1. Nuno Moz's Avatar
    I have a Surface Pro 3 a Surface Pro 2, a Windows Phone, 2xMaxbooks an iPhone, an iPad, Macmini, ... just to say I have one foot in each worlds. Each vision.

    When I heard about Continuum along with Mobility of Experiences I got really excited. I though "Wow, MS got it this time, at least conceptual". The excitement went for a couple of weeks until Continuum for Phones was revealed, then everything vaporized in this presentation:



    I really like my Surface Pro 3. Been working with it every day for a year. I really think that this is the future of laptops and it will only get better. I don't think of Continuum or whatever they call it for a windows laptop to support touch and pen more efficiently as well as being extremely portable. There are still things to iron out, touch support/environment is ok, but not excellent, but there is a clear path now. A clear set of building blocks that MS can work with ... hopefully (they change their minds quite often).

    When MS came up with Continuum for Phones, I thought ... what? I realized then what it was all about. About bringing the PC experience to a device: Tablets, Smartphones, whatever (PC Like or not). I also realized that MS still thinks that SP3 is a Tablet, denying the reasons why W8.1 was not that well received. Yes, Windows 8 was about bringing a full blown Tablet into a PC, of course it could only fail in Desktops, of course. So much so that the desktop in the start screen was presented as an app. They have created two separate worlds, from a user perspective and software development perspective. You could not even cut and paste from one world to another. Two devices in one. Well, it failed. It failed hard.

    Why was SP3 with W8.1 displaced by so many and a success for some yet just enough to assure it viability?

    IMHO is because the people that bought it, like I did, actually had gone to the trouble of translating the MS marketing message "A tablet that can replace your laptop" to "A laptop that can replace your tablet".

    Who ever believed in the MS message and tried to map it to the vice would just kill the thing. On the other hand who ever translated MS message to the second, it is quite happy with it even with Windows 8.1.

    Being a user of a MacBook Pro, an iPad and an iPhone, back then I was taking the three devices everyday to work. I would use my iPhone while walking about, my iPad in the train and bus, and Macbook at work. It is a heavy package. You see, keeping all this charged up and in sync, occupying space in the bag, not to mention the price of upgrading all this ... it is quite a heavy package! So SP3 as a solution to eliminate my Tablet at work and at home, my Macbook needed an upgrade anyway and ... I bet that my SP3 will still work fluidly in 3 years time. Within this I'm quite happy for the purchase.

    So there is a Dis-continuum between the reason why I bought SP3 and the marketing message of MS as well as how the company sees Continuum). This is frustrating since it does not allow MS to do more useful things instead ...

    Here we have Continuum for Phones. "The smartphone that can replace your desktop". They don't actually phrase this way, but have a look at Joe Belfiori presentation. Hotel rooms? Continuum Stations all over the place?

    For me Continuum for Phones is a solution looking for a problem. I can explain why.

    You see. take Surface 3 (500 euros with a keyboard in a promo) and a Windows Phone for 200 and you have a better experience, you can do more then a 800 euros bundle or whatever the flagships with this ability will come. Furthermore in those situations I still need to add a keyboard and a monitor to the mix for it to work adding to cost. Furthermore is not as mobile as a laptop. RIDICULOUS. So this fails both ways. Not only in terms of versatility but in cost as well. Furthermore you will more likely need to upgrade you smartphone in two years to keep up with the processing demands then a Surface 3 or Surface Pro 3. Look companies that are thinbking about buying into this, for their sake, buy a Surface 3 to their executives. If that is not enough for these works, neither will be Continuum for Phones, period.

    So why did I get excited with Continuum in the context of mobility of experiences? Because I thought MS was seeing Continuum not as a feature but as a company wide goal for their devices. That is, the user would be able to capitalize in more efficient ways all their devices together to do more to the point were the user experienced a continuum between devices abilities rather then a dis-continuum. In particular starting between my PC (SP3) and my Windows Phone.

    My Windows Phones is so detached from a functional perspective from a my Surface Pro 3 that I can easily replace it with another, and nothing will be missed. In fact, I could probably have a better experience has things go nowadays. Instead of having Microsoft focused on solving the problem "how can we make a Windows Phone that works better with a PC?", they focused on "how can we make a Windows Phone that works better without, repeat without a PC to the point it can replace it ... at least in your hotel room attached to a TV". That is Continuum for Phones according to MS. At least I don't have any other reason to think otherwise.

    I really wished that MS focused on "how can we make a Windows Phone that works better with a PC". I'm sure if they did they would come up with more meaningful solutions moving forward. For instance, eliminate the need of a cloud to sync information from one device to the other wirelessly. An internet connection is a point of failure, get rid of it as a mandatory thing to have them working together. Not only that it can be slow as of not immediate, which is an usability problem. Say for instance I'm in library studying a book and want to take some notes. Wouldn't be awesome if I could take pic of some books pages with my phone (rather then using the monster SP3)a nd bang it was immediately available in my SP3 to take notes with a Pen? No need to go to Onedrive, search for Onenote whatever. What about in the office reviewing a bunch of printed materials using both devices as tools to get the job done faster?. What about phone calls and sms messages across both devices. At work with the phone on mute and still get SMSs or notifications that a call was made in my SP3, and be able to reply without picking up my phone? I take a lot of unfiled notes with my phone as I don't have the time then to organize them , reminders and so on. What about if when I switch on the SP3 I get some kind of indication that I need probably to work a bit more on that information, organize and so on? What about if I could use my phone has a second screen to my SP3, say to select pen colours and other options when working with a pen?

    Just for you guys not to think that I'm just work and no fun What about streaming XBOX One games to Windows Phone in a semless way? No need to open Smartglass, wait for it to connect, and then select the game and stream. Say I could pin a XBOX One game I have in my library (where is my library of XBOX One games in XBOX app for Windows 10 anyway) to the start screen on my phone or Windows 10 PC. Click on it, way a few seconds and bang, I'm playing in Startbucks (this can be done right now between a PC and Android with NVIDIA tech).

    Man, this Dis-continuum between what I need and MS grand vision for the future is frustrating. The systematic need to translate what they say to what I can use right now towards the future, plus the energy I need to spend to get rid of all half words and mixed messaging that they practice frequently is tiring. Really tiring.
    Last edited by Nuno Moz; 09-28-2015 at 09:46 AM.
    09-28-2015 07:02 AM
  2. Nuno Moz's Avatar
    Humm, no body has any points to add? Disagreeing or agreeing?

    Here are a few more points. Let's take as a benchmark the ability to run an hypothetical full blown Office suite on a smartphone while keeping up with a full day battery requirement. People that have been following tech know that smartphone abilities are getting close to do precisely that. Hence Continuum for Windows Phone make sense right?

    Conceptually it might, but in practice at the moment it does not. The tech is just not there. What is presented and what it will be sold as a flagship feature looks and feels like sellable prototype. That is something the Steve Jobs would, never, never allow. The design of the all thing more like a tech prototype, a mashup of different tech to prove that it can be built ... at high prices. The same thing happened with Windows XP Tablet PC and Pen Computing back then. Here are few indication:

    1) The overall price will be higher at launch then other better working solutions (Surface Pro 3 + Middle range phone) with no advantages. That is no way to launch something like this. It will not be perceived as innovation.
    2) Office Mobile is not there to support this computing model. In fact Office Mobile is more advanced on competing platforms then in Windows 10. So people that will buy into this, will think. This does not work, damn, I was taken for a ride. This is bad.
    3) Inherits the lack of app support of Windows Phone.
    4) To all this inefficiencies add the fact that most probably one will feel the need to upgrade this smartphones then if they went for something like Surface 3.

    For this to be successful I would think:

    1) The combination of a smartphone with this feature plus a shell with screen and keyboard (yes like a laptop) would need to cost the price of a Surface 3. Even at the same price is a tough sell. Please note that even if this came out, which it will definitely not now, at $499 still potential buyers would have some doupts. For $200 more they could have both Surface 3 (a true laptop, true windows not windows like) plus a decent Windows Phone.

    2) Office Mobile is not mature enough so that it helps to prove this computing model. By the contrary, it will help to disprove it. So instead of coming up with this now, it would be preferable to wait a couple more years and muscle other options such as the ones I mentioned.

    3) Another failing computing approach does not help much. So instead of coming up with this now, it would be preferable to wait a couple more years and muscle other options such as the ones I mentioned.

    4) If the above was done well probably this could be a moot point.

    Conclusion, its way to soon to come up with this. The all thing does not seam well thought out.

    Another "solution" would be to rise the price of the entire Surface rise up $300 to give space (Yes something like Surface 3 with 32GB for the cost of $800, head to head with the iPad Pro). But can they today considering the pressure from Apple and Google? They simply don't have the ecosystem to back up this move in my view. But hey, let's see how much the Surface Pro 4 and Surface 4 will cost right?
    09-29-2015 04:20 AM
  3. rory753's Avatar
    I use a surface 3 with win10 on it, after having used the SP2. After win8 and then win8.1, i always thought of the desktop as a legacy issue. but, when i work on large screens, I do like having floating windows to work with and appreciate having a desktop. The issue issue with win8 and win8.1 is going from the start screen to the desktop is going from one user experience to a completely separate one. win10 makes it so you can now use the metro apps on the desktop. I rarely need a desktop experience on a 10.8" screen, but on a 23-30" screen, the desktop need is there for multiple windows. having the option to look at multiple programs running and toggling back and forth between them seamlessly is pretty great, and the S3 does this well.

    translating this to the phone's capability is awesome as well. Let's face it, split screening on a device with a 5" display is pretty worthless. if what they show works well, a person can sit down with their phone, and if they need a larger screen to look at multiple programs running, they can do that, from their phone. no need for other items, just use the phone. This is different from doing some form of streaming, where you would need 2 completely separate computers(say an phone and a pc, or a phone and an xbox). Personally, i don't want to have to depend on either an internet connection or another computer to stream from to do continuum. I want it to just work with my phone.

    continuum is an interesting idea. but it's going to be a hard sell to people who have already made significant investments in tons of devices. I do think it's a really interesting concept, though, and while some people say its for business exec's, while others are saying it's for emerging markets, I think it also has a great potential for education as well. if a kid has a $50 windows phone that's capable of continuum, I think that's going to be awesome. imagine being able to use onenote, sway, and other things with the phone, but then using the tools usually reserved for large displays like keyboards and mice, to actually work on them.

    now, going into the space of services, I also like that I can go to any computer and open up my msft account and get to my stuff(pictures, documents, etc.). but this isn't unique, depends on an internet connection, and there's plenty of solutions for this. What would be unique is to open up any computer and see my usual desktop and start screen without having to actually load anything, without any internet connection. That's going to be the distinction from continuum to a google web service.
    09-29-2015 11:26 AM
  4. snakebitten's Avatar
    I wrote in another thread that judging Continuum as we see it today, will likely lead us to fail\success predictions that won't apply in the near future.

    The op posted a very thorough and well thought out view of what Continuum would be like NOW. But it would have to be heavily edited if the "phone" portion of his argument was a phone of the future. And I don't believe to far off into the future either. As soon as the processing prowess of tomorrows phones are equal to today's tablet,....well?

    Microsoft can still make mistakes with how they go about these things. But nobody is going to stop tomorrows phones from being more powerful than they are now.

    A Surface 3 was science fiction just a few years ago. I'm an old man compared to most. I still can't believe what we invent every night when I go to sleep. I wake up and marvel. I have no doubt that soon I will hold a phone-sized device in my hand that can "compute" every bit as well as a Surface 3 does now. The only question is how will I change the things I do when I have one?
    10-01-2015 12:57 PM
  5. Nuno Moz's Avatar
    @snakebitten,

    I have not argued that mobile phones will not become powerful to the point were it may with accessories replace a tablet, laptop or even a desktop. That the potential is there I think no one in the tech industry is disputing. In fact in another thread I posted two examples made by Asus with its Padfone range.

    Continuum is the MS approach to this potential and my post is about that, nothing else. In the midst of all the posts claiming for Continuum as it is there is always a silver lining connecting them. Low price. Oh I can buy a phone for $80 for my son. Some go as far as $200. Other talk about second or third world countries. So it s great, amazing. But things are as great and useful as people are wiling to pay for it. So these kind of prices shows how useful these are at the moment for the western consumer. That is not a very good sign is it?

    The posts I see tend to overlook the need for "Docking" or "Tethering" for this to work today from a flexibility and user experience point of view. People are talking about concepts such as (Host Acessories/Devices) to make it happen (Check Asus) and how this is really nice with no experience with it.

    The fact is that historically this has proven not to work that well from multiple easy to spot points of view if you think about it.

    A very simple example without going in the limb of the future. Take SP3 and the MS docking station paired with mouse keyboard and external display. I have both. The thing is once Docked I not longer have access to user experiences that can be driven by pen and touch in deep meaningful ways. You may ask, why would I want still be a able to use pen and touch in such occasions? That questions is ok. But more important question is why wouldn't you?

    You see, in my post I can answer the "Why not?" question easily with specific down to earth examples. Yet when it comes to example of docking SP3 and what it takes away, the "Why not?" question becomes extremely difficult to answer. Immediately new ways of interaction come to my mind. You could be working on the external monitor with mouse and keyboard while taking notes with a pen on the SP3 (all powered by SP3). You net that if this kind of things is unleashed to creative app developers ...

    You may think, oh don't use the dock, connect the SP3 by wire to a dock ... Well still it does not work that well because you need to operate against the device and the wire is right there in front of you making it difficult to operate by hand.

    I arrive to the conclusion that for this to work well the at least the near field wireless display technology needs to evolve a few rounds no to mention far field. As it happens MS both in terms of Wireless Display tech and Wireless Audio tech is quite behind the competition in terms of effectiveness. And I do not see the company making strides on that field. In fact I don't see much interest on this from them oddly, since probably from the outset Windows 10 is probably the OS that would take the most out if it.

    Compare what I said, my vision for this to work and what is presented by MS today for Continuum, if you remember Tablet PC and the approach what we can find today steered by competing technology probably there are some similarities in terms of differences. It is the same yet it is entirely different.



    Imagine this thin displays paired with you Windows Phone wirelessly with at 60FPS or more. Turning them in to tablets. or even foldable units with keyboard and display turning them into laptops (No CPU inside just projection technology paired with your phone). Now imagine this paired with any desktop or laptop PC running windows 10 or even XBOX One. An extended screen were you could take notes with a pen while working, schedule tasks and so on, or play a game in the couch.

    Now for me that is the future.
    Last edited by Nuno Moz; 10-03-2015 at 08:26 AM.
    10-03-2015 08:07 AM
  6. CSJr1's Avatar
    I like where this discussion is going. I feel there are other avenues that Continuum can go that Microsoft is not exploring, yet. Notice though that this technology is in its infancy and we can surely see advancements to the points from OP and others. Microsoft has to start somewhere and I applaud them for that. Microsoft seems to be looking to the future and is not given enough credit for it.

    Everyone's visions can be a little different, I am leaning towards the flexible and rollable displays as the future for Continuum. While the current docking/casting paradigm is nice, there are some holes that needs to be filled.

    First, let me say that I will use it. I have a monitor that was used with a desktop. The desktop PC has reached end of life. I noticed that everyone who previously used the desktop no longer miss its absence as they rely on their mobile devices. So Continuum can bring that monitor that sits on a desk in a 'computer room' some use, especially to increase the viewing experience of multitasking. This is in the personal realm.

    In the business realm, things are a bit more complicated. Sure, the BYOD to dock in to a monitor will be a convenience and would save a company thousands of dollars, but I know I am not the exception in business where I have to attend meetings throughout the day. Surely I want the single device, but it is no longer convenient to have to bring monitor, dock and keyboard to meeting space.

    Like the precious post, I think a flexible display has credence here in a meeting setting. But, I still don't want to have to bring another 'dumb' peripheral to a meeting. Why can't my one device, with Continuum, expand its screen from both sides or one side much like the last example in the video. With a kickstand hinge on my device and a projected keyboard, my phone is now my everyday computing device! Dreamer, I know.

    What I also know is that in order to make this come to pass, Microsoft will need to develop and push developers to make the universal apps that businesses use: Visual Studio, Android Studio, Salesforce, call center apps.. These will not be available in version 1.0 of this technology, but perhaps can be realized if a rumored Intel powered Continuum device comes to fruition. Also it seems that Samsung has the manufacturing display technology. Microsoft has the software technology. Can or will they work together in order for this future to materialize? Dreamer, I know.
    Last edited by CSJr1; 10-04-2015 at 12:00 PM.
    10-04-2015 11:35 AM
  7. Nuno Moz's Avatar
    Hi,

    Yes, I can see advantages in bringing capacities with accessories, in a well design and thoroughly thought form, to offer a tablet or laptop like experience. But you see, I used Padfone for some months and it did not work for me not only because of software. It is simply a not convenient way of achieving this. I bet Google will also bring up a app scaling framework to help developers bring these facilities to their apps especially since is now considering Android as a go to platform to replace chromebooks (Pixel C), but still there are the mentioned underlying inconveniences when comparing with alternatives.

    On another note, people state that this can save companies thousands of dollars. I simply don't know how. Smartphones get decapitated far faster then a PC. Simple things like browsing get slower from generation to generation as new features are added to the OS. Also note that phones are damaged and lost more easily then laptops and desktops. Its simple common sense what I say.

    All I'm saying this is too soon even for MS like the Tablet PC was too soon even for them. They have not proven to me that they can seek this through. They don't event have a Windows Phone app store well enough that they can entice for this kind of computing, unlike others.

    I don't think for this to work we would need something as sophisticated as you mentioned. Something like a extremely thin display touch enabled, as thin as a type cover, paired wirelessly, maybe even handle on one, I would rise my eyebrows (of course if we wanted to still use as you say, fine). That is the kind of thing that is needed to jump start this thing in the market and entice developers imagination.

    Imagine this kind of accessory could not only be paired with a Windows Phone but with any, any Windows 10 device. Not necessary at the beginning, but everyone could start seeing the potential here. That is saving customers money. IMHO would strike directly into the heart of Apple and Google approaches.

    The cost here is a bit irrelevant since we are talking about a break through n usability and experience. The all thing well be the 699 up to 999 from the start. No need to go as far as HoloLens to entice peoples imagination.

    Anyway, I rest my case. I'm sure people will have some needs covered with current approach. For me, is no good. I can even tell this. Between having a phone with the capability described for more $50 or not, I would prefer to save the $50 (remember I would not be inclined then to buy the dock) and save the money for Surface 3 or Surface 4. Now with a display as I described, oh man, yes I open my wallet to buy something like that.
    10-05-2015 02:57 AM

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