05-09-2015 12:41 AM
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  1. Taube2's Avatar
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    At a dedicated Build session (Optimizing Windows Apps for Continuum | Build 2015 | Channel 9), Microsoft talked in great detail about how Continuum on phones will work, what hardware setups will be supported, what app scenarios will be possible, and how it will benefit a variety of users.

    Before you read on, I just wanna say: This is the future. And possibly a game changer. Microsoft was using these same words during the session, and I think they're right - especially when you realize that Continuum on phones could actually replace your laptop, and even offer some great advantages over a phone+laptop setup.

    What input methods will be supported?

    Keyboard and mouse. Even keyboard shortcuts such as Ctrl+C will be supported. If you don't use a physical mouse, you can choose to use the phone's touch screen as a touchpad (and also as a virtual keyboard) by simply tapping a toast notification that appears as you connect the phone to the monitor.

    What about touch? Since Continuum is designed to use standard wired or wireless connections to monitors, it seems like you won't be able to use touch on the monitor. Having said that, I don't think there are that many touchscreen monitors out there anyways. Still, I think that touchscreen support would make this even better, they didn't mention it though.

    Which apps will work with this?

    All Windows 10 apps that are available through the store on phones can be used with this feature. Most of those apps will have an adaptive UI that changes in layout as you use a bigger screen. So in most cases, the app will switch to the same UI layout that is used on desktop PCs as well. If the developer of the app chooses to make it a phone-only app, they can (and should) still make the UI adaptive for bigger screens in order to allow for a good Continuum experience on phones (including adaptive scaling) . If the developer does not make the UI adaptive at all, the app will still work with Continuum but the experience will not be as good.

    What about current Windows Phone apps? They did not talk about this. Considering that current apps are not designed to adapt to larger screens, I doubt that anyone would use them with Continuum anyways. Also, I'm not sure if the mouse support in Windows 10 applies to current Windows Phone apps as well.

    What does the system UI look like on a big screen?

    The UI looks a lot like the desktop UI and also a bit like the tablet-UI on "big Windows", but it's basically a variant of the Windows 10 mobile UI. The start screen appears in a UI element similar to the Start menu on desktop, the task bar has a back button and task switcher button as well as a Cortana button, and there's a status bar at the top of the desktop-like Start screen.

    So far all the apps were shown in full screen mode, and I suspect there is no multitasking capability there at this point. I would love to be able to snap apps though, or even use windowed apps, and I do think it would be technically possible to implement that feature.

    Can I use my phone as a phone while using Continuum?

    Yes, you can use your phone separately while running apps on the large monitor, so the phone basically runs two separate screens and two apps at once. You can even copy text on your phone and then paste it on the big screen. What you can't do though is run the same app on both screens at once. So if you open an app on the big screen, it disappears on your phone (it does not close though, it just reflows to adapt to the new screen size). There's one exception to this though: apps can be designed in a way that when connected to a monitor, the phone's screen can be used as sort of a companion device that displays additional information or serves as a controller (for PowerPoint presentations, Video players, games, etc.)

    Although they did not mention this in this presentation, there are rumors that only new phones with new processing capabilites will be able to run the big and the small screen separately, and that current phones (and new low-end phones) will only be able to use the connected monitor.

    Will this work with current phone hardware?

    This is still a little unclear. Belfiore said that what he showed during the keynote was a simulation because it requires new hardware. In this presentation however, they clearly stated that Continuum will not require "any specific hardware or accessories", adding that for their live demo during the presentation they're using Miracast for the screen and Bluetooth for keyboard and mouse. I interpret it this way: Continuum will use current connectivity standards (Bluetooth, Miracast, USB), but some features might require new hardware (such as new processors to power two separate screens). Some current high-end Lumias have Miracast support, and I think that even other current Lumias should work with Continuum when connected to a dock via USB (more on docks later).

    Can we expect good performance with this?

    During the presentation, they ran a video player on the connected monitor while using Outlook on the phone, with no performance issues. Although they didn't tell what processor the phone was using, it seems like performance won't be an issue.

    What kinds of peripheral hardware can be used for this?

    Continuum supports a variety of setups, allowing for an amazing level of flexibility.
    • You can connect your phone to a dock via USB, which is connected to mouse, keyboard and monitor (wired or wireless). The advantage of this setup is that the phone is being charged while it's connected to the dock.
    • You can use a wireless dock as well if your phone supports Miracast. (I personally think this kind of setup would be great with the addition of a wireless charging pad!)
    • If you have a wireless (Miracast) dongle, you can use that to connect your phone to any monitor. That could be very useful for people who do lots of presentations at meetings - all you need is a phone and a little dongle. Also, this is a very simple and affordable setup for streaming videos to your TV at home. Your phone's screen can be used as a controller with app specific UIs (as demonstrated with PowerPoint) or as a virtual touchpad and keyboard.
    • The most exciting setup to me is this one, which Microsoft thinks is "the future": Laptop-like hardware that only has a screen, keyboard and trackpad in it, but no processor. You just connect your phone to that accessory wirelessly and use it like a laptop. This has a number of benefits: 1) Such an accessory would be much more affordable than a laptop-PC, offering a similar range of functionality to the majority of non-professional "consumer" users. 2) It would be significantly lighter and thinner than laptops and offer incredible battery life. 3) It would significantly simplify the user experience compared to a phone+laptop setup. You just connect your phone to the accessory hardware, and all the apps and websites you were using on the phone are there right where you left. No need to open the browser and find a link that you already had opened on your phone. No need to synchronize your OneDrive to edit a photo that you took on your phone. No need to open the Mail app, wait for it to synchronize, and open the mail that you read on your phone to type a reply. 4) You could share such an accessory with others (family, co-workers), because it's really just a screen for whatever phone it's connected to.


    I would be very surprised if Microsoft does not offer their own hardware solutions for this when new Windows 10 phones get available (laptop-like accessory, wireless dock with wireless charging included)

    Who could benefit from this feature?

    They mentioned the following benefits: Low cost PC-like experiences for developing countries, convenient experience for users in developed countries, phone as sort of a backup device for people who use PCs, entertainment via TV

    Conclusion

    I think there's a huge amount of potential in this. Continuum for phones could enable laptop-like or desktop-like experiences for consumers, students and employees at very low costs and with amazing battery life. It could simplify the transition between mobile and non-mobile form factors in a way that could never be achieved just by synchronizing content over the cloud. And it could turn your phone into a portable entertainment system when connected to a TV.

    I think what Microsoft needs to do is: promote the hell out of this feature as THE big advantage over other mobile OSs; find a way to enable multitasking (snapped or windowed); find a way to enable touch screen input on connected monitors; and build high quality first party accessories.
    05-02-2015 10:04 AM
  2. Jas00555's Avatar
    Thanks for this! Continuum was easily one of my favorite parts.
    05-02-2015 10:29 AM
  3. mary beth hale's Avatar
    I can see a myriad of uses for Continuum. Exciting stuff.
    vEEP pEEP likes this.
    05-02-2015 10:42 AM
  4. Taube2's Avatar
    Side note: Take a look at the people app tile on the start screen in the image that I embedded above. The image was used in the presentation, and it must be from a very recent build (or recent mockup) because it already has the Edge icon. The app has circular images on it, which is only natural since profile images are circular in Windows 10. Looks funny, reminds me of the app launcher on Apple Watch :D
    Mahdi Ghiasi likes this.
    05-02-2015 11:50 AM
  5. jhoff80's Avatar
    Lovely! (Sorry, couldn't help but notice the third presenter's complete overuse of the word).

    In reference to the idea of using an external monitor's touchscreen, you might want to take a look at the 'Casting' talk. Microsoft is working on a superset of Miracast ("MS Miracast") that would allow input to be passed back to the device.
    05-02-2015 12:01 PM
  6. Vincentius Dalton's Avatar
    Thank you!
    05-02-2015 12:07 PM
  7. Ma Rio's Avatar
    Am I the only one not giving a damn about this?
    Not trying to say it's bad, or that you people care about wrong things, but it seems like just another feature whose only purpose is marketing, and that the real usage of this feature will be minimal. Also I think it will work different (not to say worse) than what they said it would.
    05-02-2015 05:04 PM
  8. jhoff80's Avatar
    Am I the only one not giving a damn about this?
    Not trying to say it's bad, or that you people care about wrong things, but it seems like just another feature whose only purpose is marketing, and that the real usage of this feature will be minimal. Also I think it will work different (not to say worse) than what they said it would.
    I wouldn't use it frequently, but when I did it would be invaluable. And plus, as the talk mentions, another key area for this is in emerging markets, where the phone is the only computer people have... but they do have a TV.
    spaulagain likes this.
    05-02-2015 05:43 PM
  9. Don Geronimo's Avatar
    Am I the only one not giving a damn about this?
    Not trying to say it's bad, or that you people care about wrong things, but it seems like just another feature whose only purpose is marketing, and that the real usage of this feature will be minimal. Also I think it will work different (not to say worse) than what they said it would.
    Real-world first-gen problems, IMO, are guaranteed. However I can see a use for this. For some it might be cheaper, and just as capable, to get a wireless keyboard/mouse and a monitor (preferably with Miracast) to do "normal" PC tasks. If UWP Apps are as cross platform in the real world, people wouldn't lose any functionality using one device as Phone/Computer, have the convenience of using their most-carried device as a PC, and have the convenience of not worrying if something is on the phone or the computer.
    05-02-2015 05:44 PM
  10. rhapdog's Avatar
    Am I the only one not giving a damn about this?
    Not trying to say it's bad, or that you people care about wrong things, but it seems like just another feature whose only purpose is marketing, and that the real usage of this feature will be minimal. Also I think it will work different (not to say worse) than what they said it would.
    Yeah, I guess you're the only one. I've been waiting for exactly this setup for a long number of years. I saw something like this as the future about 12 years ago, but knew hardware had a good number of years still to catch up. I'm glad it's finally all coming together, and I'll be jumping on board with it big time.

    Now, about that "laptop accessory" that doesn't have a processor... all that needs is a "slide-out" tray that will allow you to mount your phone, slide it in, and it's attached and charging from the laptop accessory battery while being connected and working. I'd take a thicker model to get that. Of course, it would have to accommodate the 6" models with a locking lever to hold smaller phones in place, but I believe it would be doable.
    05-02-2015 06:05 PM
  11. ShinraCorp's Avatar
    Am I the only one not giving a damn about this?
    Not trying to say it's bad, or that you people care about wrong things, but it seems like just another feature whose only purpose is marketing, and that the real usage of this feature will be minimal. Also I think it will work different (not to say worse) than what they said it would.
    Think of it this way. Imagine emerging markets like China and India and other countries that don't have access to a PC. However, they have access to a TV, imagine plugging your phone and turning it into a PC. Voila you personal PC in your pocket, just plug and play ;)
    05-02-2015 09:46 PM
  12. realwarder's Avatar
    I watched the build video and have to say it is neat. Suddenly having a powerful phone has a purpose as ultimately it could be a real Pocket PC. I could see myself not taking a laptop on a trip if I could use my phone with a Miracast dongle and mini Bluetooth keyboard. Talk about traveling light. Even at home the concept of shared UI devices that front the phone is an interesting vision.
    Will be interesting to see where this goes.
    Laura Knotek likes this.
    05-02-2015 10:11 PM
  13. Torcher Death's Avatar
    Side note: Take a look at the people app tile on the start screen in the image that I embedded above. The image was used in the presentation, and it must be from a very recent build (or recent mockup) because it already has the Edge icon. The app has circular images on it, which is only natural since profile images are circular in Windows 10. Looks funny, reminds me of the app launcher on Apple Watch :D
    OMG, that looks so damn awful...So much wasted space.
    Reminds me of those damn geometry classes, "find the area of a circle inside a square..." & I hate math.

    As for continuum, love the idea
    05-02-2015 10:37 PM
  14. xFalk's Avatar
    So what I see is similar to current Internet cafes, but where the cafe would have traditional PC setups and cheaper to use mouse/keyboard/monitor stations for people with phones to walk in and do quick tasks.
    05-02-2015 10:45 PM
  15. Taube2's Avatar
    So what I see is similar to current Internet cafes, but where the cafe would have traditional PC setups and cheaper to use mouse/keyboard/monitor stations for people with phones to walk in and do quick tasks.
    That's a nice vision, but I don't think it will ever come true. In order for that sort of service to be profitable, there would need to be a significant amount of Windows Phone users out there as potential customers.

    I think these kinds of shared work-stations are more useful for employees. Office jobs require real PCs of course, but there are a lot of jobs where employees use shared PCs in between to document stuff or to look up stuff. (That applies to doctors and nurses working in a hospital, for example.) In that kind of scenario, the company could equip the employees with Windows phones, so they can connect to the work stations with the tap of a button. That would save them a huge amount of time. Currently, far too much time is being wasted at work just logging in to computers and to accounts, launching applications, logging in to those, etc.
    Don Geronimo likes this.
    05-03-2015 05:26 AM
  16. Praxius's Avatar
    Am I the only one not giving a damn about this?
    Not trying to say it's bad, or that you people care about wrong things, but it seems like just another feature whose only purpose is marketing, and that the real usage of this feature will be minimal. Also I think it will work different (not to say worse) than what they said it would.
    Well I have a PC for all my main work at home. I have a notebook hooked into my TV as a Media Centre to play movies, shows, Netflix and to link into my PC. My wife has a Laptop for her work and personal use. I have a Lumia 930 & 925, she has a 1320 and I also have a 625 & 630 as Windows 10 testers. I also have a crappy Android Tablet kicking around.

    If this feature comes out as expected, I would certainly have use for it.

    I don't see it at a marketing gimmick at all. It has a number of practical uses many would like, even if you might not.

    What is a Marketing Gimmick is selling a 1" x 1" tiny little smartwatch with a gold trim around the screen and charging thousands of dollars for it because it "looks different" from the other ones being sold...... It still smashes its screen just as easily & it's sensors won't work if you have a tattoo.... But people will suck it up and pay top dollar for the "privilege" of owning one of these things.

    That's gimmicky marketing to me.

    Of course it may not work exactly as explained and there will be some growing pains.... This is a new thing after all. Chances are, it will have a number of updates over time to add more features in. The Band can do more now than it could when it first came out. There are many new apps that allow you to make it do different things.

    And then again, maybe this will have even more features and tricks than what MS has explained and there will be more coming at us when it is available.

    Time will tell.
    EMINENT 1 likes this.
    05-03-2015 08:22 AM
  17. Ma Rio's Avatar
    Ok, so a lot of you raise arguments how this will enable people who don't have PCs use PC functions.
    First of all, if you don't have a PC, you probably don't have a phone eather. I don't know one person that first bought a phone, and then bought a PC.
    Second of all, you guys know that you can get a PC that will get you stuff done for as low as 100€. Heck maybe even less. And to have this (continuum), you need a 500€ phone and a TV that also has to follow some standards so that won't be cheap also.
    It won't work on older devices. Not to mention budget devices. So eather pay up, or you won't use this.

    And one more thing. It still doesn't allow you to use desktop functions. It allows you to do phone stuff, just on a bigger screen.
    05-03-2015 11:00 AM
  18. Don Geronimo's Avatar
    @MaRio I think you're making quite a jump with a very narrow circle. Sure I will agree that for me in the US the majority of my circles have both, but I do have people in my world that has switched to just a phone or phablet because it does exactly what they need. In the Philippines, though, many of my connections there would have smartphones to accomplish the majority of their tasks, especially since there's always some Internet available in a phone, and cheaper than buying a computer and Internet.

    Having this function available would enable my friends and to use a keyboard, mouse, and monitor to do some tasks they can't do adequately on a phone, and because of how UWP apps are designed they can have the desktop UX appear and use it as if they were desktop apps, not as scaled up versions of their phone UX.

    As for only high end phones, I'm not so sure it's just going to be for flagships. The only mention is "newer Qualcomm chips," it doesn't necessarily mean just their newest and fastest. If I can still have Bluetooth keyboard support on a 635 on 8.1 Update 2 and Miracast working, I think newer budget phones have the capability to support Continuum in the future.
    05-03-2015 01:35 PM
  19. realwarder's Avatar
    Ok, so a lot of you raise arguments how this will enable people who don't have PCs use PC functions.
    First of all, if you don't have a PC, you probably don't have a phone eather. I don't know one person that first bought a phone, and then bought a PC.
    Second of all, you guys know that you can get a PC that will get you stuff done for as low as 100€. Heck maybe even less. And to have this (continuum), you need a 500€ phone and a TV that also has to follow some standards so that won't be cheap also.
    It won't work on older devices. Not to mention budget devices. So eather pay up, or you won't use this.

    And one more thing. It still doesn't allow you to use desktop functions. It allows you to do phone stuff, just on a bigger screen.
    There is conflicting information on hardware requirements with the build demo engineer suggesting it did work on existing hardware using Miracast while others suggesting it needs a new phone (possibly to make it a premium feature?). Either way, if a SD400 would broadcast a larger screen today (as that CPU will Miracast already) that's quite a lot of budget level phones that might be able to output to a remote screen, and even if not, it takes about 2 years for flagship to become standard so won't be long before all phones will support this.

    You are right in that Continuum doesn't provide desktop functions, but it does provide desktop quality apps. And have you seen what the phone can do? Full screen Word, web browsing, video watching, file management, email etc.. And WM10 brings print support, saving to PDF - core desktop functionality. Universal Apps will run, so that's soon going to be a lot of very functional software available. Sure, you'll never run x86 Photoshop, but there are painting apps, photo editing apps etc. I don't think functionality will be that lacking. We saw the task switcher is still there so I can still multitask in a simple way too. And these are effectively desktop versions of the mobile apps running on the phone, so it's more powerful than you'd think.
    05-03-2015 01:56 PM
  20. Taube2's Avatar
    And one more thing. It still doesn't allow you to use desktop functions. It allows you to do phone stuff, just on a bigger screen.
    Keep in mind, this is not about magnified mobile apps mimicking a desktop UI. The apps are actually the desktop versions. When you install a universal app on a phone, the code that you download includes the same code that you install on a desktop PC. Based on the width of the screen and/or the device type, the app uses either the phone-optimized UI, or the desktop-optimized UI. When you connect the phone to a monitor, the app simply saves the current states and re-loads the UI using the desktop-specific code. So for example, the new Edge browser will look and work the same as on the desktop. That's the whole idea behind Continuum - there is no "mobile version" of an app, just a mobile UI.
    05-03-2015 02:03 PM
  21. EMINENT 1's Avatar
    I can't wait for a Surface phone that has a low cost Surface tablet shell accessory that's just a miracast touch display and a huge, honking battery.

    Bye bye ipads and gtabs. GAME CHANGER!
    05-03-2015 02:26 PM
  22. Kodiak12's Avatar
    Remember the KT Spider Phone from 2011?



    MS has nothing unique here but if you combine this with faster phone innards, wireless monitors and universal apps we're much closer now. I still see Continuum as mainly "on-the-fly" usage for Enterprise users rather than a replacement for anything.
    05-03-2015 02:49 PM
  23. Birgitte Sciarretta's Avatar
    When I travel, I often have to bring my laptop with me or even my small form factor desktop. And tons of wires, and keyboard and mice etc. All this in case I get a job while on the road. With this, and the development of a Universal app for translators, I can just bring my phone, keyboard, mouse and an HDMI-cable. Awesome.
    05-03-2015 03:38 PM
  24. TechFreak1's Avatar
    Another thing to take out from this is that since the Xbox 1 will support Miracast, you perhaps could use that as a Miracast receiver and do your work. When done, switch over to some relaxing entertainment on Netflix or smashing mutants on Sunset Overdrive :P.

    All they need to do now is figure out a way to stream xbox 1 games to phones without the need for additional hardware (*Cough* Playstation TV). Thus making the Xbox 1 THE console to get over the PS4.

    Continuum has many uses but if your going to run full desktop apps such as Visual Studio, your better off with a tablet .
    05-04-2015 09:09 AM
  25. HoosierDaddy's Avatar
    Am I the only one not giving a damn about this?
    You are not alone. There are undoubtedly many thousands of people who don't care. So basically a small minority. My recommendation would be for you to not use it or buy a new phone just because it would let you.

    Personally I may get rid of all but one PC in the house because of this since the others are never used for anything that wouldn't be handled as well as a phone with Continuum. Just keep a monitor and keyboards. Of course that's only if its as good as they say.
    05-04-2015 09:15 AM
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