Skip to main content

Microsoft shows off early concepts for what turned into Windows 10 Mobile's Continuum

Windows 10 Mobile officially launched this week with the release of the Lumia 950 smartphone from Microsoft. It includes the Continuum feature that allows the phone to be used like a PC when it is connected to a Display Dock. Now a new article sheds some light on how the Continuum feature was added to Windows 10 Mobile.

The Time.com article says that the first concept for what would be called Continuum was first proposed three years ago as a way to expand what a smartphone could do:

"Internally, the project became known as "Wizard and Tin Man," a nod to The Wizard of Oz. The smartphone is the wizard, as it brings brains to otherwise unintelligent screens. The name "Continuum" didn't come about until this year. "[The name was] interesting because all of us that grew up in the United States had an instant connection with this," says Peter Bergler, a principal group program manager at Microsoft. "Obviously Microsoft is quite a melting pot, and there are a lot of folks here to whom that meant nothing. So we had to introduce this whole Wizard of Oz concept to them."

Windows 10 Mobile's Continuum

After testing Continuum in focus groups, the team behind the project showed it to Windows and Device head Terry Myerson, who gave the go-ahead to move forward with it. The feature has already influenced one third-party smartphone maker:

"PC-maker Acer, for instance, initially intended to release an Android version of its Jade Primo phone before developing a version that ran Windows 10. Instead, it decided to go with Windows."

Source: Time; Via: WMPU

49 Comments
  • Ahhhh, now the Munchkin name makes sense. I wish they had kept that design though, the name dock would have made more sense, especially if it had a wireless charger build into the stand. It would charge the phone while you use it, making it last longer.
  • The dock charges the phone. You have a wired connection so that is faster than wireless.
  • Derp, clearly I didn't think that through. I still prefer the dock look from above though.
  • Tin man had a brain, he was missing heart. Shouldn't it have been wizard and scarecrow for this analogy? Smh
  • Lol & continuum reminds of sg1
  • If Microsoft can implement a "Reverse Continuum" where you use the phone screen as the PC itself, then it would be infinitely cooler than it already is!
  • For most cases you can use remote desktop for that. Only for gaming it's not ideal. Or your Wi-Fi connection must be very good.
  • Well if it supported non-azure remotefx it could work
  • For me an ideal smartphone would be a phn that can actually do the stuff of a PC.. Like playing compact discs., can install any kind of software, supports USB without restrictions, etc.. :)
  • Playing cds? Well your phone concept looks like a brick then...
  • Actually, since Grove Music is a universal app, with the Continuum adaptor, you can plug a USB DVD drive into the adaptor and the phone would be able to read the music on a CD and play it through the phone.  Haven't tested this yet, but I intend to when I get my 950XL and free Continuum adaptor I pre-ordered from Microsoft Store.
  • damn i want a 950 too but here in greece even if we see em on sale they will be so expensive and i need money for other stuff xD (you know ;) xD )
  • Πάνο μιας και εγώ ζω στην Ελλάδα και ξέρουμε καλά πόσο χάλια είναι η οικονομία, γτ δεν περιμένεις κάνα 6μηνο-1χρονο και να το αγοράσεις μέσω ίντερνετ? Θα είναι πιο φτηνό μεν, αλλα θα περιμένεις καιρό για να το έχεις στα χέρια σου. Έχω το Lumia 920 και το πήρα μέσω του skroutz το 2013, για 290€ περίπου και μέχρι στιγμής δεν έχει πάθει τπτ. (όταν το αγόρασα είχε περάσει περίπου ένας χρόνος απο την κυκλοφορία του και το πήρα κάτω απο τη μίση τιμή που θα το αγόραζα διαφορετικά) Αν θέλεις να σου πω και απο ποιο μαγαζί το διάλεξα πες μου. Αλλιώς σαν συμβουλή διάβασε καλά τις κριτικές και διάλεξε ένα απο τα online μαγαζιά που έχει τις περισσότερες και καλύτερες. Επίσης απέφυγε το φτηνότερο. Ελπίζω να φάνηκα χρήσιμος
  • Did you have a chance to test it in the meantime? My dock/phone does not recognize any CD/DVD, regardless if it is data, audio or video. the connected drive is simply not existant for my phone.
  • I guess he means with CDs external USB drives.
  • LOL playing compact discs? I remember as a kid I wished there was a way that I could have a set top box for tv I could carry with me. Portable TVs were out then so I figured there was some way to make a portable cable box. The "internet" never occured to me since it wasn't a thing yet. Anyways, why do you want your phone to play CDs? A CD is wider than most phones, is outdated tech, and would kill the battery considering it requires moving parts to work. Not to mention anything you can store on a cd can be stored in flash memory now.
  • would audio cassette be better?
  • No Sir!...Beta...might as well have videos to go with the music...
  • You are joking, right?
  • Seriously!
  • I really hope this guy doesn't expect 'his ideal phone' to play VCR cassettes as well !
  • It's been two years since I popped a cd into my laptop. Wonder why you'd want a phone to read a cd...
  • One word: Groove. Groove decided I no longer owned a license to a pile of music I bought from Microsoft last year. I'm either going back to buying digital from Amazon and hoping they don't screw me over, or all the way back to ripping CDs.
  • Lol we had that it was called umpc
  • Continuum and the whole Windows 10 Mobile aspect should have come two/three years ago so WP would have a chance...
  • They started it a while ago and just now came out with it. Obviously the technology wasn't there yet and it took time to implement. Programing isn't magic, the more complex a project is the longer it takes.
  • The Technology was there 2 or 3 years ago. Microsoft just didn't make phones or have a real OS to implement the Technology, as we still play catch up to other devices.
  • Let me rephrase it for you. Windows was not there yet. It's a 30 year old operating system that not only needed the ability to adapt to whatever display you are using it on, touch or non-touch, but it also needed to maintain its compatibility with software that is decades old. You have to stop thinking of Windows only in terms of mobile because continuum is not a mobile only feature, it's an additional step towards them unifying desktop and mobile.
  • If the tech was in place why didn't Google implement it with Android phones?
  • You do know there was a Motorola Android phone that did something like this around half a decade ago.
  • That Motorola smartphone is not even close to continuum let alone similar. There is an article on comparing that phone with the new concept in Windows Central, in case you missed it. And in case you say that their behaviour is similar, then a dumb phone and a 950XL are similar.
  • I think smartphone in general rlly should've became what they are now back in the 90s. Do u see how weird ur statement is?? Nobody has done this before. Technology is increasing at a staggering pace. Nobody can control how fast they will develop something if they didn't have the means nor knowledge back than lol
  • See Apple and Google do this and they will be praised. Like Surface, MS was ahead of the game. Windows 10 Mobile OS is now the most advance OS for mobile devices imho.
  • Wow, what an insightful comment!!! Your comment should have come two/three years ago so you'd have a chance...
  • I really like the continuum idea. With the clouds and a big memory SD v card it seems like a very nice solution for so many situations. Eg. Come home from work and plug in..... You get charging, pick up your emails and reply using a proper keyboard, tidy up the days photos, download the latest podcasts for tomorrow, catch up on the news... all using a proper relaxing keyboard and mouse.
  • Continuum should be without any display dock... Connecting via dock may not impress all the people. Cause that's a story of two gadgets.
  • Miracast supported displays can use Continuum. The dock is an accessory, you don't need it but it is a very useful tool. As long as you have a Miracast enabled display, you can hook the phone up to the screen and use Continuum.
  • But like usb2go/mhl it needs a power source that can keep up
  • Can't see it having big success, more like gimmick. As a free gadget given when buying a phone , well ok. But can't see people using it much or paying for it. It will end up collecting dust in most households with a PC connected on a display already in most cases. And when i want my phone on a big screen i use wireless display/ miracast. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • No.. It's not a gimmick. For now it has limited usage. But I think with the help of surface phone with proper customised OS and processor it will have huge application in future. Some of the ideas are shown in their Productivity Future Vision video. Also reverse continuum should also work so that PHONE and IOT devices can work with each other.
  • The article is incorrect, you an use Continuum wirelessly, MS just says it works better (as everything does) wired. You can use it with BT keyboard and mouse, or use the screen as a touchpad when connected to a wireless display. Also it's worth noting that at the Connect(); event this week MS said more than once they're researching/considering the ability to run full win32 programs in Continuum mode. I read between the lines and see "wait for the Intel based surface phone".
  • Would love to remind ya of your prediction, sometime in the not too distant future.
    Continuum is far from a gimmick. Although the average snap chatting teen can't likely know that. (not referring to you, of course)
  • Which continuum uses as well. Read the article.
  • So I have been trying to cast media to My Xbox one but I don't see the play to app anymore and dlna support doesn't seem to be native, also does continuum work wirelessly with the Xbox one, seems to puck up my neighbors Roku just fine
  • If there's no need of any kind of dock, just bluetooth to connect to the screen for continuum, then it will be perfect. People dont like to carry along all day that much.
  • why can't people just accept that it would work without a dock?
  • why can't people accept that it would work without a dock? Seriously people just don't stop asking.
  • While the world moves to Internet of Things, everything being connected, its nice that Nadella things different and bets the farm on unintelligent screens hanging around with peripherals and nothing to do.
  • the word "continuum" is so funny to me. because of my Caribbean dialect, "continuum"; fits perfectly to our dialect. we would use it like this:
    if yuh was usin yuh computer, n yuh was doin a documen yuh cud jus plug in ya fone tuh de TV n contin-u-um" English: If you were using a computer prior and you were working on a document you can plug your phone into the dock and continue it/ what you were doing with the continuum feature.
    I have no doubts that there is someone on the MS team that has Barbadian heritage! That was way too in place! Lol