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Microsoft's mobile offensive is about transforming the game

I loved climbing trees, wrestling, playing kickball, baseball, chase and an assortment of other games. I, however, did not like football. Nor was I particularly good at it. So when the neighborhood kids reached a consensus that football was the game for the day, I used what influence I had to try to change the game. Sometimes I presume it worked. And when it did I was usually successful in the game that better fit my particular strengths.

Microsoft's position in the current iteration of the mobile war, as we've been reminded time and again, was a losing battle. Four to seven inch, single purpose, app focused smartphones are the current device type that are both popular and populate the smartphone market. Since the iPhone's launch in 2007 followed by androids unrelenting march into the consumer space, Microsoft's mobile position has been overshadowed and overtaken.

Whether it was a slow response to the advent of the consumer smartphone market or some other factor(s), it's clear at the end of 2015 that the current iteration of the mobile war is not Microsoft's game. Redmond realizes this. Their retreat and retrenching are a clear acknowledgment of this reality. But make no mistake Microsoft is not surrendering. Believe it or not, they're changing the game.

"He who fights and runs away lives to fight another day."

We'll be Back

In a September 8th, 2015 interview Microsoft's Chief Marketing Officer, Chris Capossela gave candid, sobering and surreptitiously inspiring responses to questions regarding Microsoft's mobile future. Before we dive into that dialogue, allow me to draw your attention to a point that is obvious to any industry watcher and what was apparently obvious to the interviewer.

Since the 2012 introduction of the Surface and Microsoft's success with a single OS and platform features like Continuum, convergent devices is the clear direction upon which Microsoft is focused.

WALTER PRITCHARD: I'm wondering if you were to fast-forward three to five years from now…what is Microsoft's footprint look like in the phone market? Again, let's call them the standard phone, not a hybrid… just a plain old phone.

CHRIS CAPOSSELA: Four to seven inch.

WALTER PRITCHARD: Yeah, four to seven-inch touch screen phone, what is the Microsoft role in that market three to five years from now?

What is interesting to me is the level of specificity with which Pritchard directs his question. He is clear to eliminate from the conversation the idea of a hybrid phone. Chris follows suit with his response that is equally as specific.

In my opinion, he accurately gives an answer about how Microsoft will approach the phone market. However, in what he deliberately does not say about hybrid devices, he communicates I believe, that Microsoft has plans for a mobile device that is not a "phone" but addresses that market. (As well as the small tablet market and the PC space.)

"I think we have too much to do in front of us right now to get back in the game with the two audiences that we think we can serve incredibly well. And then we'll see how things evolve." -Capossela

Evolution of the Smart "phone"

The mobile space is evolving. There is evidence of "hybrid device genes", early indications of a particular "mutation", manifesting in consumer behavior, the industry and corporation's response to users use of smartphones as their primary personal computer. Apple, Google, and Microsoft are all attempting to ensure that their mobile vision is in line with this industry evolution. Just as Neanderthal's and Homo Sapiens both purportedly evolved with similar physiology and coexisted within the same biosphere, only one had the necessary genes to survive.

Unlike Apple's Tim Cook, who is (at least publically) committed to keeping iOS and OS X distinct platforms Microsoft sees a world where a user's experience follows them across devices by way of a single platform. Apple hopes to achieve the same by maintaining distinct OSes and device types via Continuity.

"These operating systems do different things. We have no intention to blend them."–Tim Cook Sept 29, 2015

Google is attempting to merge elements of Chrome and Android by 2017 with an introduction of the product as early as 2016. Though Google's SVP for Android confirms that:

"While we've been working on ways to bring together the best of both operating systems, there's no plan to phase out Chrome OS."–Hiroshi Lockheimer November 2, 2015

What is apparently clear to all three big players is that there is an undertone, an evolution if you will, within the industry toward mobility of experiences and device agnosticism. What is interesting however is that not only is Microsoft's current position in mobile distinct from its rivals, but the firm's future vision remains distinct from what it's successful competitors are doing as well.

Consider. Both Apple and Google have found success in the current computing paradigm with two distinct OSes. Apple maintains iOS and OS X while Google provides Android and Chrome. Both of these companies, based on statements from their respective leadership, are intent on maintaining multiple operating systems despite the clear direction of the industry toward device agnosticism.

Dominant Species

I believe that Microsoft sees the current manifestation of the device-centric smartphone war as a poor fit for the device agnostic future. Thus, Microsoft is playing a different game. With a single OS core that runs across all device types, Redmond is positioning itself for the device agnostic future where regardless of what device a user uses they will always be using Windows 10.

There's a desperation within Redmond, however, as it strives to ensure it has a mobile future. With 1.4 billion active Android devices, (almost equal to Redmond's 1.5 billion PC install base) Microsoft realizes that as computing becomes increasingly mobile, a future in computing requires a strong mobile presence.

Thus, they're not just patiently waiting for the shift to occur. They're doing all they can to push the industry more quickly toward that mobile-first device-agnostic future.

Gene Splicing

Whereas Google and Apple are content to maintain the current paradigm of multiple OSes with subtle internal changes to their operating systems Microsoft's efforts are far more radical as we approach a shift toward device convergence.

With features like Continuum for the phone via Windows 10 Mobile and the Universal App Platform, Microsoft has spliced a desktop experience into a phone form factor.

Flagship phones like the Lumia 950/XL, boasting Continuum, are powerful early representatives of the direction Microsoft is attempting to push the market in relation to convergent devices.

The company, however, is not content with the limited reach the availability of Continuum via a flagship phone provides. Redmond is already talking about bringing that convergent experience to lower cost devices.

"We may decide we want to bring this to lower-rent phones...We may want to compromise the way that it works on a $75 phone compared to a $600 phone. But until people understood what the potential was, we felt like we would not capture their attention." – Peter Bergler, a principle group program manager at Microsoft.

Bergler's statement supports Joe Belfiore's early assertion that one of the target demographics for Continuum is emerging markets, where an affordable cell phone is likely a person's only computer. Additionally, Bergler is clear that Microsoft is attempting to capture the attention of the market with the forward thinking feature of Continuum.

It is worth noting that the truly all-in-one convergent device with a single OS and app platform that can be phone, tablet and PC is yet to reach the market. The idea of such a device has occupied the annals of science fiction and even our childhood cartoons for years. Think Penny's multipurpose computer from the 1980's cartoon Inspector Gadget.

As such Microsoft is attempting to be the company to materialize this vision before an industry and consumer base that is beginning to experience the hints of the desired all-in-one multipurpose device as our smartphones, increasingly become the center of our digital experiences.

If Microsoft can appeal to consumer's desires for that single-device experience, as the only company with a unified platform and the greatest potential, as demonstrated by Continuum and the UWP on the Lumia 950/XL, for providing an all in one device, Microsoft may indeed change the game.

Adaptation

After Charles Darwin beheld the unique diversity of life on the secluded Galapagos Islands, his ideas regarding an organism's adaption to its environment took shape.

"Yeah, we've definitely retrenched. I wouldn't say we've modestly, we've massively retrenched." -Capossela

Microsoft has secluded itself, temporarily, from the "dangers" of a head to head battle with rivals Google and Apple in the general smartphone market. With a focus on three specific markets, fans, enterprise and value consumers, Microsoft spares itself the consequences of being perceived as a major player vying for a share in a losing battle.

If Redmond succeeds in the smaller space to which they have committed they will have succeeded in building fans and relationships, developing a richer ecosystem and positioning an evolving product for positive visibility to the broader market though not yet directly targeting them.

Within the secluded environment of its target markets, like the symbiotic relationship between a clown fish and coral reefs, Microsoft's relationship with fans and enterprise may cause its mobile strategy to thrive.

During this self-imposed exile, the app Bridges will ideally be adding to Window 10 Mobiles "DNA" equipping the platform with the required tools to survive once it re-enters the broader space.

Additionally, Nadella's aggressive push to get Windows 10 on as many devices as possible by offering it as a free upgrade and its ability to work well with tablet's and 2-in-1's has made it the fastest Windows adoption ever. Nadella's admission in his July 14th, 2015 interview with Mary Jo Foley that the free upgrade was reflective of his commitment to the phone may begin to yield results as the platform's increasing base provides an enticing target for developers to create Universal Apps.

Hybrid

When Microsoft re-enters the mainstream mobile space, it will likely be with the hybrid tablet/phone Capossela and Pritchard alluded to. This device will benefit from "genes" passed down to it from Microsoft's phones such as the Lumia 950 family.

As evolution teaches that Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens coexisted for a time, so too I believe will Microsoft's Lumia phones and the hybrid Surface "Phone." This will allow Microsoft to serve the phone space with a device that has elements of the "more evolved" hybrid device that the company will be attempting to push consumers and the industry toward in 2016 and beyond.

Survival of the fittest

Apple and Google are content with their formula for success. In the face of an evolving market toward a single device, their shifts seem more toward maintaining the previous model of mobile computing rather than adapting to the new environment.

Conversely, Microsoft is not only meeting the shift but seems to be pushing the industry toward it. This initiative along with likely being the only company that will have a continuum of devices in the market, serving the current paradigm of distinct devices as Apple and Google, while providing the next evolution in mobile, a convergent device, Microsoft will have effectively changed the game.

Jason L Ward is a columnist at Windows Central. He provides unique big picture analysis of the complex world of Microsoft. Jason takes the small clues and gives you an insightful big picture perspective through storytelling that you won't find *anywhere* else. Seriously, this dude thinks outside the box. Follow him on Twitter at @JLTechWord. He's doing the "write" thing!

210 Comments
  • Thanks for reading. It's worth noting that Microsoft's strategy extends beyond targeting a small group of 3 segments with specific devices. A closer look reveals a deliberate effort to reshape the paradigm of the industry to adopts its mobile vision over the status quo established by its rivals.
  • Absolutely a great read. Thank you, and I'm waiting for the world where my pc is in my pocket. Although for now I would like to have accounts for my kids on my phone. Yes distinct accounts with variable rights.
  • They are always a great read. No idea how they are so good every week but Jason continues to deliver.
  • @Triogap Thanks so much. I appreciate that. Glad you enjoyed and I too look forward to Microsoft's PC in my pocket. I hope to however get an XL soon. :-)
  • @Jason Ward:
    I give you that Microsoft seems to be the only player in the market that thinks beyond the current computing paradigm.
    But, as always, they are terrible at conveying their vision. They advertise this stupid Continuum Dock so heavy (but why? Just to make a few extra bucks?), that most people don't get that Continuum works wirelessly via Miracast and Bluetooth. So Tech-Media discredits Continuum as being a good idea with a cumbersome execution, due the perceived need for extra hardware (dock and cables), instead of just hitting a button and connecting wirelessly with available hardware.
    This promises do be a unnecessary deal breaker for many interested people.
  • Ahead of the curve. Who would have guessed MS would sell Surface's before they did. Maybe, just maybe they do know what they are doing.
  • @Triogap:
    Ever heard of Kids corner?
    Handing your kids over a device with limited, pre-defined set of capabilities, is exactly what this feature is for.
  • Is the Kids Corner there in WP10?
  • yes
  • Kids corner is to limited in my experience. On my Windows tablet every child has their own account with own pin/picture unlock so they can use it by themselves. My kids are preteens so I don't think they need their own phone but it would be nice if I could give them the same experience with my phone as the get with my tablet and laptop. It's all Windows 10, so would be nice. And if you make this account system very dynamic in the sense of providing rights to these accounts i.e. Settings Store etc. It would also be a great feature for people who want to use their phone for personal and work use. You just enter your phone with the other account and you have the start screen all set up for that purpose. I've used kids corner ever since I bought my 620, but I just think their would be so much more potential in having accounts as you do on your phone. One thing that always bugged me with the kids corner is that you cannot set a unique pin for it. So you can learn the pin to your child and they cannot abuse (or accidentaly share) it. In the earliest iterations of Windows 10 Insider Preview the kids corner had a bug where it would sometimes swap the start screens. So your child got your start screen and you got your childs start screen. All other stuff, i.e. notification center and app list, where only accessable in the correct place.
  • Great article as ever! I look forward to these well thought out reads every week. :) ​Agreed that Microsoft are positioning themselves a little further down the line, it'll be exciting to see how the app bridges work out for them. Hopefully they'll bring in enough awareness that developers get on board as even being able to run full Photoshop from your phone via Continuum this time next year simply won't be enough of a pull for the masses if they don't have Snapchat or an app for their bank or an app for whatever event or gallery they're visiting etc. Will be fun to watch on the front line! :)
  • A great read again! Thanks Jason! Only if people like you wrote for other sites(i am looking at you verge).
  • Sadly, The Verge is sitting deeply in Apple's deep pocket.
  • That'd be because despite the marvelous future world that Microsoft will bring some day to us, right now, I just can't print directly from my Windows Phone to my Epson printer, even if I had the 950 XL. It's very good news to have Microsoft thinking about the future and making solid steps towards it, but we must live our day to day too and that's right now. I think The Verge judgement's influenced or determined not for a promise but for a fact.
  • The one thing that irks me is MSFT's lack of interest in their mobile. For example they didn't advertise the dual sim feature of 950XL. No or little advertisement of the new mobiles.
  • After using these phones myself, I can see why they didn't advertise or show faith in these phones. "For the fans" is a cop-out. I think even msft knows these phones are lackluster, at best.
  • Agreed.  At least the 950 is very lackluster at best for me too.  The best thing about these phones are the MOZO's back covers.  The speakers are just horrible on the 950's I have tried out. As great a writer Jason is I wish they would do an expose on visiting carrier stores.  It doesn't matter what Microsofts does if the carrier employees don't recommend WP devices, they wont sell.  And those employees no little if anything about WP.  This should be the focal point for Microsoft.  IMO.  
  • Lackluster, no way. Have had the XL for half a day now and find it way better than the other "6-series" of Samsung and apple as a hardware device alone. Does not need a cover, and is durable and top of the line tech. USB C so it will be around in the household for years to come.
  • I've had the 950 for a week and it absolutely is lacklustre. I've already gone back to using my 1020 as my daily driver. The camer, head to head, is STILL quite a bit better than the 950, the 950 crashes left and right (my wife has an identical unit and runs into the same thing).  In fact, my wife got VERY angry today while TRYING to take pictures at our big Thanksgiving shindig and the camera app completely froze.  She had to do complete reboot to get the camera working again.  Also, we BOTH had to plug our devices back in to get charged up for the rest of the afternoon (even though we started the morning with a full charge).  We have most of the extras turned OFF, too!  We both hate Windows 10 Mobile compared to WP8.1, so that just adds to the frustration over spending $1200 on these devices.  So, yeah, lacklustre.
  • Dude, you and your wife are HARDCORE MS fans to spend $1200 on Windows Mobile devices in late 2015. I salute you.
  • I've had a different experience. I'm finding the images from the 950 to be superior to my 1020. As for device performance. I had some issues and decided to do a hard reset and NOT restore from a backup. That fixed most of what ailed my 950.  
  • you just need to take those unit back. I have had mine since the 25th and even when setting it up it did not get vry hot and it has only had a crash with the messenger app which happened on my 640 alot so either you have two lemons or are just not RTFM.
  • @egonomist:
    Since Microsoft employed the same method of construction for the Lumia 950 and XL as with Lumia 535 and 640, you'll be surprised very soon by the backplate amassing cracks and parts chipping away for no apparent reason. Durable my a*s!
  • Funny, my 640 that i've been using for months hasn't ammased any cracks...
  • Had 640 for 6 months now, no such surprises despite a few drops. But good to know I can expect same durability from 950XL which should arrive on Friday =)
  • @LasVegas:
    Several people dubbed Lumia 950 and XL as "fan service". If this were true, Satya Nadella must hate Windows Phone/Mobile fans more than I expected...
    Jason Ward bends reality to fit his believes. In his last piece he claimed the fact that Microsoft dedicated a longer time slot to Lumia 950 and XL than to any other device at their october event, shows how dedicated Microsoft is to Windows on phones and how important the Lumia 950 and XL are to them.
    He should've watched more closely. On fact the devices itself were only presented mere seconds. Most of the time frame Jason claimed as being dedicated to the Lumia 950 and XL was actually a presentation of Continuum. So Windows 10 was in the limelight most of the time, while Panos Panay actually hid the devices almost as quickly as he pulled them from his pockets.
  • If continuum is a by product of Windows 10 and not the phone as you claim, why is it only available to the 950/XL?  You don't think a presentation of one of the key differentiating features of a particular device is showing it off?
  • You have to consider ROI. Why waste resources on advertising a product that will likely be midly successful? I think their surface phone will be the true game changer. Rubino had a great article on this. The surface brand doesn't just complete, it reinvents. This is where they should devote their ad campaign to grow imo.
  • Exactly. MS is not going to keep trying to run Windows Phone as if it can be a big player - not right now anyway. Its money flushed down the toilet until there are apps to run on these devices. The focus is to sell Windows 10 - tablets, XBox, Hololens, whatever sells. Get users to the platform from other entry points. Then, if the apps come, they can put money behind a serious push with phones - or their vision of a phone-ish thing.
  • Just remember, when Microsoft entered the Search business with Bing and the gaming Console with Xbox, the company lost millions but now both are pulling in a profit, including Bing so MS can go the distance if they wish to
  • Exactly, If they wish for.... Sadly they don't think of Windows Mobile as their focus
  • [quote]Just remember, when Microsoft entered the Search business with Bing and the gaming Console with Xbox, the company lost millions but now both are pulling in a profit, including Bing so MS can go the distance if they wish to[/quote] If they actually had that wish, they wouldn't have gutted their mobile division multiple times in the last 18 months.
  • Agree not a single advert here in Australia
  • This is true. Walked into a T mobile shop with a great 50% discount promotion on phone and contact, only to be found out by asking for the phone. They had it in the shop without any advertising. So ridiculous
  • Are you saying Tmobile carries the 950?
  • You know that these phones aren't for everybody nor is intended to convince people to switch to WP. These phones are for Windows Phone fans who don't need advertisement. Microsoft battle has not started yet. They are just answering the call from WP fans specially the Insiders. End of next year will be the "real" game changing devices will come.
  • Very well said.....
  • After picking up my 950xl yesterday, it was interesting watching person after person walk into the ms store almost demanding their new lumia 950s
  • I am a damn Windows Phone "FAN"!  And these phones are simple.  The OS currently is crap.  And YES!!! LET'S SAY IT AGAIN.....  ALL AT ONCE.   LET'S WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR!  THAT'S WHEN THE "REAL" GAME CHANGER WILL HAPPEN!!!!! As a "FAN" I've heard this for the past 5 years!  It's a broken record.  Next year will produce the same damn thing.  No change doctor.  The patient will soon die.  And as far as insiders are concerned, if they are the ones who thought removing the pivots in the major apps were a good thing then I know for sure these weren't "REAL FANS".  It feels good getting that off my chest!  :)
  • That's some idiotic thinking. Maybe you can get a job writing at The Verge or Gizmodo.
  • What's idiotic is people going out and spending $600 on of these 950 phones and telling themself that it's a good investment because the MSFT Smartphone that can actually compete with Apple & Google is COMING SOON..............
  • How about people like me that have no intention of going to Apple and Google and do not mind paying that price on a phone with good specs.  The 950 checks everything i want in a phone and none of those requirements are a glass/metal back which is what most here are hung up on.
  • I agree with you, I can't even reply to messages using skype through the messaging app, I can read but not reply and I dont want to hear some workaround, either it works or it doesn't. I have a Galaxy S6 as my main phone and the only thing that will get to switch back to fulltime Windows 10 Mobile will be a surface phone with Iris scanner, fingerpring and beefed up continuum.
  • I still think that OS has more to do with it than the hardware. Windows 10 (and mobile version) has come a long way since its beginning. They've made a very strong core. Really. You can feel it, as new functionalities take much less time to be implemented. I don't believe anyone has seen more changes in any app in iOS/Android than that in windows 10 mobile. And the good thing is that updates are steady, and they keep improving the experience bit by bit. I mean just compare the time it Android and iOS, with that of windows 10 mobile. But problem is, it's still not 100%. I may be 90% completed, but people feel the half baked-ness. Yes I believe by the time they release their intended Business Phone next year, OS will be fine, and will be available in all of the lumia devices. They'll definitely put more power in flagship phones for continuum, to give it more desktop feel and atleast 2 apps at a time multitasking. Then as you said, "real" game changing things will happen by the end of next year.
  • Are you saying that MS has poor marketing for mobile???.....
    ....
    Really? Who would've guessed..
  • I think the question should be... MS has Marketing for mobile??
  • That is definitely a red herring when you consider that the enterprise segment in particular is made up of a powerful Grou of consumers who have more choice than ever, and more influence over internal IT shops, in determining the selection of standards. Trends toward device agnosticism and bring-your-own-device means that MS will have to play to win in the consumer space in order to win the enterprise space.
  • I don't know where you work, but for the large company I work for, BYOD is not an option. We have little influence on IT decisions. I expect most large (25,000+ employees) companies are the same. It may seem like small potatoes in the billion-phone market, but that's how it starts. Employees use the devices, convince their family members to do the same. Then it spreads to friends and so forth. It won't happen overnight, and it won't happen in the next year or two. It'll take time, but I can see the path Microsoft has chosen as working in the long run, and that's what really matters.
  • Good point.  I'd love see all these companies where BYOD is being used.  Certainly not where I work, either.  We have to control every little thing on our network.  EXTREMELY limited variety of devices, forced refreshes to maintain uniformity, very stringent global policies.  BYOD will never be a player in our network.
  • Old-school IT-department-led systems architectures are on the decline, I sure hope MS isn't banking on dinosaurs for their future. Kodak didn't do BYOD either.
  • Good point. Been a user since the old windos mobile phones. Got the HTC HD7 later and switched my dad and girlfriend onto the same phone. Later convinced my brother and he bought and LG and later the Lumia 925 as did I. Girfriend upgraded to 925 and dad upgraded to 930. Mum picked up a low end Lumia. Her work mates were being funny with her for not having an iPhone but even she who knows nothing about specs etc, can appreciate live tiles as opposed to a static home screen not to mention simply pressing a button and instantly taking pics. 3 mates were asking me about phones and after chatting with my brother and me they ended up buying Lumia 930 and later Lumia 830. Brother is now looking at Lumia 950. Although I would have preferred a more flagship looking flagship phone, decent 3rd party shells like Mozo could also be seen as the future of customisation for mobile phones as they are more than just a phone cover. So yes "Then it spreads to friends and so forth".
  • The demands of security and scalability with enterprise systems will dictate device decisions at the enterprise and government far more than consumer fashion will.
  • Most IT departments let the employees use whatever they want, as long as it's secure enough.
  • Wonderful read. Thank you
  • Great article! I believe Microsoft will succeed! Greetings from Portugal
  • Excellent article once again Jason.
  • @Jason : It's always interesting to read what you write.. Coz you see things in a bit different light comparing to other windows central writers.
  • Excellent job, Mr. Ward! This very closely mirrors many of the arguments I've made to the negative Nancys over the past year or so, but you've done it in a much more eloquent fashion than I ever managed. This article should be required reading for the tech writers at the WSJ, NY Times, USA Today, et al. Maybe those idiots would start to catch a clue.
  • You really think this will convince anyone? Microsoft is trying to answer a question that the cloud has already addressed. There is no point in using your phone as a desktop when your data is already ubiquitous through the cloud. PC hardware is dirt cheap and only getting cheaper. Microsoft is answering a question people stopped worrying about years ago. They are not changing any game. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Run autocad on your iphone for 8 hours a day then
  • That is no where near a mainstream use case and will not drive sales. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Congrats, Jason! Nice article!!
  • Seriously though... I really hope Microsoft has been reading these articles.
  • Why? No one outside of this site believes anything in these pie in the sky articles, the rest of the world is enjoying advances in mobile technology NOW and not in some future utopian tech future defined by a company they hardly acknowledge.
  • It's best if you realize that tech bloggers are not the rest of the world and that Microsoft is actually going back to their roots by angling for the Enterprise more. How did Windows PCs wind up in most homes? Because it's what people use at work. Having one OS everywhere is an amazing proposition. Stop thinking so small.
  • Why? What does it matter using one OS when everything is in the cloud anyways? This 2005 dream is no longer relevant. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Lol again with this flawed theory
  • You called it flawed, but have no insight into how. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • You realize that the cloud is only useful if one has internet access right?  The internet can and does go out sometimes and I'm not talking about in  rural areas, I'm talking about in metropolitan ones.  I'm not saying the cloud isn't great, I'm saying that no company with half a brain is going to do things solely in the cloud and certainly not any work that requires heavy lifting.  You can run cloud-based services all day long...as long as your connection doesn't drop.
  • It is quite rare these days to not have an internet connection available, especially on your phone where you usually have multiple connection options. Internet is getting more ubiquitous, not less. Niche business uses are not going to drive mainstream sales. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • And another reason Windows was famous was the DEV support and the different types of application and system flexibility that was present... I don't see any of it in Win10...  You know the saying that anything is as strong as its weakest point... 
  • Yeah... Look at those advances... Google with their offline maps and Apple with their bigger screens.
  • Offline maps are a BIG deal.
  • I think the point was that these aren't "advances".  Large screens and offline maps were being done YEARS before.
  • Exactly, I'm rocking an iPhone 6S(128GB) and One Plus One. I do not have any faith in Microsoft to deliver in mobile ever again.
  • I have a little faith in them, if they can get a surface phone out, otherwise screw those numbered Lumias, they are trash.  
  • Why does everyone thinks that Surface is a silver bullet and would fix things... Its the same wishful thinking as we had for the Next WP version will fix everything and we will have double digit marketshare... Soon we might have less than single digit marketshare... Have you seen the issues everyone is facing with SP4/SB... The issues with Win10... the beta WP10 being launched with expensive pricing... MS is not interested in selling Lumia's at any volume... they are probably only manufacturing 100 units each week for worldwide delivery... As much as it pains me to say it... its time to move to iOS/Android... Heck even MS wants it... just use their Apps on those platform... They are much better anyway...
  • AMEN!!  My "Microsoft Experience" is better than it has ever been, because I bought my first ever Apple device (IPhone 6S+).  I find it laughable that Jason keeps writing these Little Orphan Annie "The sun'll come out - TOMORROW" articles even as Satya guts the Mobile division while standing up on a stage in front of a huge crowd with an IPhone 6S in his hand! Microsoft is doing some GREAT things in Mobile - if you own an IPhone, that is.  They have GUTTED their own Mobile OS and hardware division. Mark my words, if Microsoft is still even MAKING smartphones in 18 months, they'll be running a forked version of Android, most likely Cyanogen.
  • Yeah I don't think Microsoft need to read this article to know where they are going, Jason and the rest of the world have less information and it's purely logical and well thought out speculation, I would say nearly every article so far by Jason has hit the nail on the head and is a very accurate portrayal of the true direction and reasoning being used by Microsoft.
  • The people at Microsoft don't need to read these articles. These are pretty much the only articles that actually understand what they've already been doing.
  • I get your point here and I see where you think Microsoft is going. But the thing is: "In the face of an evolving market toward a single device"   what if there's no such evolution in course? Microsoft seems convinced of that and as such the demise of WP and their attempt to push forward true Windows powered phones is promissing. However I'm not convinced that such an evolution is taking place. The fact is the majority of people keep two separate experiences: a PC experience and a mobile experience. I also don't see any consumer demand for phones that replace PCs. And had the phones not gone the path of ever increasing screen sizes, tablets would still be a thing. However, while a tablet is nothing more than a big phone without the calling part, there are things a PC does that a phone simply can't do and it will be years before they can. Alongside that, people don't exchange PCs often. But they do phones as those are, also, a fashion item these days.   I don't believe Google when they say they won't merge Android and ChromeOS. They will. Specially because ChromeOS is a flop so it's only logical that they try to leverage Android's power on it (just like Microsoft tries to use the power of Windows to leverage the WP flop). But I do believe Apple when they say they won't be merging OSX and iOS. Not only because it makes little sense but because it would crash against their business model which is making money on hardware. If people could start using iOS devices to do what they do on OSX, they'd probably stop buying iMacs & Co. And there goes the money of those overpriced pieces of metal.   So as far as Microsoft goes, I think the path they're taking might bring dividends in spaces like enterprise where, indeed, the proposition of Continuum and Intel powered phones etc may make a difference. However I do not think we'll watch neither a shift to a "one device fits everything" nor do I see the consumer space embracing that shift Microsoft wants to try to make happen. The next shift in mobile computing, I believe, will need to be based on improving the current experience. What Microsoft is proposing isn't that. It's shifting the current mobile experience towards the experience we've had on computers for the past 25 years. It doesn't do anything better, it just does it differently. And I don't think doing it differently will cut it with consumers. Just like Windows 8's redesign and WP's UI didn't.   But we'll see.
    I'm all for having an intel powered device with full blown Windows on it in my pocket. Will I use it as a phone or an entertainment device? Highly unlikely. But if I can carry a real PC in my pocket instead of a laptop in my bag, then I'm all for it. Although at that point one will have to question the necessity of things like the Surface too.
  • The place where I see evolution and productivity are happening with Microsoft 2 products. One is hololens and 2nd is surface hub. Rest making phone work like a pc surface are just improved version in the hardware department. Microsoft making laptops. Good they made the surface book but its still a laptop not a new device all together for specific purpose or something. IOT,surface hub and hololens are the products where I see Microsoft achieving innovation.
  • You are speaking like the surface book is just another laptop. This is just in line with Ballmer's"iPhone is just another phone". It is not just the hardware that shines. It is the ability of the software used to make it shine. Surface book is not just a laptop that can be used as a tablet. It is a tablet that can run a full blown OS which can also be used as laptop.
  • So is another Windows Tablet lol like my Dell Venue 11 Pro. Posted from my awesome BlackBerry Passport
  • For the first time DJ has not spoken like a Nokia fanboy.
  • @Pallav Chakraborty Dear sir ... what's wrong to be a NOKIA fanboy? Just curious.
  • The only problem I see with this is the size of the screen. Would you want a 5inch device running full windows? Because if it's more than 5 inch then it's not a phone and that's why tablets exist. We already have those.
  • The premiss behind a device with full Windows is precisely that it's meant to be used with an external display through Continuum. When you attach one of the new Lumias to Continuum, the phone interface goes away and is replaced by a desktop. However you're still limited by it being a mobile OS and only running mobile apps (and limited to the ones that would've been updated to it). If the phone itself runs full Windows, it would actually be giving you access to real win32 programs and your entire experience would move from an overblown WP10 experience to a true Windows desktop experience powered by your phone-sized PC. Sure you could still use said phone as, well, a phone. But it wouldn't be the purpose of such device.
  • I understand that, but you still need a bigger screen right? And if you need a bigger screen, you might as well get a tablet or a laptop. I don't see many ppl using Continuum.
  • But that's the thing. At best a pocket sized PC may replace the need for a tablet or even a laptop. But it won't replace a proper PC.
    Which is why I think that, on this one, Apple is doing the right thing by not trying to merge iOS with OSX. Microsoft may do so but that's more because they don't have a truly compelling mobile OS with an ecosystem to offer. Hence trying to leverage as much of Windows as possible. Same thing for Google with ChromeOS. Mobile is lost for Microsoft. So they need to look at other ways to get a mobile Windows experience out there. That's where these devices come in. They're not meant to replace your phone. They're meant to replace your tablet or laptop OTG while, if necessary, even be your phone.
    But yes, as I said, this will have limited appeal. Still better limited and successful than none, right? Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  •  @DJCBS ''But it won't replace a proper PC''. It's clear. ''At best a pocket sized PC may replace the need for a tablet or even a laptop''.  And which size of screen do you have in mind?  There's a lot of people, which eyes are not so good anymore.
  • Its the vision. A waterfall begins with a drop of water. 12 year olds who grew up with a phone in their pockets and who in 5 years will be purchasing super charged mobile phones compared to todays phones will be hanging out together connecting their phones into 1 monitor and doing their thing like gaming or homework on the go etc. And when people say a phone wont replace a PC. Phones of the future may not replace a PC but they will be more powerfull than today's PC's. When it all started they needed an entire room full of hardware for what we have in a little box under our desk.
  • One thing you're missing is the evolution of the universal windows API. I'm pretty sure Microsoft doesn't want the Win32 API to last forever. It will remain for backwards compatibility, but I think the endgame would be to have the Universal API replace it functionality. This would be mean that more and more "desktop" apps will in fact be able to run on your phone. And regardless of whether Intel gets their power game on point before ARM gets their performance in order, this future will remain secure. Now I genuinely would prefer a one device future. Everything you need on you at all times powering your accessories (wearables and Natural User Interface devices around you) and whichever company delivers on this first would definitely be getting my money.
  • I seriously doubt developers would move to the Universal API in any significant numbers. The problem for that is the distribution model: the store. Smaller devs need users, big devs don't want to give up that 30% (although I guess there is a chance of free distribution with subscriptions).
  • The cloud already delivered this years ago. One device isn't required because your data is already ubiquitous no matter where/what you are using. Microsoft is still stuck answering 2005 questions. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • No man, just no
  • You have any reasons or do you have your head in the sand like Microsoft? Cloud storage is cheap and is constantly getting faster as internet speeds increase. The cloud will give the same function of this without being tied to one platform. Windows is dying and it is just a matter of time before it is delegated to a niche platform for people with specific, heavy needs. It will take years, but with a decade Windows will be completely irrelevant in the mainstream. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Is there any reason you'd like Microsoft in particular to fail? Cloud storage is getting cheaper, but it's still not cheap enough, and network reliability/price is definitely not getting better(at least in the US). There is absolutely no reason why we can't have Microsoft working on device unification while others work on cloud based solutions. As a consumer you should be glad there are multiple pathways to having your data everywhere you need to go. You should be happy that Microsoft is pushing this vision forward because if they're successful it would mean lower prices for you. But all you're interested in is proclaiming the death of Microsoft, something that we've been hearing for years now. Unless you envision a future where every inch of the planet is completely networked you'd be better off hoping that device convergence happens. Not only are processors getting powerful and small enough to acheive this, it would mean that you're never at the mercy of a service provider for your own data. But hey, it always helps to hate on Microsoft so carry on.
  • LOL. The cloud? Seriously? So I can access ALL my documents and apps and app data anywhere I go today? Which cloud is this exactly? How cheap is it? Please tell me about more this revolution in computing that I seem to have missed.  I'm not talking about being able to access some stuff after paying a few hundred dollars both to a network service provider and a storage provider. I'm talking about your entire digitial life being literally a click or a swipe away regardless of where you are. No one has delivered on this yet, and since Microsoft has ostensibly lost in the current mobile market it makes sense that this is what they're looking at next. 
  • You can Google it. Having all your data available in the cloud is really easy in 2015 and it is only getting easier. Just like Microsoft, you are stuck with a 2005 mindset. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Continuum is not the major selling point and it will not replace the laptop or desktop. It will not give you the high end performance and the true multitasking provided by laptops/desktops Continuum currently provides only 2 apps to run simultaneously. This will improve but not that much. So the user who has the new LUMIAs or future Surface Phones will still have the Surface Pro/Book or Windows 10 PC if he needs that kind of output. And yes, he might not use Continuum that much. But with Continuum, he is confident that even if he forgets his laptop behind or is away from his desktop, he can still get the work done if such a need arises. And for the people who cant afford multiple devices, Continuum is what they will want. And finally, for those who are talking about cloud, uploading / downloading data still costs you even when cloud space is provided for free. It does not matter for most of us, but for emerging markets it does matter. So i'll better have my data in my pocket and if required backed up to a local drive, which i can access using OTG.
  • Sure, Continuim is awesome.  I mean, I can just slide my Lumia 950 into the front pocket of my jeans, and I can get work down away from the office. As soon as I figure out which jeans pocket the dock, keyboard, mouse, cables and 19-inch LCD monitor go into.
  • I don't see such a problem. Continuem fixed this. It's a smartphone with universal apps only when its in smartphone mode and once you plug it into the docking station and plug in a big screen mice and keyboard it becomes a full fledged Windows 10 pc capable of running Win32 apps and universal Windows apps. The hardware is not there yet, but I'm 100 sure Intel and Microsoft are working on a Intel Atom based surface phone that has the power and the capabilities to make this future a reality.
  • All your epistle still came back to what Jason wrote in the article. This is not an immediate change but a change that will take time.
  • No. My epistle doesn't say this change will happen. On the contrary, I said that I don't thing there's a change towards a single device. I think the world of mobile and desktop will not merge. Because they're not the same nor aim at the same. Pocket size PCs may become a thing in the future and Microsoft will be there to offer it but people will still demand a proper mobile experience which is something Microsoft can't offer them. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I wonder what kinda phone Steve Ballmer is using now... Lol.
  • The way I see it... Look at those intel pc stick things, in 12-18 months time they'll be twice as powerful as they are now, another 12 months, twice as much again, etc etc. The 'PC in your pocket' sized device is already here. The days of desktop level processing power requiring a suitcase equivalent amount of space are numbered. It has always been inevitable. Continuum is simply a software solution to bridge the gap between ever shrinking processing hardware vs ever increasing usage scenarios. Is this going to suit 3D animators or professional video editors? No of course not, but those are niche usage scenarios. Will this satisfy the needs of the vast majority of letter typers, casual gamers and media consumers? It's certainly within the realms of possibility. And that's the point. It fulfills the needs of today's 'everyday' user, but instead of requiring the two or three devices it requires today, it's achievable with just one in the very near future. The missing piece of the puzzle at the moment is the accessories and peripherals. Instead of buying a laptop, you'll buy a 'lapdock' that's all screen and battery if that's the environment your desired usage dictates. The point is it gives the user virtually unlimited possibilities. Windows 10 is the last version of Windows. Continuum is the first glimpse at what's next.
  • I think that is the most reasonable thing I have ever heard from you, bravo.
  • I remember reading a few months ago that apple was trying to port osx to their arm platform(@ their own pace)
  • Strange reading this from you.
  • I want that wallpaper :O
  • Great article Jason!
  • No offense, but this is fanboy garbage. I see MS explictly admitting it has lost the mobile OS battle. These words are backed by their tepid launch of the 950.
    Continuum has almost no relevance in the real world. People will follow apps not the OS - that is what prevents most ppl from switching to WP, and that is why Google does their best not to support WP.
    As I see it, MS only foothold in future say, 5 yrs from now, is that the business world relies on Office and Windows workstations and servers. For everything else, Google and Apple offer better or more popular solutions.
    MS has done little to nothing to build a bigger, better footprint in the app market. Case in point: Skype. They acquired the leader in messaging and let it rot away to irrelevance.
  • Everybody keeps saying MS does nothing to build an app market... Exactly what do you think they have done and what would you do? From what I know... Skype is well and kicking and has been integrated into our systems from the ground up. It also has alot better availability and supports offline networking.  
  • Well Skype on Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 10 Mobile have been less than stellar experiences so I think he's right in that regard. However, it is baffling though that people think Microsof didn't try to make their OS attractive to users. They wrote an Angry Birds app in house! They struck deals with Pandora to offer ad-free listening to Windows Phone users for a year. They personally developed a Facebook app. And these are for all the developers that allowed them to make third-party solutions. It's absurd that people literally believe that Microsoft just released Windows Phone and let it wallow. Does no one remember all the ads the first time Windows Phone 7 launched? The fact that all carriers carried the phone, and even manufacturers like Dell made phones?!   That they didn't succeed is more indicative of the nature of the market and how their biggest mistake was not getting in early. For some reason some people on this site seem to think that if you don't succeed at something it has to be because you weren't trying hard enough, not that your task may have been impossible to begin with.
  • All those legitimate efforts you're pointing to (and yes, they were legit efforts to compete) happened YEARS AGO.  What has happened in the last 18 months? No new flagships for almost 2 years and then lame excuses for flagships just this month A complete gutting of the mobile division at MSFT The best selection and quality of MSFT apps coming to IOS before any other platform MSFT CEO standing on stage with an Iphone 6S loaded with MSFT apps (The IPhone PRO) A huge slap in the face with OneDrive - so much for that camera backup that USED TO BE awesome and exclusive to WP For all you hardcore WP fans out there, I know it sucks, it really does.  But at some point, you have to wake up, look around you at the reality of today and realize that MSFT has ABANDONED you and Windows Phone.
  • But there are reasons for all the stuff you mentioned. The delay in flagships was because of the Nokia purchase and the unfeasibility of McLaren's 3D touch Unless you think they shouldn't have bought Nokia, or they should have released McLaren with its gimmicky claim to fame, the 18 month delay was unavoidable.  And this is my point. Microsoft has always faced an uphill battle in mobile, and if in the first 2 years of Windows Phone's existence, when they managed to get both carriers and manufacturers onboard, they still failed to crack 5% of the global market I'm not sure how people can continue to blame them for much.. They tried. They failed. Now they're "retrenching", to use their words. This means a delay in phones. This means a change in strategy. What this doesn't mean is ignoring established mobile platforms for the sake of their unpopular OS. That would be suicide, especially when one realises that they actually tried this for 3 years (prior to 2014 there were barely any Microsoft apps on iOS and Android) and no one switched to Windows Phone for it. If you wish to leave the platform, do so. Microsoft has wisely made their services available elsewhere so you can pick up right where you left off. That doesn't mean they've abandoned Windows Phone though. They're trying to approach mobile from a different point of view, because as it stands the current one they've been using for 5 years has failed woefully. As a fan I want to see where they go with this, though I admit not many may have my patience.
  • I'm yet to get the "integrated" Skype (Messages) get started, always crashes. That said, it's great they finally did it.
  • "People will follow apps not the OS ​". If this statement was correct, and assuming that the iOS and Android platforms have about the same apps that really matter, the market share of Android high end phones and iOS phones would have been about 50/50, don't you think? My hypothesis is that there are at least three factors that determines user value: - Hardware: memory, CPU, miscellaneous stuff like thermometer, barometer, proximity sensor, flash lights, camera, etc. - OS specific properties: ability to access and manipulate files, availability of drivers that support file formats that matters to users (photo files, music files, etc.) - Apps available in the platform's download store.  
  • Great article :)
  • Mastermind Nadella.
  • Obviously, Microsoft must get apps into the OS that users require for their social/commerce/business lives so it's not a "comprimise" moving to W10M.  Shoring up these cool features like Continuum and Xbox integration will be important components in bringing unique featuresets that make certain demongraphics look at Microsoft devices and say "I want that - I can't get that [enter feature here] anywhere else".  Microsoft almost has that with W10M, they just don't have that Surface product for the mobile OS yet that Windows got back in 2012, where you say "this was made for this particular experience, this is the platform from which we launch everything else off of". Use Surface or another name as the flagship device that melts faces with great specs and use Lumia as the trickle-down line that is more affordable but still very capable.
  • Foldable displays would be a great idea if they wanted to do a hybrid device. Something like: when using as a phone, the display should fold all the way around giving two 5 inch displays, one at the front and the other at the back. The continuum feature should sense this and turn off the rear display when using in a "phone" mode. It should stretch out (@180°) and make a 10" display when using as a tablet. Enterprise customers can have the device opened like a laptop (both displays at 135°), and the one at the bottom can display keys to make a distinct keypad :D :D It's 1.45 am here. The time when you imagine something that is way out of your scope :D Sorry if it sounded like total B.S :D
  • Doesn't matter what Microsoft does.  When Apple adopts a similar strategy, everyone will think Apple invented it.  It's painful reading crappy iPad pro reviews where they say how mind blowing it is that apple is capable of letting two apps side by side, and how it is a mobile tech game changer.  wtf lol  
  • Do NOT read articles about Apple products! This might make You feel good: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eywi0h_Y5_U
  • Running apps side by side IS a great feature, too bad it wasn't recognized in Windows 8 (/RT) because of the lack of apps. Boggles my mind that 1520 never supported that.
  • I was originally worried about the new hardware, but am now as worried about Windows 10 Mobile.
  • Very interesting article. Personally i think the OS X versions after Lion, made the OS more like iOS, considering all the functions that were adopted from it. So Apple in a way has been trying to do what Microsoft is doing, but the other way around, making the desktop version feeling more like the mobile version. If Apple's aproach will be more succesful than MS, remains to be seen. I don't consider Google a major player in the desktop OS feild. The Crome OS is lacking in many areas. Now i think MS maybe has a winner, if the developers adopt to the universal apps philosophy. The OS seems to be heading the right way imho.
  • I think perhaps in the future, the IOT play maybe more important than phones. Running IOT devices with the same operating system as a phone, tablet, desktop, and hololens is I think a key to MS future. The phone can simply work as an interface to all those devices. I can envision PLCs and all kinds of control and monitoring devices seamlessly integrating with all the other platforms. Have not heard much about IOT recently, but pretty sure MS sees this as part of their future.  
  • I haven't heard anything about that from Microsoft. Where is Microsoft's car technology? CarPlay and Android Auto already exist. Why would anyone who buys a new car bother with Windows, when the phones don't support their car? Posted from my Moto X Pure Edition via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Unfortunately MS wasn't the first, nor the greatest in the IoT space, and I honestly feel that open sourcing .Net is the better move towards that space than having W10 there.
  • 4-7" phones... That's interesting. I would love to see a 6.5"- 7" phone... That's a guaranteed sell to me..
    ............
    Also, we can't expect for our phones to "increasingly become the center of our digital experiences" while decreasing the size of the screens used to view content... Smaller screen devices are great for those who prefer them, but larger screen devices are also necessary to prove this vision.... I understand that with continuum a smartphone itself might not be the initial idea of viewing content, but ideally full on continuum should mean that you can completely continue your W10 experience directly from any device... Some might prefer to choose larger screen devices to do so... 6-7" phones, specifically...
    ......
    I'm all for W10M, and continuum, but primarily from a larger phone standpoint... I want a true pocket PC;; even if it comes down to being able to switch modes on my phone... (switching between desktop, and mobile).... That would be awesome.....
    .......
    If you ask me there should eventually be no W10 & W10M... A surface phone should run W10 period.. Full damn on W10. This should be a serious device, not a iDroid toy.. Users should be able to do as I said before. Switch between desktop themes, and mobile themes.... Depending on the level of functionality the user desires.. Sounds kinds similar to W8.0-1, but I'm talking OneW10. That's Continuum at it's best.
  • Jason, another insightful article, I believe. Where it will take us I can only speculate. I have no qualms about supporting MS with Windows 10 and Windows 10 for mobile. Equally, I have no doubts about either Apple/iPhone or Google/Android. Two years ago everyone was going on about the demise of BlackBerry. They are still here, just. They have had to adjust. Surely, MS are doing the same and in two years time I will be able to continue supporting MS in what I believe to be a viable alternative to the dominant 2 players (sic) in the market. MS are serious, and offer a serious credible platform. Time will tell.
  • I can't see any use for Continium in my life! Maybe MS is wrong agin !? Like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eywi0h_Y5_U
  • Unless they make it work directly on the device...
    ....
    Having to have a keyboard, mouse, and monitor, defeats the purpose of mobile from one aspect... It's good for decreasing the devices you carry, but not a real mobile solution... Actually, you would be carrying less devices if you just carry your phone, and a SP4... Right now it doesn't have the most practical usage, rather shows what's possible. This really needs a phone that can display a virtual keyboard anywhere.
    ....
    Also, remember that continuum is a general term. It doesn't only refer to using your phone as a PC.... Playing Xbox games on your PC, XBOX, and Phone, is continuum.. Picking up where you left of with anything is also a concept of continuum....
  • I know many people who have nothing but a phone. When I explain continuum to them, they start getting excited because they would like the comfort of working on a larger screen like a traditional PC when they are at home. I think there are great possibilities.
  • I'm sure there are.. MS just has to have the balls to execute them..
  • There seems to be lots of people with monitors and peripherals yet no computers of any sorts and willing to fork out 800€ more to build very limited PC while making phone non-mobile.
  • Once a Continuum dock exists where it doesn't need to be physically plugged in, that keeps the mobility in play.
  • It does.. It's called Miracast and Bluetooth...
  • Laptops always costed more then desktops while having slower specs. That's because of the value mobility brings. If PC be made pocketable, that's a lot of value added again, so no problem in 500$ continuum phone.
  • You can get real W10 PC size of usb-stick for 100$ or even less.
  • What kind of connectivity this stick will provide? WiFi? GPS? LTE? USB Host/slave? Bluetooth? FM? NFC? Miracast? The power of smartphones it that they are connectivity monsters.\ You are not only getting big screen, this screen sees the world over it interfaces. Stick+screen is a blind device.
  • If they need a pc so bad, why don't they have one? They are not expensive at all these days. You can get a laptop for less than $200. That is way more cost effective than a $600 phone, $100 monitor and a $100 dongle. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Great articles...except for the Neanderthal and Homosapien references
  • Why's that?
  • >Jason Ward Another great read. I had just about given up on expecting quality writing from blogs. Well done....again. Thanks for raising the bar. Thoughts... Apple and Google like to think they 'think outside the box' but in Apple's case, literally, the box is made of glass and they're only 'looking' outside...not thinking outside. What I mean by that is that there is a whole big wide world out there of many uses and users for those uses. It's not just hipsters, media generators and wannbe hackers. The point Jason mentions about the current phone being the only 'computer' for many 3rd and even 2nd worlders rings true(no pun). The converging of technology modeling is being defined by usage not ownership(of devices). I think this convergence will be more about people being able to not even think about the device(s) available to to do a specific of the moment task (whether communicating, editing a document or creating a masterpiece)....people just want to be able to do it NOW, in the moment. Of course the 'now' has greatly deteriorated quality in everything we do, but that's another topic. Both Apple and Google (and some commentors here) say that there is no need for continuum..."I've always got my laptop...or my PC or my tablet" for more complicated activities that require more computing power or visual space. To that I say  that continuum is but a first step. There are going to be many many more, each surpassing the prior. Tech is moving ahead and upward at a logarithmic pace. Logarithmic. At this moment, the best minds in tech can't even imagine what there is to come even 5 years from now...so how can the naysayers? So how do you prepare as a tech provider/producer? The challenge for the future will be to bring vaporware up to speed with production. 'Eliminate the lag and you eliminate the tag' ©. The future for computing will be so much more than continuum. It's about melding computing thought seamlessly into computer action. Think, Do, Done. Buckle your seatbelts people.
  • Intel and AMD must be seeing dollar signs about now. And, yes. When you look at the big picture, this has been the long term goal for over a decade. The Xbox, the Surface, Windows phone, HoloLens...sheesh, even the Sega Dreamcast... They all exist with the ultimate purpose of bringing the PC out of its enclosure. It was all to eventually unify Windows. Things are finally panning out, but this game was set up a very, VERY long time ago. And Microsoft isn't the only one. I suspect a few other companies are planning to jump into this game. I think technology is going to get increasingly interesting in the coming years.
  • Dreamcast I miss thee.
  • I always enjoy reading windows central, except the news about app leaving windows.
  • im fairly new to the whole windows phone experience(previously apple). ppl complain bout the lack of apps and i honeslty havent had much of an issue on that front minus lack of banking apps and glide (LOL). my second problem is that i cant seem to send vids of the family events cuz the file is to big which may b a simple fix(if anyone knows plz tell me lol). and lastly and i know this is very nit picky but the dam emojis that dont transfer from OS's is really urking me lol ... but totally love this article especially as a fairly new windows phone user (had the 1020, now on HTC one M8) the future looks very bright for this mobile if indeed they r gearing up for the future!
  • Do you want to send videos through whatsapp? In that case you need another app to compress them, you can find them in the store, apple-like style lol whatsapp developers are too lazy to even make their only app run decently they won't bother using the integrated video compression api in the os to do that
  • Great article. WP ftw
  • I wish I had as much faith as Jason.  Unfortunately it may as well be the DPRK telling us they have a something that will revolutionize the mobile space.
  • So, this basically tells me to wait until MS figures it out in the consumer space. Great plan.
  • In other words, we're moving towards this Surface Phone: www.pcworld.com/article/2907539/this-fake-microsoft-surface-phone-is-the... Precisely what I want, and that'll probably be my first Windows Phone...
  • Keep hitting that pipe kid.
  • Well there will always be "dead enders".
  • Absolutely spot on. Convergence started with Windows 8 and continues in full force with Windows 10. Microsoft is the only company in the world that understands the convergent future. They are in it for the long game. It's an exciting tine to be a Microsoft fan.
  • Can I have that wallpaper of that Lumia 950 using under the Adaptation section?
  • C'mon folks. Just 2 months ago, it was all about,"When the 950/XL are released, then the world will see... ". Less than two weeks after release, and it's,"They are just Stop Gap devices, and for the fans, but wait until the Surface phone is released. (Only a rumor at this point) Then the world will see...". If Continuum isn't enough, why get your hopes up for a low powered x86 phone? All the tech bloggers will write is that it doesn't provide a "Good enough" desktop experience, blah, blah, blah.... I'm surprised more here aren't questioning Microsoft's strategies.
  • Hope springs eternal....
  • I just had a good laugh at Microsoft reading this article. Windows 10 Experiment. Hah. Just like Android was a complete mess and it still managed to become a huge hit because of the marketing, Microsoft is trying to go the same line with WIndows 10. Not putting enough efforts to make it a complete product overall but to use marketing techniques like 'FREE upgrade' and 'continuous development' lures. The 'continuous development' part is just to mask the incompleteness of the software. The release of half baked WIndows on all platforms shows they are in a hurry but they speak otherwise. This is just hipocrisy.
  • I can't see myself ever being without a Windows OS computer, but the tiles on a phone just don't appeal to me. I want to like it, but it's just not for me. Android phones are the bomb, as far as I'm concerned. Sorry Microsoft. You win easily on my laptop and my gaming console, but my phone belongs to Google.
  • I like Live Tiles. I have no complaints about Windows on phones wrt UI. The only complaints I have are the lack of apps, especially those for banking and major retailers. Posted from my Moto X Pure Edition via the Windows Central App for Android
  • More like your data belong to them
  • So you prefer your app icons to be useless rather than useful?
  • Widgets are far more useful than Live Tiles. Until they become interactive and more flexible, they will not be a compelling feature. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Live Tiles are also himpered by their fancy animations which tend to hinder visibility / readability. Widgets tend to heavy and inconsistent. Personally, I like Sailfish OS's approach the best.
  • A widget can be anything. Anything! What is better than that? Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Performance, visual unity, clarity? Widgets can be great, but often fall prey to feature creep and missmashed design patterns. I have yet to see a performant widget-impementation, although in a perfect world widgets would indeed be great.
  • I like this approach. It's definitely the way forward. I always worried that Microsoft would return to the times when All Windows phones were expensive and so unreachable to the masses. Someday soon Continuum should be common even in phones costing $150 or less. Maybe im shortsighted but i really dont think Microsoft has a prayey of regaining market share without including value oriented consumers as well as high end techies.
  • Jason, do you think Microsoft will be able to get a significant mobile presence with such a radically different-looking OS? From my overall experience, the number one reason why people don't want Windows Phone is because of the tiles. People either love them or hate them. Microsoft should really think about the future of tiles. I know it will piss off the loyal fans including myself but if they keep them they will likely never get the success they are hoping for. They have now made the app design pretty streamlined with other OSes. Will a icon-based UI bring more users? What do you think?
  • The tiles are a great way to display notifications. Microsoft never needed to COPY the Android notification UI which is the 'pull down' menu. Instead of perfecting their own tile system, they took the shortcut and copy-pasted the competition's tried and tested system. But did it gain them any fans or new customers? I suppose not. The thing does not sit well with the Windows Phone or Windows Mobile design. As I said, tiles are great at delivering information in one glance. Only if they had perfected it to be interactive and more efficient, that would have given them a very good chance of standing out (again). At the moment, even after three years of 'tiles', it has seen no improvement - I do not call different sizes an improvement. Please. What I want to convey here is if I see a news on tile and click on it, take me to that news - not the default page of the news app! Tiles have no apparent advantage over an icon here esp. when both serve the same purpose of launching the app. I do feel that the WIndows 10 Mobile's design is better at some place and worse at other. The original Windows Phone 8 release was the best - both in performance and design. Microsoft messed it up in a very bad way.
  • The 'pull down' menu aka Action Centre was an important but small feature whereas the tiles are what define Windows Phone. I know they are great, I know they are live and they give you updated news but they are repelling people from WP. People prefer icons because they have been using them even on their PCs. You also talked about something that I expected from W10M: the evolution of the live tile. It just hasn't evolved. It's not really that efficient. They really need to make them interactive. My point is that Microsoft really needs to think about the future of tiles because majority of people find them totally alien. If WP7/8 didn't have those tiles, I am pretty sure that today MS would have a huge chunk of the mobile OS space.
  • I've never met anyone who's used a windows phone and still hated the tiles. I've yet to meet anyone who dislikes the utility of live tiles, only the aesthetics.
  • I am not talking about the actual WP users. I am talking about others like those using Android or iOS. Of course they have lots of utility, but design comes first when people buy a phone.
  • I haven't met anyone who has a Windows 8 PC and uses the Tiles. If they were great, then they would be widely used. Windows 8 and Windows 10 have quite a few users between them. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Microsoft is playing the long game here. Thanks for another great article, Jason. And great avatar with your Cortana shirts on! I am waiting for delivery of my Cortana hoodie as we speak!   We know Apple redesigned or rathe rdefined the "smartphone" market. They also set the original bar for tablets with the iPad. But iPad sales are faltering, the Surface Pro 3/4 are getting great reviews and have grown more and more powerful and what was Apple's response? Release their "iPad RT" and call it "Pro." They still don't get it. yes, they now have super Microsoft Office apps in the App Store and they can fiddle with real work. But they still are an island in a sea of peripherals and data that my Lenovo Tab 8 can take full advantage of with Office 2016 and while everyone can poo poo what the 950 and 950XL with Continuum represent, Microsoft has quietly snuck up behind Apple and Google and has kicked the can down the road.   What frustrates me about "fans" (and I considermyself one) is they can't always see the forest for the trees. I have read so much from many saying, "Well, I won't be buying this phone. I'll wait for..." or "Back to my 1020 because this just is not sexy enough." And then we blame carriers, Microsoft, developers, and anyone else convenient for poor sales numbers.   I am excited and the worst thing is the wait. Release the damned phones. Every day I receive a notice telling me is is back in stock and every day there is still no option for me to even pre-order...just another note to "email me when you are ready to sell me a feakin' phone." The "Fans" should be lining up and buing this device to help kick that can further down the road. Then help momentum build. I buy all my phones sim free as I am in Japan where there is virtually no support for the platform unless I get the underpowered Japanese built phones. But they don't have Wireless, camera buttons, etc. etc. etc. But I will buy the 950. And I will continue to support the OS as it matures and prepares for the next wave of innovations.   Meanwhile, we know the "iPad RT" will outsell the Surface Book and Surface Pro 4. Too baaad. Won't stop me from picking up a "real" pro device soon.
  • Continuum is good but not great
    u try to make phone a pc. But still its not a full pc%. I wont sell my laptop in the future if I use continuum all the time. Its better that Microsoft gets all apps from developers with their universal strategy so that byv improving hardware they get good market share in the future. If your phone can become a place where u can watch videos on u tube, Netflix etc. So will u replace your plasma or led tv with that thing?
  • Why would you ever sell your laptop? You would still need to carry a screen and input devices around. Doesn't make sense. Maybe in the future, but that is iffy at best. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I realize I'm wasting my time trying to convince most folks around here that the general consensus that Microsoft has a "fail" with W10M, is going to seem foolish in the future. But I really do believe that. But I'm also someone who thinks the new 950XL is a fantastic mobile phone. Far from lackluster. Instead, perhaps the best mobile phone currently available. Period. Continuum is understandably underestimated right now, but it will be better understood shortly as it gets developed in far more ways than with a dock to your desktop monitor. Just one example is it would be very possible for a W10 "device" (phone, fine with me) to transparantly connect and drive the entire navigation, entertainment, and displays in your automobile. In fact, the hardware in the car could be simply a touchscreen monitor, amplifiers, and speakers. No need for any stereo system OS, or onboard logic at all. Instead, that dashboard display is driven by Continuum and the sound system is just the amplified external speaker system from the phone. Hey Cortana can do anything that even the most expensive OEM auto system can do. Far more. Navigation? Phones already have had great impact on the reduced need for our cars to come equipped with that kind of product.
      By the way, I spent 8 hours in the truck today for Thanksgiving travel. The 950XL was an amazing travel companion. I had plenty of time to show off what it could do to my travel companions. And between Hey Cortana, voice texting, Groove music, Route planning and monitoring,.........the only thing missing to already fit the example above was the screen was my phone instead of the dashmounted 8" touchscreen that is driven by Pioneer. Would have made perfect sense for it to have been a Continuum driven display instead. TouchScreen would be awesome!
  • W10 Mobile is pretty flakey from what I read.
  • From what I USE it's not flakey.  Rather, it WAS flakey when I restored from a backup that was restored from a backup. ha ha. I did a hard reset and setup from scratch. No flakiness. :)
  • W10M has been flaky, even for some with 950s. I get random reboots and crashes daily, plus my battery is still taking a hit compared with WP8.1
  • You do know that there are plenty of car systems and aftermarket radios that do exactly what you described. Search for Car Play and Android Auto. Unfortunately, Micrsoft is too far behind to have such functionality. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • @Jason Ward ,,,, $75 phone compared to a $600 phone. Just curious which phone costs $75 and which phone costs $600?
  • transoform away. i dont have the money to buy a new phone at that price up front.  i am use to contracts thats what we use in Canada. a 2 year term.  bring it to telus and I will get it.
  • Microsoft is all talk right now, how about releasing a product without issues.
  • What product by ANY company is released without issue? 
  • Good question indeed... Of course we are not talking about a mythical company that produces gorgeous and exquisitely perfect devices AND software every single time. That is truly amazing and the meaning of life too
  • Again a fine read Jason.
    thurrott.com is my go to website for this sort of articles showing the bigger picture.
    Nice to see this on WC. Thankyou.
  • @JasonWard: Great read, been a die hard WP user since the start of 2011, have converted abt 45 of my friends to WP users over the years, 
    Im really loving the direction the company has taken, it is the way to go, but as ambitious plans go, they can often come back n bite you and thats one thing the company cannot afford. We need some more polishing of the OS cos we're competing with OS's who are more than mature and when customers switch they are used to things just working, not to mention the endless App gap debate. The bridges cannot get here soon enough. While ive been following all the news diligently, I fail to understand why we keep shooting ourselves in the foot and launching devices like the 550 which are outdated and underpowered even before launch. We need some serious mid level phones cos thats where the majority market and then 1-2 premium phones with better processors, dono why we cant use snapdragon 615's or  like the 950/950xl to show the full prowess of the platform. I also think we're too early to be blowing trumpets about how these features are game chaing etc cos we have very few apps that are actually able to take advantage of continuum etc. We need to bloster up this bit and then sell it to the masses cos otherwise it becomes just another gimmicky features which MSFT launched and then when apple / google launch them the world goes " this is the future etc etc"  Really hoping Win10 will catch on in phones cos im a big believer.  
  • There is something strange happening. Midrange space is completely empty for every tier-1 manufacturer Sony, LG, HTC, Samsung etc. snap6xx+2gb of memory is a non-existent category across the market. Don't put too much blame for MS here.    
  • There are so many Chinese OEMs coming out with high specced devices in the mid-range price that it's pointless to compete there.
  • Wauw... Great read
  • They haven't ReTRENCHED.  They have RETREATED.  Look at the cuts from Mobile going back to the Nokia purchase.  Microsoft has, what, like 12 people left in their mobile division?  The real creepy thing is that this scene has played out before.  Between these 2 companies even. Only THIS time, it's flipped backwards.  Sort of like Spock with a beard, if you will. Check out this scene from Pirates of Silicon Valley and imagine it playing out TODAY, because unlike the 80's, in the "Today version", Gates is Jobs.  Jobs is Gates. https://youtu.be/2GEDy042iNM?t=1m52s  I don't like it anymore than the rest of you do.  I'm not one bit happy about it either, but as NE Patriots coach Bill Belichik is fond of saying: IT IS WHAT IT IS. Or, to use 3 simple little words from that clip, when it comes to MSFT and Mobile - YOU'RE.  TOO.  LATE.
  • There where 80 devs on a sinlge Astoria project. In fact Windows Phone never had such a support from MS as you can see today. Just compare WP8.1 calculator to W10M calculator. Or WP8.1 file explorer to W10M file explorer.
  • No, they haven't retreated. If they had, they wouldn't have released the 950 line. I spoke to a Microsoft rep at a Microsoft conference a few weeks back and even he used the word retrenched. He said it was just ridiculous to release the number of models Nokia was releasing. The testing alone for any OS update for so many models was a huge and unnecessary burden. So going forward Microsoft is likely to have no more than 5 phone models. Low end, mid-range, flagship, enterprise, and maybe feature.
  • Fight the enemy where he isn't...
  • Maybe this grand scheme is a noble endeavor but I think that the consumer market is marching in a different direction--super lightweight computing on portable devices that require little in the way of investment, maintenance, or effort. If you can do everything you need on a phone why do you even need the tablet, laptop, or desktop? The MS strategy might be great for the tiny percent of power users that need things like Office 365 at home, but the vast majority of consumers don't need or want anything like that--they are perfectly fine with apps on a phone for 99% of what they need, and the other 1% is better served by something like a Chromebook or Google Drive. Even enterprise is moving in this direction, though I think the demise of the business PC and laptop is greatly exagerated. In any case, this strategy appears to have an inherent flaw in that they may be developing a software experience that will be device agnostic at the very time when consumers have become device-centric on phones. Yes, we are getting bigger and bigger phones, but I believe we have already reached the limit in terms of what people are willing to carry and use on a regular basis. Note the decline in tablet and e-reader sales--phones can now do everything that those smaller devices did. Note the increased sophistication and use of voice commands and assistants, further eliminating the need for large keyboards. Note the way apps have replaced browsers in terms of user experience. You can argue all you want about many aspects of this, but physical size and weight can't be eliminated. Why even worry about whether or not your software can also run on your PC when you don't need or want a PC of any sort?
  • Chromebook sales wastly back-fired google. It was beilived by many that "better served by something like a Chromebook or Google Drive" but the practice of using these devices already proved them to not be enought. It can be considered as proved now that you can't do things with the os which is only a browser. In fact you can see windows x86 2-in-1's are rising in the market, thats the opposite thing of a lightweight mobile OS having traction to bigger screens (which Chromebook is).
  • Reality check. MS neither has a W10 watch, nor a W10 car system, nor a W10 TV, nor a single IoT device to speak of. Most app and gadget builders are still purposefully ignoring Windows, and I think, this won't change. The set-top box Xbox will soon be a nerd device. Phone market share is pathetic, and will stay so. And enterprises are still reluctant to pay for an upgrade no one seems to need. MSFT is currently not fit to survive. P.S. There are already complete web based 3D-CAD systems, so the AutoCAD argument is flawed.
  • "phones can now do everything that those smaller devices did. ​" But what if a phone is able to do what a laptop does?
  • "But what if a phone is able to do what a laptop does?" Phones can already do this for the vast majority of consumers who spend 99% of their time using mobile apps, texting, email, and reading or viewing stuff in a browser. You don't need some uber-capable operating system--most people want a mobile-optimized system, not one compromised so that it can also work on larger screens and with other input devices. It is far better to use the right specialized tool for the job rather than to purchase one of those gizmos that includes a hammer, a wrench, and a screwdriver all mashed together.
  • I'm glad you can detect a strategy. Here in Canada, Windows Phone is in full retreat, heading for oblivion. With no carrier support, WP is simply DOA north of the border. I'm so angry at Microsoft right now I cannot properly explain it in words. I'm a long time loyal WP supporter, but last night I gave up. My Lumia 920 has given up the ghost and I needed a phone. Without a carrier plan, I could not afford a grand before Christmas for a 950 XL. So, I got myself a massively discounted LG G4, and now I'm forced to learn the very unintuitive Android OS. Ugh. Thanks for nothing Redmond. Screw you.    
  • Get a Windows Phone Launcher if you want the UI. It won't take long before you realize how inefficient it is and go back to a normal Android Launcher. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • [Microsoft Windows Phone 7 technical preview: A definitive guide | ZDNet] is good,have a look at it! http://www.zdnet.com/article/microsoft-windows-phone-7-technical-preview... Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Jason, Once again excellent analytical article digging deeper than the current device centric obsession that is the current 2 seconds of trending. #UWP has been a massive retooling, multibillion dollar, multiyear, R&D project to arrive at.  Windows Phone 7/8/8.1 and Windows 8/8.1 were early evolutionary baby steps without broad vision and lacking focus and synchronicity, but had to be done.  Without that evolution MS could have cheaply and complacently released Windows 10 stripped of Touch/Mobile/Modern/Metro/Microsoft Store/UWP as a very successful post Windows 7 desktop only OS in 2012, thus sealing their own fate to the dwindling desktop PC market.  Have they faltered and learned from mistakes along the way? Yes, it certainly seems to me that they are now envisioning many strategies and long term evolution beyond the smart phone war.  As they evolve they still need to encompass, progress, and provide the ecosystem experience on today's h/w which means phones... The OS is one foundational component in the scope of things and very critical to future success.  Unifying and "Universalling" their foundational components and providing a footprint capable of running on current gen mass market SmartPhone Class H/W has forced them to debloat and optimize efficiency to mobilize and bring their ecosystem experience to a much broader continuum of devices.  The OS and App Core unification has happened and is probably the single most intensive project evolution in MS history. Hopefully the Phase II toolset, Broad Vision, and relentless devotion can garner the same razor sharp focus and dedication to bring the content to their mobilized Universal Windows Platform ecosystem. Essentially the product fate for Windows RT and therefore Surface RT were sealed by having no mobile optimized ecosystem core content at launch.  Surface Pro survived and evolved because there was legacy Win32 options available to fall back on until Metro/Modern/Windows Store/UWP ecosystem content materialized.  Value in Surface Pro was derived from a broader set of sources unavailable to ARM based Surface and Surface 2.  Obviously the evolution of Intel in the power efficient mobile space has taken cosiderable time and effort to catch up and to date ARM is still a necessary architecture in a 4 to 6 inch device.  Surface 3 is a prime example of that evolution and is a wonderful device based on Ultra Low Power Intel architecture and has changed the fate of Surface.  Ultimately the competition between Intel and ARM architectures is good for the consumer and Microsoft has wisely provided solutions for both options. The Microsoft experience will be defined from a myriad of constituent elements but UWP is the Central Depository for Content now and into the future.  It is essential, and in essence Universal for the right visionary at MS to relentlessly drive the quest to create and obtain UWP content. Content that will be delivered throughout the broader ecosystem via 4-6 inch phone devices, to Xbox Living Room Consoles, to 8-14" tablets to 96" dual display collaborative devices. Many of these devices will be transformative with Continuum and future classes of devices yet to be defined.  The cornerstones are and will be UWP and Windows.  The Universal in UWP must also evolve to mean that if an app or service exists it exists in the Microsoft ecosystem experience and is "Universally" available. The value of a h/w device alone, much like the comparison between Surface and Surface Pro, is derived from sources other than the h/w.  The h/w certainly helps deliver a great experience but ecosystem content is what delivers a premier or premium valuation.  Currenly the gaps in the ecosystem deliver a subpremium value.  It is not about sheer numbers it is about Universal completeness.  Microsoft must fill the voids quickly and hopefully they are about to unleash an army of "bridging" engineers to roll out incentives and assistance to bring content from competetive ecosystems into the Microsoft UWP Experience. This will drive value into their ecosystem, and ecosystem connected devices. Microsoft must also learn how "love" works in the consumer world.  They want users to love their products and services including Windows 10.  That love is a reciprocal effort.  They cannot lead enthusiasts down dead end paths time and time again.  The Nokia debacle with Windows Phone 7 and $500.00 dead end Lumia 900 phones, Surface and Surface 2, etc.  Lumia 950 series has the same potential if Intel based Surface Phone arrives in 6 - 18 months.  Give us an option to obtain 950 series for it's current value in an incomplete ecosystem with the potential for one year of relavancy. Gain marketshare, shower your loyalists with love, and offer the 950 at $250 and 950XL at $350 and get UWP bridging accomplished by the time Surface Phone arrives.  Then one year from now MS has a premium device strategy with a premium experience that can be valuable at a premium price.  Lumia should continue to push value based on pricing/performance... Microsoft is evolving more rapid than ever before.  Hopefully their Universal Visionary has envisioned strategies to bring a Continuum of excellence and value that provides the premier productivity and enriching personal experiences that will reciprocate their ecosystem consumers love and satisfaction.
  • Once again, a very well researched and well thought article by Jason Ward. I do see inherent dangers in bringing more devices capable of running Legacy Win32 desktop applications. Without content, the devices themselves are of little value. The trial and error evolution of Surface is a case in point. Because native (metro, modern, universal, UWP) mobility optimized content was lacking early on, the devices evolved to provide better experiences with existing legacy content. This certainly was beneficial in the short term, drove value into the devices, but what did it give back to the greater mobility optimized ecosystem? UWP is the content repository for the ecosystem, it is the key for delivering a contextually aware, contextually optimized experience. UWP with Continuum delivers on the mantra of cloud first, mobile first. All ecosystem devices must return value to the ecosystem in addition to deriving value from it. It is very short sighted to circumvent core ecosystem synergies and symbiosis in order to sell more devices in the near term. UWP and the content it provides must be the common experience that the ecosystem thrives on.