"Any screen can be your PC": Microsoft's Continuum for phones transforms your phone into a desktop PC

"Any screen can be your PC": Microsoft's Continuum for phones transforms your phone into a desktop PC

Microsoft's Continuum feature for Windows 10 is not a new one (we first saw it last September), but the feature's just gotten times more appealing for smartphone users that swear by Redmond's software. Continuum was initially touted as allowing PCs to adapt their interface in accordance to whether they are used as regular keyboard-enabled PCs or tablets with touchscreen input, but Microsoft's Joe Belfiore just demoed a new feature, Continuum for Phones, which will allow your Windows 10 smartphone to turn into a (almost) full-blown PC if you connect it to an external screen and controls, such as mouse and keyboard.

Simply put, it allows your smartphone to launch the 'big-screen' version of the UI of the Continuum-optimized app that you're running on your phone, boosting the levels of productivity or entertainment you're getting from it. In the demo, Joe Belfiore displayed a smartphone's home screen to an external monitor, and then went on to launch Office. Interestingly enough, Office appeared in a form that's very reminiscent of its desktop version on the external monitor, kind of making the Windows phone it was running from seem like a neat, little PC of sorts. Obviously, such kind of desktop-grade UI would be way more comfortable to work on, compared to the limited, touch-optimized experience on the phone's little screen.

Now, in order for Continuum to work as intended, developers need to optimize their apps for this functionality. It was also said that current hardware is not compatible with Continuum for phones (as the feature requires your phone to power not one, but two screens).

The future of Windows looks more unified than ever and it can't come any sooner.

source: Microsoft

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24 Comments

1. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

now my 930 is W10 PC

3. Rydsmith unregistered

"Unfortunately, it was also said that current hardware is not compatible with Continuum for phones (as the feature requires your phone to power not one, but two screens), but the future of Windows looks more unified than ever."

5. theguy2345

Posts: 1216; Member since: Jun 24, 2014

On other sites they are reporting that it will be coming to some phones, at least the high end ones. Like the Lumia 1520, Lumia 930, and M8 for windows.

10. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3098; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

No. Belfiore specifically said new hardware will be required. Sucks for my 1520.

18. SuperMaoriBro

Posts: 533; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

Can already use android as a desktop pc for some time now. Check out this videohttp://youtu.be/VbOCp6ruans

20. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Not the same by any means. If that is the case, windows phones have the SAME ability. Look at the horrible scaling, horrible scaling. Now go look at continuum scaling. It is night and day, and not simple screen sharing. http://images.mobilenapps.com/data/images/full/8209/windows-10-continuum-for-phones.png?w=500 what you showed is years BEHIND what that image there is actually doing.

12. rodneyej1

Posts: 3576; Member since: Jul 06, 2013

Yes, new hardware is required.. Joe specifically said that they had to work with Qualcomm to bring a new feature to a new chip for future devices... Obviously, a high end Lumia that's currently in testing.

15. sprockkets

Posts: 1612; Member since: Jan 16, 2012

It really shouldn't, as current QC chips have that built in functionality. They just didn't bother to enable it probably. I mean, think about it, android for years have had some form of video out. Even lame apple device have that ability.

2. theguy2345

Posts: 1216; Member since: Jun 24, 2014

I agree. This just can't come soon enough. My body is ready. Very ready.

4. Credo

Posts: 749; Member since: Apr 19, 2012

Now, give us support for sending messages and making calls in Windows 10 from a connected Android phone MS, with all the love lately for other platforms :)

11. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3098; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

I don't know of any desktop dialer app but there's a ton of messaging apps like ZipWhip. Or, you could just get a new 10.3 BlackBerry and have it natively on PC or Mac.

6. guest

Posts: 370; Member since: Jun 13, 2012

Time for Intel powered windows phones. Backwards compatibility! Starcraft 2? DoTA? Sweet!

7. kurama.

Posts: 85; Member since: Sep 13, 2014

Seriously! Now we're talking hurry release a new flagship I want to try this thing out OMG.

8. ianbbaa

Posts: 332; Member since: Mar 20, 2013

this is what i wanted to have since windows phone 7 launch. Maybe they was reading my posts from past where i was blaming Microsoft not to bring up these features. with current Atoms and 4gb ram phone can easily tun full x86 os just a launcher for small screen - then switch to desktop as soon as hdmi connected.,,,,

9. paeschli

Posts: 35; Member since: Aug 27, 2013

Microsoft copying Ubuntu, that's funny.

13. dlsnhuff

Posts: 111; Member since: Aug 20, 2014

current hardware is not compatible with Continuum for phones ? Maybe needs an excellent GPU & outstanding batteries ( great work from many CPU cores too )

16. juandante

Posts: 679; Member since: Apr 23, 2013

I don't think so. On old phones of 2006 you could already plug them on an external TV. And very old computers with 900mhz mono core CPU of 2000 you could use multi monitor screens. In 2015 with powerfull chipsets this is a peace of cake. I more think this is a marketing move. All devices on 8.1 will be updated on 10 ? Yes but with far less features enabled.

17. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

No current windows phone can mirrorcast. This is not simply running your screen. This is running apps built with another ui, your phone will be doing two process instead of just one.

24. juandante

Posts: 679; Member since: Apr 23, 2013

There is no logical sense between your answer and what I said. I said that old computers of 2000 could use multiple screens IN CONSEQUENCE this should be a piece of cake to implement in 2015. EVEN phones of 2006 with 100mhz mono core CPU could already do it with an analog cable. So why more powerful phones of 2015 couldn't do it (could =/= they can) ? I thinks there is serious poopoo in your brain. It is stupid to view it in "doing two process instead of one". Instead its running two apps at the same time = multitasking. On any phone in 2015 this is possible and is possible thanks to the SOFTWARE - we are not in 1986, and even on MS-DOS you could. If Microsoft says it is a hardware limitation (at least on high end phones with TV output) it is because they DON'T WANT TO.

14. Chuck007

Posts: 1410; Member since: Mar 02, 2014

Really hope the Lumia 940 supports this.

19. pwnarena

Posts: 1129; Member since: Feb 15, 2013

many android devices are already capable of doing this. you just need an external keyboard, mouse, and USB OTG and you're all set.

21. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

No it is not the same. This is not screen sharing... http://images.mobilenapps.com/data/images/full/8209/windows-10-continuum-for-phones.png?w=500 that is nothing that android i have seen do.

22. isprobi

Posts: 797; Member since: May 30, 2011

Dreams like this are good but rarely work well in reality. If you want to run your PC from a portable device then buy a laptop/ultra-book and save yourself the headache. Do you really want to carry around a mouse and keyboard just to have a tiny less functional version of your PC desktop available?

23. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

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