Continuum for Phone is Microsoft’s new platform that lets you connect an external display, keyboard, and mouse to a Windows 10 phone to use your mobile device like a desktop PC. Microsoft has already made it clear that not all phones will support the feature, and now we’re getting a better sense of which phones will have the appropriate hardware.
Microsoft’s new Continuum for Phone device experience web page spells out the hardware requirements.
At launch only two processors are support, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 808 and Snapdragon 810 chips. A phone will need to have at least 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0.
Microsoft recommends 3GB of RAM for phones that have 1080p screens and 802.11ac WiFi and USB 3.0 Type C connectors for better performance, although 2GB of RAM is sufficient for phones with 720p screens.
If those specs sound familiar, that’s because they’re pretty much exactly what you get if you buy one of the first three phones that we know will support Continuum software: the Lumia 950, Lumix 950 XL, and Acer Jade Primo.
Note that not every device that meets the minimum requirements will necessarily support Continuum for phone. Microsoft says equipment manufacturers will need to enable the feature.
While those devices are all expected to ship with docking stations that allow you to connect to a display via a wired connection, Continuum for Phone also supports Miracast wireless display. That means you can use a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard and Miracast-compatible display (or dongle) to turn your phone into a desktop without plugging in a single wire.
In desktop mode your Start Screen functions as a Start Menu and you get the Windows 10 taskbar and desktop views. Apps scale up to take advantage of the extra screen real estate, and the user interface is optimized for keyboard and mouse input and supports keyboard shortcuts, among other things. While your phone is connected to an external display you can still run phone-sized apps on your mobile device, allowing you to take calls on the phone while editing documents or surfing the web on the big screen.
Note that there are some limitations: only Universal Windows Apps are supported, so don’t expect to run classic Win32 apps that haven’t been ported to the new platform. And apps currently run in full-screen mode, which means you won’t have a series of resizable, movable app windows in the desktop view.
There’s also no support for connecting using an external camera, although you can use a USB connection to hook up external storage, audio devices, or a precision touchpad if you’d prefer that to a mouse.
via Tom’s Hardware