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Here are 4 questions from Microsoft asking how they can improve Continuum for phones

Microsoft's Continuum is one of those fun technologies where not everyone can see how they'd use it, but in the back of their mind, they all agree that 'someday' this will likely be the future. Indeed, in 2005, I kept telling people how smartphones were the next big thing, yet everyone around me dismissed them due to "no need." "Just email them when you get home!" they said.

Now, smartphones are as necessary as heat and hot water, and I dare say we'll look back on November 2015 and Continuum as kicking off a new era. Still, there are about a dozen ways that it could be better, and Microsoft knows this, which is why they have four questions for you to answer about the feature.

The questions are posted on the Microsoft support forums, and they are very interesting, if only because some of you are looking to the horizon for what a Surface phone could do. That may be the case and even if not, it still behooves us to take a look.

Remember, don't just answer these here, but in Microsoft's support forums so they can track what people are looking for and expecting fro Continuum. Without further ado here are the copy/pasted questions by Jason[MS] from the Microsoft forums:

Question #1: What apps matter most on Continuum for phone?

We know that users want to be able to use more apps with Continuum. To help us prioritize getting the apps that you love and need the most, we'd like your feedback!

If you could use any app on your phone with Continuum, what would you use that you can't today?

If you could use any app that you have on your desktop or laptop PC with Continuum, what would you use?

Question #2: How will you use Remote Desktop with Continuum for phone?

We've heard a lot of buzz around being able to connect to a remote desktop from Continuum for phone. We are excited to share that the Remote Desktop Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app will be released very soon in Technical Preview.

We are very interested in hearing more from remote desktop users to help prioritize investments in this much-requested app.

How do you intend to use it on Continuum for phone? What apps will you run and what tasks will you do? In what environments or scenarios will you use it?

Question #3: What PC features matter most for Continuum for phone?

Continuum for phone allows you to use your phone like a PC. Today, there are still differences between your Windows 10 PC and Continuum for phone.

We're curious to hear your thoughts on these differences.

What desktop PC features do you miss most when using Continuum for phone? What are your top requests for features that let you use your phone like a PC?

Question #4: In what environments would you want to use Continuum for phone?

We are very interested in learning how Continuum for phone fits into your life!

Where would you use Continuum for phone (home office, connected to big screen TV, kitchen, dorm room, touchdown area in a public space, etc.)?

Go forth and answer!

To answer those questions and lend your thoughts please head to the Microsoft Community forums for each question and get posting!

Thanks, Tony Y., for the tip!

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

122 Comments
  • I like the fact that Msft is very interested in feedback from their fans. This shows that at least they are trying to improve.
  • Because they sacked a lot of people so all the QC and testing now rests on gullible insiders. Imagine that free labor and they dont even know it. MS masked it like hey people be an insider for us and get "good beta stuff"... But in reality they are saving a lot of dollars from it. ;)
  • If you think any less internal quality control is occurring, you're the gullible one.
  • The did fire lots of internal testers.
  • No you only have to play with a 950 XL to know there is no internal quality control
  • I see your point, but wouldn't we complain if MS based their results on a few tens or hundreds of testers in their QC department. Having these wiling "gullible insiders" benefits both parties...MS tests their builds with the help of bigger masses, and we get the benefit of testing early builds.
  • If people are willing, (and they are, going by the insider numbers) what is wrong with that? They know what "BETA" stands for in beta software.
  • But hey, free beta stuff
  • That's not true, you can't compare the minds of a few employee with the Windows insider community.
  • Really? What a stupid assumption to make. You really think they're relying on insiders who don't know the first thing about testing to replace actual testing?
  • Yes, they've exceeded the calls for feedback that occurred in the 90s from "exclusive beta test" groups. And, they've been somewhat interactive and engaging in the process today.
  • You're wrong, as usual
  • Uservoice was terribly abused with people that were not using actual software.
  • Make it for iPhone
  • LOL, that would require Apple to actually change something.
  • How about changing their logo from a 'left over apple' to an orange :p
  • LOL I see what you did there...
  • WTH?!!
  • Buy a Lumia
  • It need outlook dock
  • Dont worry, Microsoft will at some point, they are just a sellout these days with No Exclusives for their own platform....  
  • They need to start asking way more than 4 questions...
    ....
    But, to be be honest... Make continuum automatic. Instant.. Now, what could that mean?
  • Possibilities are endless.. They just need to find it and market it... Even if continuum can replace a real desktop.. They can't shoot it without proper marketing.. So they should start working on that side first...
  • Yep. I fully agree.... Poor marketing will, and always has, kill MS' best efforts..
  • Oh come on for once he forgot to complain about poor marketing and you remind him??? :p
  • How much more automatic and instant can it be than the current scenario? I plug it in and by the time I get the tv on and tuned, it's already running.
  • Place the phone near ANY smart tv, no cables no obsessive pairing procedure, just a pop up notification if you'd like to run continuum, click yes and voila.
  • Wireless screen cast can't replace wired screen... Also the phone has to loose performance to encode the screen and send it via Wifi
  • This is something great about Microsoft, always seeking feedback from users :)
  • And under delivering what we asked for..
  • Sorry to be the positive person here (I know how you people hate that), but compared to what everybody expected BEFORE the Windows 10 Mobile announcement, Microsoft over delivered. Everybody was shocked about Continuum for phones. Windows 10 Mobile is actually the biggest update since the original WP7 release in terms of features, improvements, etc.  Maybe you people are too underappreciative to realize it, but it's true. Most WP updates in the past have been small, a few upgrades at a time. W10M is not that way, everything has improved, and more features than any upgrades in the past have been added.
  • Please, Microsoft isnt doing us a favor, they are borderline non-existent in mobile and need any edge they can get, there's nothing to be "appreciative" about them "improving" their uncompetitive platform.
  • That's so ignorant. They're not worried about the present or what's "now". Microsoft innovates for the future, to change the field, like they always have.  They're the most amazing tech company there is. And I love it, I love the entire ecosystem. And yeah, I've used the Apple ecosystem and the Google ecosystem in the past, neither compare to how satisfied I am with Microsoft.
  • I think that some people have just made accounts in Windows Central just to show their disapproval for Microsoft
  • I like your comment Pratyush!
  • :P ;)
  • Oh yes looks that way
  • Don't letem steal your joy Nicholas! Microsoft has an amazing vision with all things Windows 10. And you are right......they are delivering almost DAILY now! It's actually amazing.  
  • Give me macro support in continuum, or, or, that's really my only request. Office needs macros to be more mobile AND productive.
  • I agree Microsoft is by far the best platform for both mobile and desktop. I have also used Apple and Google and the experience with Microsoft using both platforms is excellent and with Continuum I can only see great things. Just look at Google they have already realised that Microsoft are on to something and are in the process of trying to comibe Chrome OS with Android, two OS's that will not even come close to Microsoft's offering. Then there is Apple who will eventually bring something out in the future and the iSheep will hail and bow to the mighty Apple magical experience never before seen because they will give it a different name and claim they invented the **** thing.
  • I don't think anyone dislikes people being heavily positive, as long as they're accurate.
    "Microsoft over delivered"
    It did no such thing. 
    "Everybody was shocked about Continuum for phones"
    Nearly no one was shocked by this. Microsoft's transitioning UX concept was widely known to be coming with Windows 10 as early as mid-2014, following on the heels of the concept that Canonical introducted for Ubuntu earlier. The details of Continuum for phones was common knowledge for over 5 months before Microsoft finally showed it working on phones at Build 2015.
    "everything has improved"
    Where? Reading the Windows Feedback on my Lumia 640 running Windows 10 Insider build, the highest request recommendations/issues (and still unaddressed for many months) are things that Microsoft took out of the experience, making using Windows on mobile much less of a privilege.
  • Nobody was surprised about the PC version of Continuum. But I can't recall a single person expecting the phone Continuum before it was announced (maybe a few people thought it would happen, but not generally). People were excited. Everybody dreamt of it, and wanted it (it was in almost all concepts), but I don't remember anybody actually expecting it to happen, at least not this soon. And yes, everything has improved. The Feedback app is basically a place where people go to recommend things they want, or to complain about things that go wrong. So that's not a good place to look. All of the stock Windows 10 Mobile apps are a lot more feature packed and better looking than the old ones (besides Photos app really). Most new Windows 10 Mobile apps that have been released recently are of much higher quality than the crap developers put out with WP8 and 8.1.  
  • "Nobody was surprised about the PC version of Continuum. But I can't recall a single person expecting the phone Continuum before it was announced. People were excited. Everybody dreamt of it, and wanted it (it was in almost all concepts), but I don't remember anybody actually expecting it to happen, at least not this soon."
    Nearly all hegemonic syndicates' press outlets were expecting this when Microsoft announced the concept being a part of the Windows 10 universal stack in 3Q 2014 that'd be native to desktop, tablet, and phone.
    "The Feedback app is basically a place where people go to recommend things they want, or to complain about things that go wrong. So that's not a good place to look."
    There is no immediate gatekeeping to the feedback, so yes, it is a good place to look for what is going wrong and what has not improved and probably the only place you won't get overzealous Microsoft zealots editing your thoughts before others are able to view them. If I want to locate the blind brown-nosing exhultation of Redmond's products, I'll visit one of the many Microsoft-parrot sites.
    "And yes, everything has improved."
    The start screen and settings GUIs are ok, but "everything" hasn't improved. If anything, plenty has regressed. Maybe "everything has improved" for you, but where are you personally coming from in stating that "everything has improved"? WP8? 8.1? I am a faithful Windows Phone user who has used Windows Mobile at every version since using the UTStarcom/HTC PPC-6600 that launched with Windows Mobile 5 in 2006. I've been an MSDN subscriber since it came on CD's and am academically aware of the many paths Microsoft has stupidly chosen with Windows CE and NT. While I have continued to use its products, the beast needs to be put down until a proper spirit is in charge of UX progression, especially with regard to the end-user. The "stock" apps of W10m are demonstrably dumbed down from their WP8/WP8.1 predecessors and they're even less contextually navigable in normal usage than they even were on WP7/7.5/7.8. The app changes are inimical of flow and are reminiscent of how textbooks are gradually being dumbed down via Skinnerian methods.  Look up the term "boiling frogs". Metaphorically, that is what Microsoft (knowingly or unknowingly) is doing to users' common sense with its approach to OS/app progression for each release while the enterprise releases are much more manageable. There's something funky with what they're doing that goes far beyond their absence from addressing user feedback and app quality.
  • I like the approach msft took, and it's really good to see the frequency of updates. And hopefully it'll catch up to being a great platform. But what hurts the most is that, along with some basic functionality, (which of course depends on time), the performance and usability is not yet great.
    Yes, things are improving much faster now, but still the basic loading times, formatting, bugs, crashes need a huge polish. I'm a wp fan and am totally optimistic btw.
  • Yeah, biggest number of features for an update since ... WP8.1, since that was pretty massive as well. Except WP8.1 was fast and stable. W10M is slow, buggy, unreliable, inconsistent across the board and its 1st party apps are barely reliable. All in all, the whole of W10M is a joke, even more so when now it actually ships on devices.
  • ...and the rest is "soon...".
  • So far, feedback is just an image for Microosft to say "we are listening" but, on the highest requested items, bugs, and suggestions, it's been almost a 95% failure. Do they look ? Maybe, Do they do anything with the requests, this is a bigger question... GO head, PROVE ME WRONG. Look over Windows 10 feedback, Largest, highest bugs and requests, and then look over the REQESTED Xbox 360 games...out of the TOP 10 most requested, maybe 2 of them.... It's a joke and a PR thing only....
  • Apps.... Lolololololololol
  • I would like to see a solution with tablets. For instance it would be cool if my old surface rt could be a continium "slave" so you project the screen from the phone on that device. Then a lot of old devices would get a second life.
  • Really good idea. Not sure how difficult it would be to make this happen, but it would be awesome!
  • I would say just unlock the bootloader. People can install Ubuntu, Android or even moded version of windows 10 mobile on RT.
  • #RTLivesMatter
  • >#RTLivesMatter Good luck with that
  • I have the original Surface RT and that thing is garbage. Microsoft should give full refunds to anyone with POS. It can barely run a web browser. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Okay MS will stay take care of 950s users and leave the rest of lumias a continuum!! Are they ****** kiddin me :D
  • Old hardware is old hardware. You can't get every new feature.
  • He doesn't deserve an answer ...
  • Get a newer lumia.smh
  • La voz del pueblo es la voz de Dios...(People's voice is God's voice)
  • Hitler was the voice of god?? O.o
  • My answer to all of the above questions is simply make Phone Continuum transform the Surface Phone into a FULL Surface Pro shown in this concept. Phone Continuum is simply to bridging the gap between the phone UI and the Tablet/Laptop/Desktop UI. Walking towards 1 computing device for everything. ASUS materialized an Android version of what I want: https://db.tt/FNle2DAA https://db.tt/Exl53eY0 https://db.tt/TsSIW8jk Unfortunately, ARM tablets are joke when it comes to doing serious stuff. I want the above with full Windows, Intel Inside and perhaps Surface-like design.
  • Yeah I agree. Make a surface phone that can run all desktop apps, allow us to hook up to wireless mouse, and keyboard via Bluetooth. Forget smartphones. We need pocket pcs that let us make phone calls.
  • I think Microsoft should partner up with Asus to make this possible (well it already exist). This gives more reason for the existence of Continuum and hey, it might drive developers to make more Universal Apps for Windows 10 if these kind of hardware are common. It would be great if they could also sell these kind of devices in non-premium pricing, so people have lower price barrier to even try to buy these and drive userbase. The more people use it, the bigger incentive for developers. But yeah, the current problem is that we can't use usual Win32 apps with W10M at the moment. So they need to work hard on convincing developers to make useful and powerful Universal Apps. Another Microsoft part is they seriously need to make W10M Continuum to behave exactly like from a Desktop OS, that have floating windows with all Windows Snap features we just taken for granted and all the functionality of drag-and-drop. If they achieve all 3 essential basics, W10M Continuum can be a respectable alternative to full PC which only left the problem with Universal Apps. At the moment W10M Continuum is basically just a dumb-down Windows RT without Snap and all apps run maximized. It's really nothing like desktop experience at all but rather tablet-like experience on bigger screen, the concept that's been criticized in Windows 8 that they just repeat in W10M.
  • Very interesting points there, especially the part of Contunuum currently just beeing tablet experience on bigger screen, consider sharing that feedback to them in their question #3 thread.
  • I just forward my feedback on Microsoft Community. :D I'm also going to make feedback on Feedback app since I saw the channel about Continuum where I can directly send my feedback too. They should not waste oppurnity and they need Continuum for W10M to be great even its new. Missing an oppurnity will not improve the W10M situation.
  • I think we can be fairly certain, that the good folks at Microsoft, are working on bringing a full PC experience to Continuum, in later versions. Most likely in devices sporting Intel SOCs. But that is simply not available now in a scalable form. This phone can, on a TV or monitor, do 100% more than any iOS device, currently. It can also do more than is available using Chromecast, from an Android phone. We are at the nascent end of this technology. There is much more research, and development, needed, before we get the dream device, of a full PC, with a screen, in your pocket. But no one, is as close as Microsoft, to that goal. Let's wait and see. No one thought Microsoft was going to define a new class of device, with Surface. On it's face, at the beginning it was a commercial flop. But the follow-up devices, based on that early work, have made the company billions, delighted millions, and created an entirely new class, of pro tablet/hybrid/two in one devices, that have even made the Apple juggernaut stand up, and take notice. Who are we to second guess their next Mobile play, when they are way out in front of competitors, now?
  • I was big fan of surface phone (with intel processor). But I think it is not gonna happen. And if it happens, people will cry more about apps and games. Most of the applications for mobile are desgined for ARM processor. We would lose lots of apps. I think surface phone can happen if universal apps are successful.
  • Got our Lumia 950 XL handsets at work just before the weekend and very happy, there is room for improvement of course however much happier with Windows 10 Mobile, it feels much more elegant and flexible. One area is rather frustrating with Continuum... before Windows 10 Mobile and Lumia 950 we've always been able to Miracast our screens onto the Smart TV's and now is automatically going to Continuum, have attempted to change the setting for the screen which requires restart however keeps going back to Continuum, not certain if we're doing something incorrectly or is just bug?! If anyone can comment on this with helpful information it would be much appreciated.
  • When connected on the said tv open the continuum app on the phone hit elipse ... and change the setting to mirror
  • I have tried again now and no option for Mirroring, the only one possibly related is under "Continuum" then "..." then "Display settings" and "select display" which is by default set to "Main display" which when changed to "Connected display" it requires restart which then it goes back to "Main display". Unless I'm missing something and so are three other users; we're not seeing the option, not certain if there is a regional version of the firmware and UK one has this bug however is rather annoying as we use the screen mirroring much more currently. If any other suggestions please advise however at this stage we are rather certain this is bug which will be fixed in coming updates, hope so anyway.
  • in the select display drop down choose the connected display go bottom of page and choose advanced settings... mirror my display setting.  
  • Well done, that's done it, thank you. Actually it makes sense as it is the second screen.
  • Everything is easy when you know how... I only found out a few hours ago from someone else... :) Just wait at work until your Boss needs to do this and when all the others say it isn't possible come riding in like a Boss Knight and show him the solution...
  • Agree, thanks again :-)  
  • Well, I'll be that guy: Question 5: If Continuum is based on a phone that is hosted on a carrier Microsoft doesn't support, what use is it to me/my business?
  • Get an unlocked one? ( forget Verizon :p )
  • Yeah would be nice to do that if ATT had better than "outside smoke break" coverage. Or, Microsoft could have actually made a truly unlocked phone rather than the gimped ones the released. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Everyone's mileage is different. If I replace ATT with Verizon in your comment, that would basically state my experience with then in the areas I live/work. Coverage discussions are worthless between ATT and Verizon in my experience. 
  • Especially since the people starting the argument have used what they use forever and have no recent experience with the carrier they disparage.
  • Nice try, but no. My parents in law visit us twice a year and their ATT phones are useless indoors. We hire people periodically who come in with ATT devices and their devices are useless indoors. Thats why i used "smoke break coverage" - they only get signal if they go outside like the smokers. We spend money to help buy their contracts out. Dominance of a certain carrier re: coverage is a real problem in parts of the US. Don't believe me - come visit sometimes. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • No other carriers have dead spots. AT&T is the only one. Right. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Not worthless if Microsoft shuns that carrier. Their device, however, does become worthless. It's not a continuum, pardon the pun, but a binary problem: you either have service or you don't. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I don't think Microsoft shunned Verizon honestly. There is something going on behind the scenes that we are not aware of. I also don't think certification is the thing that is stopping them.
  • Question 4 hotel
  • Bring the snap feature
  • And run apps on windows. A basic behavior of a desktop-like OS.
  • Multi Window support like real Windows, and tablet mode where you can snap several apps (at least two).
  • I believe that requires powerful processor than currently existing ones in the phones..
  • How about making the updates to 950 work first?
  • Anybody can troll. At least try and be clever about it.
  • I would love win32 app. I have friends in small businesses that love to just issue phones to employees and supply docks at the office for their legacy app work. Then they don't have to give employees a phone and a laptop and they can handle shifts at the same cube easier since everyone brings their own hardware and just plugs in where they find space.
  • The xbox app to work with continuum ... And i would like to have a laptop like the motorola atrix. Just a screen an a keyboard. I connect the phone and bingo i have a full laptop.
  • Question #3: What PC features matters most for Continuum for Phone: It's really obvious. It needs at least basic essentials: - Apps that run on floating windows (a basic paradigm for desktop-like OS) - All functionality and behavior of Windows Snap from Windows 10 desktop+tablet - All the possibilities we can do with Drag-and-Drop functionality, a taken for granted feature that we used in desktop OS for ages. They just have to nail these 3 major features with some other less critical but also important features. Other features like: - Multiple Desktops (if the RAM is big enough, maybe at least 4GB) - Multi-monitor support (if the hardware is supported) - File Explorer app that almost match the usability and functionality from the desktop - Runs Win32 apps that at least doesn't requires much legacy dependencies (requires another major update for W10M, critically needed and if the hardware can support to run it). The device will need new Intel Atom and bigger RAM (at least 4GB). Some UI changes is also needed like: - Move that status bar from the top down inside the Taskbar beside the clock, similar to the desktop. - Move the Action Center buttons at the bottom part. - Some minor alignment and spacing on Taskbar buttons to be consistent from desktop counterpart.  
  • What I wish continuum was: 1) I go to a friend's house and need to work using a universal app on my phone 2) I plug in my phone using the USB- cable to his windows 10 PC 3) I then see an autoplay option to use my phone using continuum, which I then proceed to choose 4) Just like VMWARE / XEN / Virtual PC etc, I can now work on my phone in a Windowed mode, which can be made full-screen if needed.   No continuum/dock, no miracast non-sense, no issues whatsoever.
  • That's a pretty good shout. There's got to be a fair few scenarios where it would be easier to connect the phone to another computer, rather than directly to a screen. Shouldn't be all that difficult if they update the 'project my screen' desktop app to support continuum mode... Would even make sense to build the app into the desktop drivers.
  • Yeah, it's easier to implement that way. Though I think the reason why it's not implemented that way yet because they haven't come-up with a good reason, still they can still do it anyways and let people find a way. I'm also thinking that this should be baked on Windows 10 for desktop than just having separate app. 
  • A bank of America app would be awesome!
  • Yep. And Snapchat in full screen mode..
  • I've often wondered what people do with these banking apps???  Not knocking your needs at all but I just don't know what I'd do with my banks app if one existed...
  • Money transfers, check account balances, schedule bill payments, make deposits of checks with the camera, ect....... I use the full website pinned to my home screen which works okay, but misses some features still like the deposit checks function.
  • Win32 app support for Continuum please! Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Just make an Intel phone. Problem solved!
  • Encourage manufactures to build it into computers and screens, then there wont be a need to carry a box around
  • really? real multitasking on a so called DESKTOP seems like something they need to ask us to implement? apps need side by side windowing, RIGHT CLICKING, oh dear they really missed that... and if their famous cloud thing is so great why cant they run emulated x86 apps to your phone in continuum? that would avoid another windows RT public perception scenario
  • Would be cool to be able to 'install' Win32 apps to OneDrive and basically 'stream' them anywhere. :)
  • Ms has a **** load of money in reserves from the windows hayday sales , they fired everyone and now are asking the consumers what to do , the very fact that we buy stuff is coz we don't need to make em , why do you think apple is beating everyone they make stuff for ppl to enjoy not think over how it could be better. Ms = no class
  • Your comment on Apple makes no sense. Genuinely can't take your 'opinion' seriously.
  • Yeah, Apple may be beating Microsoft, but more Android devices are sold than both combined. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • The first thing i agree with
  • Apple beating everyone LOL high prices and minor upgrades thats all Apple is interested in they give Apple fans what Apple wants to give them not what the fans want. Give me Microsofts experience any day.
  • Tech is a never ending thing! What's hero to today, is outdated tomorrow.
  • Feedback needed from the 10 people that own Lumia 950s.
  • Considering I know more than 10 people with one I'd say you're wrong troll.
  • Yeah, it is now like 30. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android