Microsoft is showing off software that could let you use a next-gen Windows Phone as a desktop computer. Windows 10 includes a feature called Continuum that allows the same device to be used in different modes.
Microsoft had previously shown Continuum working on 2-in-1 tablets, allowing apps to switch from notebook to tablet mode when you detach a tablet from its keyboard dock.
Now the company is also showing Continuum on phones: allowing you run Office or other Windows apps on a big screen.
Just hook up your phone to an external display and connect a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard, and your Windows 10 phone becomes a desktop computer.
Universal Windows apps such as Outlook, Word, and Excel can run in a full-screen environment and you can use standard Windows shortcuts such as Ctrl+c or Ctrl+v to copy and paste, or Alt+Tab to switch between apps.
What happens if you get a text message or phone call? You can take that call or read that message on the phone without interrupting the action on the external display… and you can even copy data from your phone using the tuchscreen and paste it into a spreadsheet or email message (or anything else) with a Ctrl+v.
Dual-screen features will even let you use Office on a big screen while your kids watch videos on the phone screen (or vice versa).
You’ll only be able to run apps that are available through the Windows Store — so Continuum won’t make a phone into desktop computer capable of running classic desktop apps (unless their developers convert them to Universal Windows apps). But if Microsoft succeeds in getting more developers to bring apps to the Windows Store, that might not matter much.
Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore says Continuum for phones won’t be possible on existing devices… it requires next-gen hardware that’s capable of driving dual displays. But I doubt Microsoft would have spent time developing this software if there wasn’t new hardware on the way that would take advantage of it. After all, the company does make its own smartphones these days.