

Metrigy analyst Irwin Lazar said bringing the Android edition of Teams Rooms up to snuff would help the rising number of businesses using Android devices. Metrigy data shows that 57% of companies plan to add video conferencing room systems to their meeting rooms this year. To meet the demand, hardware vendors, including Crestron, Poly and Logitech, have increased the production of Android devices, which are less expensive than Windows hardware.

Mike Gleason is a reporter covering unified communications and collaboration tools. He previously covered communities in the MetroWest region of Massachusetts for the Milford Daily NewsWalpole TimesSharon Advocate and Medfield Press. He has also worked for newspapers in central Massachusetts and southwestern Vermont and served as a local editor for Patch. He can be found on Twitter at @MGleason_TT.

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