That's right, with the new Galaxy S8, Samsung is taking on Microsoft's desktop-esque Continuum feature with its own take that has a clunkier name. DeX is the desktop dock system available alongside the Galaxy S8 that will transform the phone in your pocket into a PC-like experience on the big screen.
Better still — at least for folks who use Microsoft services — is that Microsoft is already on board with its long-term mobile partner, and it optimized some of its apps for the launch of DeX. Microsoft has been preloading Office and other apps on the Galaxy devices for some time now, so this isn't surprising.
There's still a lot to learn about exactly how Samsung's system will work, but even at this early stage there's much we do know. The DeX dock is required as the interface, much as you need some form of interface for Continuum, and it allows folks carrying a Galaxy S8s to plug in their phones, hook up a keyboard, mouse and other peripherals, and then use their phones like a PC.
The biggest drawback, if you can call it that, is that it only runs Android apps. So while it may look and operate like a PC, it's far from it. This won't be replacing a desktop or laptop right now, but like Continuum, it could be a great tool for working while on the go.
The interface is very PC-like, though, right down to the "Start menu" and the ability to pin apps to the desktop window. It also doesn't lose any of the phone functionality when docked. After all, it's a phone first and foremost.
There's still a question about how Samsung is going to allow non-optimized apps to run in the DeX environment, but what about those that are, such as apps from Microsoft? Office apps like Word and PowerPoint are already fully DeX compliant, offering a tailored experience for the big screen when docked. Exactly like you get from Continuum.
Other apps such as Adobe Lightroom are also supported — something which would be AWESOME to have on Windows 10 for Continuum — as well as virtual desktop solutions like VMWare and Citrix. So for the right person needing to get the right work done, DeX should be fairly compelling.
The launch of DeX is both a good and bad thing for Microsoft, depending which angle you approach it from. The good, of course, is that Microsoft is one of the world's largest software companies, and it has to be smart business getting onboard with the single largest selling smartphone that doesn't have an Apple logo on it.
The bad is that one of Windows 10 Mobile's distinguishing features, Continuum, is diluted somewhat by Samsung's goliath phone. The Galaxy S8 will sell tens of millions of units again over the next 12 months and beyond, and even the most optimistic fans of the platform must admit it will dwarf Windows 10 Mobile sales. The potential reach of DeX is much wider, though it's hard to say whether it's more appealing to enterprise buyers than something such as the excellent HP Elite x3.
Only time will tell, but competition makes all parties involved stronger. And Microsoft is already coming into this mobile computing revolution from both sides.
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Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine