Continuum hands-on with the Microsoft Display Dock

Continuum hands-on with the Microsoft Display Dock
Arguably the most compelling thing shown off at Microsoft’s press event yesterday, besides the Surface Book, Windows 10’s new Continuum feature is going to add another degree of utility to our phones. We managed to get a quick hands-on look with the new feature using the new Lumia 950 series smartphones, along with the Microsoft Display Dock that’s required for it to work.

The square shaped, almost puck sized optional accessory looks like a generic hub of sorts, seeing that it features two USB 2.0 ports, 1 USB 2.0 high current charging port, HDMI connector, Display Port connector, and a USB-C port to connect either of the two Lumia 950 series smartphones. This hub of sorts, combined with a screen, mouse, and keyboard, turns the Lumia 950 series smartphones to a full-fledged PC of sorts – giving us nearly the same Windows 10 experience we get on tablets, laptops, and desktop PCs.

Essentially, the phone is the brains of the operations – while the Microsoft Display Port acts as the nervous system that allows these accessories and peripherals to connect. And that, folks, is what makes Continuum so compelling. The Motorola ATRIX offered something similar a few years back, but Continuum takes it to another level, one that gives us the true power of a real desktop operating system in the palm of our hands.

From running the usual Office suite of applications, to surfing the web using the new Edge browser, the experience is identical to something like a tablet running full Windows 10. However, it’s going to be up to developers to really diversify the package, seeing that currently, only “Universal Apps” are compatible to with Continuum. Native apps on the phone, such as the calendar, work fine and scale appropriately, but other third party apps, including some popular touch games, will need to be tweaked in order for them to be compatible.

Of course, it’s now a matter of time to see where all of this goes. Right now, however, it seems quite promising for Microsoft. No word yet on the optional dock’s pricing, but it’d be nice to find it somewhere around the sub-$50 range to really have an aggressive approach.



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28 Comments

1. Well-Manicured-Man

Posts: 643; Member since: Jun 16, 2015

Extremely cool. There you can see Microsoft's software competency. If Microsoft keeps improving its product and software line up like this, Google and Apple need to watch out. Maybe not in the next 2 years but in 3 to 5 years from now on, Microsoft can have 20 to 25% of the market if they do things right.

3. SonyXperiaZ3

Posts: 11; Member since: Aug 03, 2015

Yes, but they need the apps that is the only thing that is keeping me from buying the 950/Xl if they get that sorted get Some developers to port or start making apps i'm all in.

11. McLTE

Posts: 922; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

They are definitely headed down the right path here. I see this getting WP some good attention and interest.. you'll see a lot of developers jumping aboard to get in on the wave MS is creating.

7. janis

Posts: 397; Member since: Mar 10, 2014

agree, i was watching Microsoft event last night, i was shocked, i feel like i will be getting either surface 4 or surface book. PS or Lightroom and stylus is already something amazing on surface 2 pro, this new one will be off the charts for productivity.

12. HouTexan

Posts: 460; Member since: Jan 08, 2012

20% to 25% in 3 to 5 years?! That's beyond optimism, dude -- that's delusion.

2. Pattyface

Posts: 1658; Member since: Aug 20, 2014

This is all very exciting.. Microsoft at its best is with coding and development of software. Glad they are flexing their muscle in this area

4. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

Should have been more like the Surface dock and maybe try and do it more wirelessly. Great idea though. So if you have a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard connected to the phone, and the phone is in phone mode and the app is in desktop mode, where does the mouse cursor go? Stays on perimeter of the phone or just cross past the phone screen and into the app it like it would Cross over to the next monitor with a 3 monitor set up?

14. runzlord

Posts: 245; Member since: Oct 13, 2013

Almost what I was thinking...... Nice idea from microsoft but it would had been fantastic if it was wireless! And even better if you can use the phone it self as a keyboard and trackpad. Reducing items you need for it to work from "a screen, keyboard, mouse, dock and many usb cables" to just a screen. and probably a wireless dock.

17. rsiders

Posts: 1803; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

Actually there is a way to use your phone as a track pad in conjunction with Continuum. When I find the video link on YouTube I'll post it here.

18. PhansMuneeb

Posts: 371; Member since: Jan 28, 2012

Continuum works wirelessly with miracast. This is a game changer for the target customer.

5. imnotascammer

Posts: 160; Member since: Aug 22, 2012

Gotta give it to them for being innovative..

6. KyleRiemen

Posts: 170; Member since: Oct 29, 2014

Should have been x64, shame on intel they still didn't catch up.

8. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

It's a shame too. They were on pace to eclipse ARM in mobile ages ago and they certainly have the know how. I wonder what happened.

9. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3934; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Color Me Impressed.

10. dazed1

Posts: 776; Member since: Jul 28, 2015

Microsoft would gain MUCH more steam if they offered the docking for free, it would be such good marketing move, but they are a bit stupid.

13. MojoDojo

Posts: 102; Member since: Jul 11, 2013

I would like to see how Microsoft Edge works in Continuum. Streaming videos via the Edge browser while I'm on my phone doing other stuff. They only showed Office apps which is nice but they should have also showed a game and the Edge browser.

15. CX3NT3_713

Posts: 2343; Member since: Apr 18, 2011

So there's a "PC emulator" in this box??

16. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Nope the phone is pushing all that is needed, hence the need for usb-c. And why 3GB of RAM was needed on an OS that doesn't need more than 512MB to run.

19. Fellwalker

Posts: 516; Member since: Apr 04, 2014

USB 2.0? How old fashioned. Wait; I got rid of my usb mouse and keyboard years ago. I've been using wireless. Shouldn't this have bluetooth?

20. techguyone

Posts: 214; Member since: May 18, 2013

Wonder why not USB 3.0

21. techguyone

Posts: 214; Member since: May 18, 2013

Wonder why not USB 3.0 Actually on the video it says 3.0 (0.33 secs) PA error ?

22. thepurplewalrus

Posts: 13; Member since: May 14, 2015

This is pretty cool! I feel like if this is priced well it could even be a great set-top box.

23. Pattyface

Posts: 1658; Member since: Aug 20, 2014

I read somewhere it was going to be in the 50.00 range

24. yourmom

Posts: 82; Member since: Feb 21, 2015

i dont get how this works , so you have a perfectly set up pc on your desk , so you need to remove hdmi cable , keyboard and mouse from your pc and connect into dock instead every time ?? that's a pain in the ... Or using my phone as standalone pc has its limitations it obviously cant do everything

25. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

yeah, something like that.. or just buy another monitor, keyboard, and mouse.. bring it to everywhere you go, and u'll get (not so) full fledged windows anywhere u like (but dont forget to search power source for monitor, and please pretend that notebook, netbook, ultrabook, and windows tablet never exist)

28. yourmom

Posts: 82; Member since: Feb 21, 2015

hahaha you just spoke my thoughts out

26. isprobi

Posts: 797; Member since: May 30, 2011

So you cannot necessarily run any app on your phone using Continuum just those designed to work with it? That is disappointing. Now I understand why startup companies keep trying to run full Linux on a phone. Since this would be my personal not work phone I do net need to run Office applications so it seems that Continuum will be of limited use to me.

27. isprobi

Posts: 797; Member since: May 30, 2011

After comparing the capabilities of Continuum and BlackBerry Blend I think Blend is better. Blend does not require hardware, does not store data in the cloud and can allow you to open files using the software of your choice on the device of your choice.

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