With the release of Windows 10 Mobile and the line up of Lumia devices I wanted to share some experience of using Windows Continuum.
Lumia 950 range 5.2”/5.7” Quad HD Amoled display, Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 808 Hexa-core/810 Octa-core, 20 MP sensor, Triple LED natural flash, 5 MP wide angle front camera, large 3000mAh/3340mAh removable batteries, USB-C™ fast charging, integrated wireless charging, 32GB + microSD up to 200GB (2TB support available)
Continuum for Phone scales Windows universal applications like Office to the larger screen, exposing additional content and PC navigation options (like toolbars and ribbons) that you expect from your PC experience. So from a consumer experience it feels just like using a Windows 10 PC and experience apps from the phone like their apps on a PC. Whats great is you have the full productivity experience of a PC, by connecting a keyboard and mouse to the Windows 10 Mobile devices, you can navigate and input the way you’re used to on your PCs however everything is powered by your mobile phone.
Continuum projects a separate Windows 10 “Desktop” on big screen. You can think of this as a second screen as the phone screen remains functional.
You will notice that if you have used a Windows 10 PC, the Continuum screen/experience is just the same. You have your actions center, toolbar and Cortana right where you think they would be on your PC. So, there really is no learning curve starting to Continuum for phone. In terms of file access I use OneDrive and OneDrive for Business so all my files are always up to date and accessible from any Windows 10 device, including your phone and with a continuum dock I can use External storage such as PEN Drive or local SD Storage on the Phone.
With big screen, keyboard and mouse, using your applications is like working on a PC. With mouse you can access the application toolbar and create and edit complex PowerPoint or Excel documents and review Word documents with tracked changes and things like mouse and keyboard shortcuts all work as they would do on a PC, As the Monitor or projection screen is a “second” screen to your phone, you can still use your phone to do other things. Like receive phone calls, send text messages or even run another application on your phone screen. And if you receive a phone call on your phone screen, it does not interrupt what you are doing on the bigger screen.
So for me its been a truely multitasking experience.
Continuum is a built in feature in Windows 10 mobile. There is no setup needed other than connecting your phone to the Display dock and big screen. The beauty of Windows 10 is that all Universal applications support Continuum for phone and scale to big screen. Developers do not need to specifically design their applications for Continuum. However they do have the option to tailor the experience for different screen if they want to. I will do a further blog to talk about the developer experience for continuum.
Office applications, Outlook and Universal 3rd party applications work right out the box with Continuum. This capability opens up new possibilities to use a smartphone for productivity work where previously a separate device was needed for tasks that required bigger screen, keyboard and mouse
Wired using Continuum Dock
Connect a HDMI or Display Port cable from the monitor to the back of Display dock.
Attach standard USB mouse and keyboard, wireless (USB dongle) or wired to the dock. You can use your existing Keyboard and mouse. You can also pair a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse directly to your phone.
Simply plug your phone to display dock using the supplied USB cable and Continuum should light up automatically
The USB connection from Display dock to the phone also charges the phone while it is connected
The Microsoft Display dock has HDMI and Display port in the back to connect to almost any Monitor or TV
Display resolution is crisp Full HD (1080p) @ 60fps so any content coming from your phone will be in FULL HD and has full Audio support
The Microsoft Display dock also has 3 USB 2.0 ports in the back for accessories like Keyboard, Mouse and USB memory sticks.
Both wireless and wired keyboard and mouse are supported
There is a USB Type-C connector in the front of the dock to connect your phone, while connected the phone is being charged as well
Connect a HDMI cable from the monitor to the back of the wireless miracast receiver or if you screen or device supports miracast simply ensure its enabled.
You can also pair a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse directly to your phone or use the continuum touch screen controls if you simply want to present or show content to the screen.
To connect, simply open the continuum App. If using USB keyboard and mouse, ensure the “Allow input from a keyboard or mouse connected to this display” box is checked for your display on the connect page.
Currently Continuum for phone does not natively support traditional Windows applications (Win32 apps). But there is a solution and my favourite demo is showing either CAD or Visual Studio 2015 running via the Universal Remote Desktop application.
With the Universal Remote Desktop Application user can connect to a remote computer (own PC, dedicated server hardware or virtual cloud my preference is a dedicated VM in Azure running the software which I need) . In this case the application is run in the remote computer which means that mobile user can use the full power of the PC/Server to run the application. Using cloud services to run the application enables scaling of the resources based on user needs.
Remote Desktop is a separate application that user can install from Microsoft Store or it can be pushed to managed devices.
Using Remote Desktop app user can connect to a remote PC and project the remote PC UI to the big screen. Using Remote Desktop you can, for example, connect to your office computer from home and access all your applications, files, and network resources as though you were in front of your computer at the office. You can leave apps open at work and then see those same apps at home / while travelling - all by using the Remote Desktop client.
Another solution is running remote applications
There are many ways a Remote Desktop- Remote Application session can be set up. It can be used to connect to
A Personal PC
PC/Laptop can be left at work in standby and you can use Remote Desktop application to connect to the PC (from home or when travelling). Your PC UI will be projected to the Continuum screen as you were there. All the application and resources from your PC will be available to you including all the applications you have installed on your PC. The connection can be protected by a VPN tunnel so that all your data will be safe.
On Premises server
With on premises servers (corporate managed or hosted) users can connect to applications shared (RDSH) in the server or to server desktop UI (RDVH) (Windows Server Desktop).
RDSH – An Remote Desktop Session Host server is the server that hosts Windows-based programs or the full Windows desktop for Remote Desktop Services clients. Users can connect to an RD Session Host server to run programs, to save files, and to use network resources on that server. Users can access an RD Session Host server from within a corporate network or from the Internet by using Remote Desktop Connection or by using RemoteApp.
RDVH - Remote Desktop Virtualization is a Remote Desktop Services role service included with Windows Server 2008 R2. RD Virtualization Host integrates with Hyper-V to provide virtual machines by using RemoteApp and Desktop Connection. RD Virtualization Host can be configured so that each user in your organization is assigned a unique virtual machine, or users are redirected to a shared virtual machine pool where a virtual machine is dynamically assigned.
Applications in the cloud
Hosting applications in the cloud gives companies the host the selected applications in the cloud without having to worry about hardware and maintenance. Cloud is also easily accessible from anywhere with Internet connection. Cloud resources can be dynamically scaled as the amount of users or applications changes. Company install all legacy applications in the cloud so that anyone with need to access these applications has a very convenient and simple way to use them
So overall I’m loving the continuum consumer experience! If you have experienced continuum I would love to hear your views/thoughts.