Heard about the new Microsoft launches yesterday? Sure, there was a new fitness band and a few new handsets, but it’s those high-powered handsets and the tricks they can do that matter.
Microsoft, on the current Windows Phone platform, has a problem. No matter how you dress it up there’s just not the same selection of apps and games. Yes, some of the bigger apps are there but you’ll still find that they’re not always updated quickly and, like it or lump it, there’s going to be stickers in shop windows and on websites advertising “Android and iOS” apps with very little showing Windows Phone alongside.
So the solution, in a way, is to put the all-new Windows 10 “in your pocket” with the Lumia 950 and 950XL. Both have great specs, they will be able to deal with “Phone” applications and you’ll be able to run 32-bit apps via Remote Desktop plus there’s Windows 10 universal apps too. The key plus point in the launch yesterday was the magic you could do with this Display Dock, which kicks the Microsoft Continuum function into life.
You plug a monitor, keyboard, mouse into the dock and then you get a “PC-like experience”. Microsoft tell us that…
Office apps and Outlook scale up to create a big screen-optimized work environment that makes you more productive.
Basically what Microsoft want you to do is to buy one of their new 950 or 950XL handsets and then, when you get to your desk, you plug it into the HD 500 Display Dock. It’ll fire up your external monitor at 60 FPS Full HD and then you use your keyboard and mouse. While you’re doing all that, the USB-C port will charge the phone. You get to use Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook in a full scaled-up mode.
Your phone is your computer.
If you receive a call then you can still take it and send / receive messages without it messing up your big-screen experience, which will carry on operating while you’re chatting on the mobile.
Now, this is something we saw on the Motorola Atrix. It’s similar at least. We reviewed a few years ago. That didn’t really take off, so will Continuum do better? Well, despite some of the stuff I’ve read about this, the Atrix was quite clever. It didn’t just display Android apps on screen. I know, because I had one. There was a desktop interface, a full-screen browser and more. Have a look at my wobble-screen video from four years ago…
The big question is whether this is an idea that will work for Microsoft. We’ve not seen lots of Atrix-clones, so will this newer Microsoft solution perform better? Will Microsoft win back those many companies who have moved their mobile computing away from Microsoft?
For me, I’m honestly not sure. In my “other life” I’ve witnessed the huge change in IT purchasing. Executives and Directors wanted iPads early on. Three or more years ago, even when a Microsoft laptop was the best solution to a problem, customers instead wanted … an iPad. Whether those same customers will switch to purchasing an all-in-one solution based on Windows 10 … that’s a question and a half. I’d love to hear your thoughts.