One of Windows 10 Mobile’s truly distinctive and unusual features is Continuum. If you hook a phone up to a screen and, optionally, a mouse and keyboard, you can run desktop-style apps, albeit still powered by the phone. The connection to the screen and other peripherals can be wireless, using Miracast and Bluetooth, or wired, using the USB 3 Display Dock.
While the novelty of this is appealing, I’m not altogether sure that it’s ever going to be a major selling point. There are a couple of reasons: først, it requires quite specific hardware (although Miracast with Bluetooth is quite widely available); second, it requires Universal Windows Apps that specifically enable the ability to run on a large screen.
A new preview app has me feeling a little more excited about Continuum. Microsoft har released a preview of the Remote Desktop client for Windows 10 Mobile that includes Continuum support. The value of this is obvious: you can connect to a desktop PC running desktop apps, but unlike traditional smartphone remote desktop apps, you don’t have to try to use those desktop apps from the small screen of a phone. Just Miracast the display to a big screen, and those desktop apps will look and work exactly the way they should.
Jo da, this is an obvious use of Continuum; Remote Desktop is an app that easily scales to large screens and conveniently doesn’t have significant hardware demands of the phone, since all the apps run remotely.
Continuum still feels like a niche feature. But apps like this make it feel like it could be a little less niche. Using Remote Desktop for both remote administration and, perhaps more significantly, remote app access, makes your phone into much more than just a phone. While the need for suitable hardware is always significant—it’s going to be a while before you can reliably hook up a Windows phone to any old monitor and keyboard that you come across—Continuum turns the phone into the ultimate hotdesk-capable thin client. And that’s pretty neat.