Razer's 'Project Linda' Razer Phone dock is the Continuum Microsoft dreams of

Razer is back at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this year with another project – that is, a concept not quite ready for market, but may be yours someday.

"Project Linda" is Microsoft's Continuum concept executed nearly flawlessly. Take the new Razer Phone and drop into a clamshell Razer Blade Stealth body and turn your phone into an almost full-functioning PC. Toss in some ports, built-in storage, a battery that can recharge your phone three times over, a web camera, and a high-quality display, and this is one killer device.

Razer had a prototype of Project Linda at CES. I got to spend some time with it, and the most frustrating aspect was I could not walk off with it today. From dropping the phone in to playing games, or just browsing the web the whole experience was seamless.

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CategoryProject Linda
Display13.3-inch Quad HD touch screen
120Hz
Battery53.6 WHr
Keyboardfull, chicklet style with Chroma RGB
Storage200GB internal
PortsUSB-A, USB-C charging port
Camera720p, dual-array microphone
Weight1.25 kg (2.76 lbs)
Width0.59 inch (15 mm)

Razer did some very clever engineering to make this all happen. There is a button that retracts the USB Type-C connector so that dropping in the phone is super simple. Much like Surface Book, the user just taps the button to engage the Type-C adapter, and the laptop takes over.

When inserted into the clamshell the Razer Phone now acts as a giant trackpad – and it's just awesome.

Since the Razer Phone has the loudest speakers, they get repurposed here as top-firing speakers for Project Linda. The system also has a built-in front-facing camera for Skype calls.

Battery life should go past 10 hours and may even hit 20 on a good day due to the Razer's giant 4,000 mAh battery and the more prominent 54 WHr battery of Project Linda (nearly triple the size of the Razer Phone).

The desktop UI part is all handled by a customized version of Sentio desktop. That means Razer didn't have to re-invent the technology but instead skinned it. It runs all apps on Android including games, messaging, Chrome, and more it making less crippled than similar solutions from other manufacturers.

What is surprising is despite being just a prototype Project Linda exceeded my expectations. The performance for the touchpad and typing was excellent and everything just worked as expected. The display and keyboard, which borrow from the Razer Blade Stealth, are perfect.

Pricing and availability

Since Project Linda is just a prototype, there is no pricing or release date for it yet. Razer is fishing for feedback to see if there is enough interest to bring it to market. Obviously, there are many considerations like pricing, device support, and feature set that needs to be finalized.

While Project Linda is a brilliant idea, if priced too high it will never go beyond niche despite its broader appeal. The good news is Razer has done the grunt work in engineering Project Linda already, and so far, it's an outstanding creation. Let's hope the company can figure out a way to bring it to market sometime soon.

Daniel Rubino
Editor-in-chief

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

98 Comments
  • What audience is this geared towards Dan? Meaning can you still game well on it?  I am not into games, but what else do you know about how Razer is leveraging the additional hardware here for productivity...or is only a gaming add-on mostly.
  • What audience is this geared to? The tech is geared to everybody. THink about it: Your PC is your phone. You carry it in your pocket everywhere you want to. Want to work in the coffee shop (in the future) use the screen and keyboard they supply. And it should be secure cause you only use a screen and keyboard. Your phone/pc is fenced. 
    You go home, you PC in your pocket. The workplace supply aonly a screen and keyboard. Stuff like that. 
    This might well be the next tech jump out of phones, tablets and laptops. 
    For the the gaming angle (I am not a gamer) merely clearly points to speed, storage and screen. Those are the building blocks of the PC. The only other thing is the o/s and this thing has Android which immediately opens the majority of phone (those small little pc's you call someone with!) users to this tech.   
  • I understand what you mean, but Razer is known for gaming.  Not productivity. Additionally, the Razer phone is directed at the gaming community...
  • Hmm, kinda, but this won't run Windows and so won't really be a proper PC. That means this shell PC isn't competing in price against full cream Windows laptops, it is competing with Chromebooks. So this will need to be significantly cheaper than a Chromebook to make any economic sense. I kinda doubt it will manage such a feat.
  • It's almost as though the phone needs to run WoA... :p
  • Microsoft may have missed an opportunity with this concept.😕 I described a VERY similar composite phone/laptop 📱/💻 concept in a piece last year that may have helped Microsoft position its new mobile device as a PC consumers would want. How Microsoft can ensure Surface 'phone' success
    https://www.windowscentral.com/what-your-surface-phone-aka-microsoft-ult...
  • Definitely, Jason! I remember that article, get this running WOA and PROPERLY (including full telephony) and take my money!
  • Yeah, it seemed like a very logical progression to me.🤔oh well.🙂
  • Yeah just think if the Razer Phone originally Ran Windows. Dock it full PC that can game, business types, educate, entertainment. Sorry MS. I love you but it's to fail.
  • I'd take this in a heartbeat.
  • With full Windows 10, yes.
  • That already exists. It's called the Razer Blade.
  • Why can't Windows 10 be smart enough that in phone mode it runs like Windows phone os without desktop programs and in docked mode it allows desktop programs in desktop environment.
    All this concept depends on arm processors and it's x86 emulation performance capabilities.
    If Microsoft delivers than This will be true Windows on arm acpc and I believe it is the only option Microsoft have.
  • Isn't that what C-Shell is for?
  • that's what it should be hopefully.
  • That was the plan obviously.
    The idiots at Microsoft and their leader didn't have patience to see this through.
    They all got a volume batch of android phones.
  • I've been using the MS version of this for several years with my Lumia 950XL, and while in "desktop" Continuum mode, it looks and feels similar to desktop, the current version can only run UWP apps, not win32 desktop applications.  I am so looking forward to Cshell opening up my phone to be fully desktop capable (albeit with less horsepower).
  • It can be, just need a company to push forward using the modular design in developement, Core and IoT, who knows this could already be in the works with Andromeda. One thing seems sure to me, something is coming down the pipe, it just seems hush hush as to what it actually is right now.
  • Razer has a Windows handheld, pocketable Windows device that docks?
  • Razer Blade window phone? no, it does not exist yet.
  • Ya, it is a pretty slick idea.  I imagine for mobile gamers this would be great, but I don't see how it could add more to that experience other than a bigger screen and more sound.  If there was a Windows mobile experience similar that ran a version of Windows to support x86 gaming, that might be better?  Is not gaming better on the Windows platform rather than Android?
  • I mean, Continuum was never going to be for gaming. This is basically the exact same thing. You have a super powerful phone that can also be a lightweight laptop. Microsoft Office, for example, would be great on this.
  • "Microsoft Office, for example, would be great on this."  - or whatever office suite Chrome can push to reside on such a phone?  (By the way, MS Word and Excell is already available on Android, and thus on this phone as well) Remember how MS Office became the world beater? It was not a suite that people flocked to because they liked it so much. It was the pretty ordinary suite that everybody got with the PC they bought. So the world ended up flooded with MS Office and everybody got used to it. What o/s on mobiles does the majority of people in the world use today? Not MS..... 
  • I've been using my 950XL with Continuum to access my MS Office apps for several years now, and I rarely need to take my laptop on business (or pleasure) trips any more.  I will be glad with C-shell will open us up beyond UWP apps.
  • it would be great if in future they figure out how to put a GPU in it like the surfacebook.
  • External via USB exists
  • LIke the pc it is a multi purpose instrument. LIke the pc it can be used to write on, do spreadsheets or powerpoint on, watch movies  on or communicate with. The huge gap between phone and pc/laptop at the moment is the ability to make phone calls - coupled with the size of anything above a generouse sized mobile phone. The laptop does not fit in the pocket and neither does a tablet. 
    Why most people does not write on a phone, for example, is the screen is to small and screen based touch keyboards on phone suck. 
    This tech will  give you a screen and an easy keyboard. THe thing is - as I understand the article - this IS a PC/laptop the moment you drop it into the cradle.  
  • Windows is... So just run LiquidSky - cloud computer and you can run anything. Ugh. I'm so sold on the idea of this thing. I'm tired of multiple devices. I'd rather one core device that can run all of my stuff when I'm on the go.
  • Continuum allows you to run in "desktop" mode without any Internet connection, a critical advantage over client-server applications.
  • Since it's Android, it's a non-starter.  I user a Razer Blade to work on, but my work requires Windows to work in Visual Studio, Unreal, etc and my clients all use PCs to run their software. The concept is a great idea, but for any heavy duty work (and you'd use a Razer to do that with a 7700HQ and niVidia 1060), this just isn't a workable solution. 
  • Seems pretty workable for most people in the world to me.... Word, Excell, movies, Facebook, Whatsapp, online banking... .
  • Not for any professionals.  Your highest paying jobs and most profitable industries need a lot more function - and Razer caters to a part of that. For Razer, they are all about gaming.  That phone cannot power high end Unreal games like nVidia's 1060+ can.  The Snapdragon does not have power to match the i7 7700 HQ. A lot of consumers need basic functionality as do many people that only work with documents, etc.  Professionals need a lot more ability that Chrome OS or Android can't provide nor can ARM at this point. The concept is interesting, but it would be more interesting if it could dock into a Core i7 and sync data, directories, etc. 
  • Mobile versions of Word, Excel... I guess it could do well in companies using terminal server environment... thought there are still limitations too big for many.
  • I've been saying this for ages, when continuum appeared, I've written to MS teeling them "put the damn phone instead of the touchpad. Do it before anybody else does!" I hope that this time MS will be the one who does the idea later but better
  • You must have had a thing for top loading VCR's in 1989
  • I think they missed it. They don't have the phone anymore. They now serve Android in that department. 
  • This would appear to be the obvious answer, but would it be the best one? Is it perhaps influenced by the fact that we are used to having trackpads centered below the keyboard becaused they are fixed and must compromise for both left and right handed use. Ideally trackpads would be somewhere right of center or left of center depending on which hand is dominate. Other phone uses such as making and recieving calls, etc. should also not be compromised. Depending on the size of phone it also puts limits on the space left for the keyboard. I would definitely like to see alternatives explored.
  • Still suffers from Android being a nonstarter outside of phones. Google has pushed the Android can do everything bit for a while and there is very little traction above phone form factor.
  • Yes. I agree re Android outside phones. But they have the phone market and that is the entry to this sort of tech. How difficult will it be for them to flesh Android out and steroid it to be a laptop and PC o/s? 
    If two thing are needed to own the future here - the laptop/PC o/s and owning the mobile market, I would say the mobile market is the more difficult one to get. You can throw coders at the o/s but no amount of coders will get you the market. That rests on people buying and liking a phone. Or merely being used to it. That was - in the corporate arena - the major thing MS had going for it. Some time ago there were free office suites just as good as  MS when it came to what  for example typists and PA's do but they usually rejected it and demanded MS Office because they were used to MS Office. Ask IT managers at big companies about that. That now will count for Android because a hell of a lot of (maybe most) of  those people now use Android phones. Those that actually had Win 10 mobiles just ditched them... And to think a short while ago MS spent billions buying the most popular mobile phone brand worldwide - Nokia - just to close it down and then give their apps to Android... In the future MBA students may well write their dissertations on this. 
  • I don't see this being any more successful than the PadFone and Moto Atrix unless people are content with the features and apps of a Chromebook. Even then, you still have to carry around another peripheral that's basically a dumb shell on its own. Personally I'd rather spend the money on a Razer Blade.
  • There are somebenefits like unified lte plans,unified storage use,notable cost savings because you don't pay for another processor chip and memory,ram,other parts etc.
    Current smartphones already hitting 8gb ram,128/256gb storage,and processing power good enough for common use like web browsing,media consumption,office etc.
  • It's also just a concept.
  • Padfones same concept Asus delivered product.but with android it failed and last padfone was released in 2014.
  • That whole concept has failed because it is pointless. The cloud already makes your data ubiquitous and PC hardware is relatively cheap. I don't see the point at least.
  • Deserve another try with Windows
  • I just ask why. Why carry around an empty shell instead of a Surface? If ARM is powerful enough, do you really need Windows software?
  • "Even then, you still have to carry around another peripheral "  - Unless of course instead of a laptop you buy the peripheral and keep it at home. And the "work" in stead of supplying a PC at the office merely now offer a peripheral which is bound to be cheaper than a laptop. And you have a "unified pc" at home and at work..... No more logging on to a VPN and working from the cloud to finish something tonight at home....
  • Yes but then workplaces have to all offer this specific peripheral. The great thing about Continuum is that it works with any hot-desking setup (you may just need a USB-C cable if your hot-desking setup doesn't have one).
  • The problem would be that it runs Android.  No point in using Android in a desktop mode.  Tried it and it's kind of useless. That with Windows 10 on ARM would be amazing!
  • Windows 10 on ARM would be just as useless. Android at least has some native apps. Windows 10 will be stuck with a barren app store and emulated legacy apps. You certainly won't be doing anything intensive.
  • So what do you suggest Microsoft should give up mobile dreams?
  • It's not a suggestion. They already have. And even Windows is a pure legacy play at this point. There's nothing new under the sun in Windows Land.
  • If they can't release something new and innovative, they probably should give up. Why bother with another iOS/Android clone?
  • Windows 10 on ARM runs Win32 apps. 
  • Yeah, emulated. Performance isn't going to be there, especially for the heavy desktop apps you would want Windows for. The simple stuff is easily covered by Android.
  • You are clueless. Desktop apps can be just compiled for ARM if the performance is needed. Otherwise emulation is just fine.
  • It is never that easy and they will need to sell in order for developers to care. It will be an issue if you want anything more than a Chromebook.
  • Windows 10 is not without desktop apps as much as what Android is. It's a desktop OS.
  • "That with Windows 10 on ARM would be amazing!" - But we won't get it - due to MS's short sightedness. Now we wait for Chrome to feed their o/s steroids. UNless they are too stupid to see the future either. 
  • Except that it's already coming and there are devices announced from several manufacturers (including Lenovo). Some of them were brought up again at CES, a quick search for "windows 10 snapdragon" should bring them up. Honestly, they look pretty interesting from a feature and productivity perspective. The current iteration is billed to have an ARM to x86 translator, which will enable these devices to run full Windows applications. There were even POCs showing Photoshop running on a Snapdragon 835-powered Windows 10 laptop.
  • Apple patented a similar idea years ago and it is no where to be seen. The problem isn't the idea, but rather that at the price point needed (look at the X3) the software isn't up to the demands of the consumer. The phone is $600, going by the X3 the shell is conservatively another $500.. So for $1100 I can get a decent midrange phone (that will do the vast majority of what a razer would) and W10 laptop that will do a hell of a lot more than Android. You might be able to sell it with W10ARM/CShell/X86 emulation.
  • This problem becomes even worse at true "flagship" phone prices.
  • This is first tech. You know what happens after the initial highly priced instruments. 
  • The smart phones keep going up in price with less value added each gen. Laptops keep coming down in price for the same or better performance. The shell components will be static (batteries, casing, etc). You would need a top end phone to work it, plus any redesign of the phone would need a new laptop... Bad economics.
  • ""concept executed nearly flawlessly""
    Please elaborate on this statement. How is this different from what acer jade did?
    I hope you don't say you save on a touchpad. Continuum is about taking your data with you.
    Not about conversation and inserting your phone into a keyboard like a cassette. The fact that you can still hold the phone to your ear while connected to cable makes the Microsoft one better.
  • Interesting idea.
  • The future that was calling for MS but they were too far up their own clever behinds to see it.....So they killed their mobile tech which would/could/should have been the gate into this future. Look at the win 10 mobile screen... look at the win 10 pc screen....
    Not the first time they farked up. About 20 years ago Bill Gates was fond to say how they spend a lot of time looking over their shoulders to escape being sideswiped. They looked so hard, they forgot to see the Internet coming. So today they have Bing and Google have Google...
    When they miss this jump into one instrument linking to different screens and inputs, they may well be history.
    I wait for Chrome to jump onto this thing. They have the phone and tablet thing sown up already.... And then for something like Bluetooth connecting the phone and the screen and the keyboard....
  • While this is indeed a clever idea, it sort of falls flat in terms of longevity. We keep our laptops much much longer than we keep our smarthphones, so unless Razer is going to keep making the exact same size of phone, this idea fits a "here and now" case only.
  • Or Razor comes up with a slightly different "cradle" that connects with for example bluetooth? 
  • Or USBC... Oh wait, already been done and the market hasn't caught fire. Essentially you pay the price of a high midrange phone for the shell and the price of a good laptop for the phone, yet you invert the usefulness.
  • It is the combination of the phone and the screen and keyboard that counts because together they make the "new sort of PC". Not how they connect. I was pointing out that while the prototype uses one sort of connection, there are many others available that will easily overcome the ""here and now" case only."  Issue. And yes, USBC will also overcome that. 
    Anyway as far as I read the article it was not mentions that USBC was available between the Razor and the cradle - OR that the Razor is available in the market 
  • 1)Maybe with Every upgrade cycle make new dock with new phone design at the same time keep making previous phone with same design but with upgraded internals. That means companies will support old docks till 2 generations by providing same phone design with upgraded internals.
    Or
    2)provide docks with extra trackpad which can be used while wireless or wired continuum.
  • I like the idea and I plan on buying the razor phone soon.
  • I love the idea, what’s old is new again. Does anyone remember the “Red Fly”. It was a device in the 90’s that was essentially a dumb terminal that connected to my Samsung Windows 6.5 device and let you use the keyboard and screen on the terminal for a laptop experience. I loved it but there were very limited content for Windows Phone at that time. Overtime I went back to the iOS for mobile and yearned for that old and fantastic concept experience. Fast forward to today. I have had the Lumia 1520, then the 950XL and then the HP Elite X3 with the doc. Well I’m sorry to say I am writing this on my iPhone 7Plus. Once again it’s all about the apps. Always knew it but I’m hopeful that web based apps will ultimatly win here. Fundamentally it’s also about a secure experience. The things that make Android so good are it’s Acheiles heel. Sure you get apps from everywhere and updates for phones from many places but that’s the fundamental problem. Apple has the overall right idea here and Microsoft could easily take market share here especially in the business/enterprise/ and mature mobile device market. I still hold out hope that we will see a viable Surface Phone in the near horizon.
  • yeah I don´t think this is the best concept yet of the whole "phone that turns into a laptop" idea. First because, as someone already pointed out, as soon as you got a new phone with a different size you would not be able to use it. Secondly because android is next to useless on a laptop, unless the laptop part was incredibly cheap to make the purchase worth it (which is not going to happen because... razer). So anyway this is pretty much dead on the water and will most likelly never even come to market.
  • In having used it, I can't say that this was "useless on a laptop". Damn thing felt like a PC to me. Ran Word, a browser, messaging, email, all MS apps.
  • My point is that for laptop use that can only be used for very light tasks like web browsing and email, this will probably cost too much to make it a justifiable buy. If it connected with your phone and enabled x86 use through emulation (like windows 10 arm devices will) then it would be worth it.
  • This is clearly not the Continuum that Microsoft dreams of. This requires very special hardware on the receiving end. Microsoft's solution could be used on Miracast devices, and via easy plug&play accessories. This requires you to have this notebook.
  • Everyone knows Miracast is garbage disguised as a dream.
  • Not complete garbage..but for productivity Dan, I would say yes. It is definitely not the latest and greatest tech, Intel WiDi has been around for a while... However, implimenting it almost 3 years in Windows 10 Mobile and today it still running stable says a bit. It just stuck on the back burner being ran as a counterpart to continuum on mobile.  Plus, technology advances exponentially now compared to 4-5 years ago. To me it has more of recreational use on mobile like for media consumption or photo viewing.
  • Miracast actually works very well. Our colocation areas and conference rooms at work all have a 55+ inch TV and a Microsoft Display Adapter. It works very well from our Windows 10 laptops.
  • Is this a portable screen + kb for the phone? Like the Asus one but with an additional KB? But even if it's a full win10 laptop... as soon as you dock it... you lose the Win10... And like Dare2Blink and others've said, the screen+kb become useless as soon as you change to a different looking phone.
  • You are still going to be paying the price of a laptop and phone, but here you will spent a midrange phone price on a dumb shell and the laptop price on a flagship phone... For me it would be much more useful to have a $700-1000 laptop and a midrange phone than this.
  • Just like Cheaper phones companies will provide cheaper docks.
    All depends what kind of performance arm processors can archive in future.
  • There is bottom to dock prices, even the upstarts in the market (there are a few with USBC connections) are a few hundred dollars (a good midrange Android is $199 if you shop) and good W10 laptops or 2/1 can be found for $700-850... Much better value.
  • It is more attractive for average users. A laptop dock will always little cheaper than your desired laptop because it lacks processor,ram,storage etc
    In this concept phone powers laptop so laptop can only be as powerful as phone it may or may not match your desired performance expectations so it is not for everyone.For some people it will be more valuable for some it might not.
  • Laptop.component prices will always be less than equaling performance in a smartphone due to size constraints.
  • "Move over Continuum"?  :D I thought it was already gone :P  There is no need for Continuum anymore since Microsoft made full Windows 10 available on ARM...
    To me Project Linda is Razer taking advantage of what Microsoft made possible for all its OEMs one of which, is Razer. Expect more such devices coming next. One thing is problematic there. Windows 10 is still not suitable for mobile devices in terms of UI/UX... 
    The crap that was Windows 10 Mobile was not even near what the UX of an OS for mobile should be. 
  • I still dont get why this is better than carrying a Surface Pro or equivalent and a seperate mobile. I never understood continuum either really. 
  • What happens when the size of the phone changes and it no longer fits the slot. I would like a lot more if it use a cable and was still a mouse pad.
  • Microsoft can make it before this prototype comes out. Windows on ARM is almost ready so the new Continuum will be full Windows 10. But I think this scenario is surpassed already, foldable devices have the potential to replace it...let's see what happens...
  • So, I dont see the question answered anywhere or even asked, maybe I am missing it somewhere. Question is: Is this device limited to their phone, or will it support Elite x3 and 950XL devices? I like the idea of the touchscreen particularly. I mean I know this prototype is their phone only, but it is just the prototype...
  • What's "Sentio desktop"?
  • This is what the next Samsung Dex Dock should be. I'd buy that in a heartbeat!
  • I've been saying this should have been the "Surface Phone" for a couple of years now. It should have been Continuum melded with an ASUS Padfone experience--a phone that can slot into a Surface tablet shell for a Continuum experience. Sadly, Microsoft barely developed Continuum, as is tradition, and rebooted it as C-Shell, as is tradition, while failing to commit to a full platform--as is tradition. Microsoft needs to stop this trend of starting an idea, failing to push it, then letting the competition catch up and perfect it. They've had several good ideas and products that failed mostly because of impatience and a lack of commitment. I hope this trend stop soon.
  • Ok, wow!  This is cool!  Really like the innovation and thinking outside the box.  Hoping it's successful!
  • This isn't a brihgt idea. Laptop + tablet combo makes some sense. Because you can reuse many components and save on the cost. Here you can reuse only CPU and RAM. You can't reuse even phone's camera because it simply can't see yours face at that position. So with this offer you can save something like 150$ (or even just 100$) and lose the luxury of using two independent devices (possibly sometimes by two different persons). Not worth it.
  • Continuum worked wirelessly so with Windows Microsoft can provide this feature.
    To make use of phones camera surface book's design can be adopted in which phone docks in tablet shelland have cutout in the bazel of tablet shell so system can use phones front camera.