Microsoft Turns Your Windows 10 Phone Into Full-Fledged Desktop PC With Continuum

Microsoft is bringing togetherness to the forefront with Windows 10. Microsoft promoted unity with the universal apps, which allows developers to create rich applications using the same codebase across tablet, smartphone, and PC form-factors. The Redmond, Washington-based software giant took things a step further yesterday with the revelation that developers will be able to easily port their Android and iOS apps to Windows 10.

But there’s another piece to this whole “kumbaya” movement in the form of Continuum. We’ve already seen what Continuum can do for convertible PCs — when operating in notebook mode, users are presented with a traditional Windows 10 interface complete with a keyboard/mouse-centric environment. However, Continuum also allows the interface to deftly switch to a touch-centric UI environment when working in tablet mode.

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Microsoft announced yesterday that it is extending Continuum to work on Windows 10 smartphones as well. When you hook up a Windows 10 smartphone to an HDMI-equipped monitor, you’ll be greeted with a desktop-esque interface. The user interface is not an exact copy of what you would see on a desktop or laptop running Windows 10, but — and here’s where the advantage of universal apps comes into play — the apps do look like their desktop counterparts. You’ll also be able to connect a mouse and keyboard to get the full desktop experience (or as a close as you can get with smartphone hardware).

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While all of this definitely sounds great, there is one big downside for those of you that already have Lumia smartphones — it simply won’t work on current hardware. Continuum on Windows 10 smartphones need hardware support to function, and we likely get our first taste of this next generation hardware when Microsoft releases its next generation Lumia flagship later this year.

You’ll also have to consider that while Microsoft’s upcoming flagship Lumia will feature a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, Windows 10 smartphones using Continuum won’t be able to offer near the same performance of today’s Intel Core-based processors when operating in desktop mode.