1. Tom Westrick's Avatar
    As we get closer to the release of Windows 10, more and more key feature have been announced. In early May at their BUILD Developers conference, Microsoft showed off Continuum for the upcoming Windows 10 Mobile: plug your phone into a monitor, connect a wireless keyboard and mouse, and the interface switches to a more desktop like experience. Since apps will adjust their layout depending on screen size, Office apps would have the same layout and features as they would on a ďnormalĒ desktop. Itís an interesting concept to be sure, and a different approach to bridging the desktop/mobile gap than Google and Apple. I do have some reservations.

    A quick search on Amazon finds Bluetooth keyboards running as low as $11, keyboards with trackpads in the $20 range, and mice in the $13 range. These alone arenít large expenses over the base price of the smartphone. However, a 19 inch monitor would average around $100, though you can use a smaller size or make due with an old TV. If you do need to buy a monitor though, youíre looking at around $120 with the keyboard and mouse, on top of the cost of the smartphone. As far as Microsoft has hinted, Continuum will require high end hardware, meaning the latest flagship chip at the time, more than likely pushing the cost of the phone in the $600 and up range. As I noted in my Blu Win JR review, Windows Phone runs pretty damn well on low end hardware, and I canít imagine Windows 10 Mobile changing this when itís released. A Blu phone or a lower end Lumia, in addition to an HP Stream 11, Asus Eeebook, or even small desktops like the HP Stream 200 (to say nothing of Chromebooks and Chromeboxes), would be more than enough computing power for most people. Those devices hover around $200, meaning a consumer can have both those and a lower end smartphone for half the cost of the high end, flagship Windows phone.

    As much as Iím excited to try a flagship Windows phone, and as big of an update Windows 10 will be, Android and iOS will still have a couple tricks up their sleeve. Both platforms offer an extension to their systems in automobiles and the living room. Microsoft does have the XBOX One on its side, which will be receiving a Windows 10 based update in the coming months, allowing a more seamless experience between in and the desktop side. However, it starts at $300, much more than the $35 for a Chromecast, $69 for an Apple TV and $79 for a Nexus Player. If you donít already have an XBOX One, and just want something for streaming Hulu and Netflix, youíd be better off with a different device. Microsoft does sell a Miracast adapter for $60, but Miracast requires casting your entire screen, rather than just sending the device a link to content like the Chromecast.

    One area I think Continuum for phones will succeed is in the enterprise world. Rather than issue employees a work phone and have a static computer, an employee could get a phone and take that and a keyboard to any station, with all their work documents in their pocket. If any employee travels to conference, connecting to a hotel TV or convention center monitor would be easy as pie. One potential negative would be all the work could be lost or compromised if the phone is lost or stolen, but OneDrive syncing and remote wipe would solve that. Businesses are notoriously slow with buying new hardware, so I imagine it will take a few years before this becomes a common scenario.

    As I mentioned earlier, I'm excited for the different versions of Windows 10, and I hope Microsoft makes some gains in the mobile world to give Apple and Google competition. I don't think Continuum will be a big hit for consumers, given those who would benefit most from it (can't afford both a smartphone and computer) would be better off with getting cheaper hardware. I'll try the feature out for myself when it comes the time, and I hope I'm wrong about my predictions.
    Ian_Superfly likes this.
    06-25-2015 11:49 PM

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