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Windows 10's desktop-to-tablet UI switching features could see public testing in a few months

Microsoft will give the many public testers of the Windows 10 Technical Preview a chance to check out its "Continuum" desktop-to-tablet UI switching feature sometime in late 2014 or early 2015, according to statements made by company executive Joe Belfiore to reporters and analysts at TechEd Europe today.

Microsoft demoed how Continuum will work as a video mockup as part of its first Windows 10 press event in late September. Basically, it's been made for 2-in-1 devices like the Surface Pro 3 or the new Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro so users can quickly switch from the desktop UI when using a physical keyboard to the touchscreen based Modern interface when the keyboard is detached or flips around the screen.

Belfiore showed off some new trackpad features in Windows 10 during his keynote address today that will be made available to Windows 10 Insider testers in the next build of the preview, which will have the version number 9865.

Continuum is just one of several new features planned for the Windows 10 Technical Preview. What else do you want to see Windows do to make things easier for convertible users?

Source: ZDNet

42 Comments
  • Cool
  • Cool, as long as we can unselect Start Menu, it is 2014!
    The rest of the changes do look awesome though.
  • Nice!
  • As long as my rt doesn't lose the desktop side when I get it ill be ok with it. Otherwise I'm gonna rant and rave.
  • It wont.
  • Isn't that Microsoft's long term goal? Dump the desktop from RT?
  • But if they remove features that was part of the reason the device was purchased ima be one mad Joe. I use desktop side all the time. It allows me to get files when I need it when my desktop PC is in full use. Or when I've bricked the bios lol.
  • The desktop isn't really needed for that purpose. They just need to make a better metro file explorer. The desktop on RT is mainly there for office, which hasn't been updated for metro yet, and the full version of Internet explorer. I'm sure they won't dump the desktop until those apps are properly ported to RT. 
  • Wrong. It is not just the desktop as an UI entity. It is the complete Win32 and .Net subsystem with all privileges, which are not available within the WinRT container. Only here you have control over services, group policies, access control lists, disk partitions etc.
  • According to what I have read, Windows RT (all devices with an ARM/mobile processor) will probably be replaced by the same UI as Windows Phone (whatever that will be).  That would imply that the desktop would dissappear.  I would prefer if the UI is the same as the touch UI of Windows 10 but with all/most the Windows Phone features we have today.  It would imply having one same integrated OS with a different perception on multiple devices.
  • It would be stupid to align UI/UX design with the processor architecture. It makes no sense at all.
  • Surely there will be no Win32/Traditional desktop apps for RT devices but I still hope that desktop as an environment for windowed Universal Apps when mouse is present will stay, only optional for those who want it. I guess there is still market for RT-like PC even for Desktop PC form factor just for casual users who don't need or care for traditional desktop apps, which is way better than Chromebooks.
  • This is what I worry about the most when it comes to Win 10. If the desktop goes away and file management doesn't get a big upgrade my Surface 2 will stay on 8.1.
  • Who to say they'll even update those older devices
  • Ms does
  • Belifore vs. Belfiore that's the real question here :-), can't wait to test this feature
  • Hmmm. Seeing taskbar on full start screen is a bit redundant, no?
  • Yes and no. The benefit is quick access to notifications, although moving it up with the user/power/search would resolve that. Not that I use the scroll bar on the start screen but having it covered by the task bar is a little messy from a UX stance and looks like baby vomit from the visual side of things.
  • It's a tech preview. Expect many changes.
  • I bet they will implement some sort of swipe up to show taskbar feature that they have hhinted at in the latest build
  • I am excited to try but not right now on my surface.
  • I like windows 10 technical preview on my Surface pro 3 but I decide to change it back to windows 8.1 pro.
  • Am missing the 8.1 metro style with 10. Looking forward to testing this. ​
  • A little worried about this and users' ability to keep two different modes straight in their head. What happens when you're in tablet mode and you want to get to something you know is on your desktop-style start menu, or vice versa. Power users will get it it, but the masses complaining about 8 will probably freak out when they cant find something.
  • The test is to be versatile but keep it simple and,intuitive, imho.
  • There is no such thing as intuitive. Something is intuitive only if it works the way you were previously taught. IOS is intuitive only because everyone knows that clicking on an icon launches an app. It's what everyone has been doing since a gui was first used on a computer. I bet the vast majority of IOS users don't know how to set things up and avoid the settings menu completely. Every single gesture on IOS isn't discoverable. People know about them because they saw others do it and know the same scrolling gestures and pinch to zoom are common to all the smartphones. I bet most people don't know about the four finger swipe to switch apps or five finger pinch to go to the home screen. Most people I see click the home button and then click the icon to launch the tombstoned app. Do a search for IOS shortcuts and gestures and I bet you will find some you never knew about. The most you can do is keep gestures and menus simple so that it is easier to learn.
  • What do you mean? You will always have access to the desktop so the only thing that will change is loss of access to the start menu when you have a touch screen only interface. In that case you will get the traditional start menu and everyone knows how to operate that.
  • Wouldn't everything that is in the start menu also be available on the start screen? All else fails, just search for it. It's the quickest way to access anything on windows anyways. The masses would get it once it is shown to them. Microsoft needs to provide a proper video to teach people to use the software. The windows 8 help animations were not enough to teach the new features. I learned windows 8 by watching a 5 minute video on youtube. Everyone I've shown how to use windows 8 pretty much understood it once they saw how everything works and played with it for a few minutes. The supposed lost productivity to teach windows 8 was really overblown. Just send everyone a link to one of the youtube videos and let them watch it for 5 minutes.
  • Just so long as I can switch to full tablet style Metro interface without detaching my keyboard, when I'm using my desktop's Logitech T650 as a touch interface, then fine. I don't like this automatic idea though, as I find Windows rarely does well at mindreading. MS better remember to give the customer control over it this time.
  • I sent feedback add part of the insider program to add an easy way of "maximizing" the start menu into the full start screen, even on a desktop. Hopefully this will include something like that. I shouldn't have to check a box and log off to switch back and forth.
  • Just give me back 8.1-style full-screen metro apps and full startup apps support in Start screen mode. That's what stops me from using Start screen instead of the buggy Start menu.
  • Are you actually calling the start menu buggy while using an early build of a tech preview?
  • long may this public release testing phase continuum!
  • I'm absolutely loving this preview testing, the process of seeing the final form of windows 10 taking shape with the help of the community is awesome. Microsoft really is very different than what it used to be, and all for the better.
  • Sweet. Too bad I don't have a Surface or transforming laptop (also can't afford one).
  • What's going to happen with devices like the dell xps 12 duo where the keyboard doesn't detach? I think the metro menu works well, but so does the desktop. What's this change going to bring?
  • I'm curious about this too.  I have a Surface Pro 3, but I don't detach the keyboard when I use it as a tablet.  It seems that it should know I'm using it like a tablet when I touch the screen.  If you use the trackpad or keyboard to launch an app, then launch it in a window.  If I launch an app by touching the screen then launch it fullscreen.  Same with the Start Screen vs. Start Menu.  Which one you get should depend on whether you launched it with touch or not.  Why would it ever have to ask?
  • I probably use the touch screen as much as i do the trackpad and keyboard. Sometimes its easier to just touch the screen to select something than to use the trackpad mouse. Other times I want to scroll with the trackpad. Is this continuum thing going to have a seizure when I do this! I haven't installed the preview on my dell so I can't even test to find out. I guess time will tell.
  • OK what if you have a transformer laptop and not a damn surface, will it work
  • We shall see. I will only like this if the apps still behave the way they do currently in 8.1. Like, swiping from the top and such. If they don't do that,then I will be upset. Because I have learned to make this UI work so well for me....it is ridiculous.
  • What is that stupid, idiotic list on the left side?  And why are we still subjected to that stupid Task Bar?
  • They should leave an option in PC settings to allow all apps to launch full screen mode when using the start screen like on 8.1, then windowed if start menu is enabled.