Microsoft’s Continuum feature allows one device to offer both a mobile and a desktop-style experience, depending on how you’re using it. Continuum allows the user interface of a Windows 10 tablet to transition to a desktop UI as soon as you connect it to a keyboard dock. And Continuum for phone will let you connect upcoming Windows 10 smartphones to an external display, mouse, and keyboard to use your phone as if it were a desktop PC.
Windows 10 for mobile phones won’t be available until this fall, and there aren’t any phones on the market that support Continuum for phone… but there will be soon. Acer showed off one of the first at IFA in Berlin this week, and Microsoft is expected to launch new Lumia phones that support Continuum soon.
Want to know more about how it works? WinBeta has an early look at Continuum for phone.
WinBeta’s Zac Bowden took a pre-release version of Continuum for phone for a spin and shared some initial thoughts (and a few screenshots). It’s possible that some things could change by the time Windows 10 mobile is officially launched, but here’s how things work so far:
- Connect your phone to a docking station and a Windows desktop will show up on your external display.
- The Start Menu is basically a clone of the start screen from your phone, with live tiles showing app shortcuts and previews of weather forecasts, news updates, email messages, and more. Click “All apps” to view more apps.
- At the bottom of the screen there’s a taskbar with buttons including Search/Cortana, back, and a task view button that should let you view all currently running apps and switch between them.
- When you launch an app, it’ll open in full screen, but the taskbar remains visible at the bottom of the screen.
- While you’re interacting with apps on your desktop display, you can still run a second app on your phone. This lets you treat the phone like a secondary display for instant messaging or other activities while you edit an Office document or surf the web, for example.
- It does not appear that you’ll be able to view more than one app at a time on your desktop display… at least not for now.
- Only Universal Windows Apps designed for Windows 10 will be supported. You cannot run Windows 8.1 mobile apps or legacy Windows apps written for computers with x86 processors.
- But those Universal apps will take advantage of a larger display to show more content. Apps like Outlook which only take up a single column on your phone can use multi-column layouts on a desktop display. And the mobile versions of Office apps will look pretty much the same as they do on tablets, notebooks, or desktops.
You can find more pictures at WinBeta.