SlimPort is a technology that's been used in phones for a while now, allowing for outputs to larger displays to use your handheld on something like your TV. At Mobile World Congress we caught up with them to see what's new, and find out about a new product that should be available later this year.
SlimPort already has the Nano Console, a docking system to plug phones from the likes of LG into your TV and use them from the comfort of the couch. The next product is a similar console but using USB-C, and that means it'll be perfect for Continuum with phones like Microsoft's Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL. Better still, it'll cost a decent chunk less than Microsoft's dock, with targeted pricing around $50 we were told.
The downside compared to Microsoft's offering will be the added ports you won't get. It's literally just going to be an interface to plug your USB-C equipped phone into an external display. You won't get added HDMI outputs, USB ports or anything like that. But naturally you'll still be able to use a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard for that PC like experience.
SlimPort also has a little remote control that it includes in the box, which is currently a red square with a touch sensitive surface. We're told the updated version will have support for a scrolling mouse wheel action, which is pretty great. Otherwise it acts as a pointer to move around and navigate within the Continuum interface. It's included in the box, so there's no additional purchase.
It's less elegant than something like the included docks with the Acer Jade Primo or HP Elite X3, but it's also Universal, and has price on its side. We don't have any exact release timeline at the moment, but we'll certainly be looking to get one in when it becomes available.
Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. 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 covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
Nice to have options. But... Continuum shines when using the ports. So, this won't be for me. But options are always good when building an ecosystem.
Price of the MS Dock would put me off (personally) as retail is about double what SlimPort is saying they'll sell for. For my use, I have a desktop PC, I'd put this maybe in the front room to catch up on some light work from the couch. As you say, options are good.
I was honestly surprised by how much I use the USB ports. I do a lot of video work on my main machine then take the video in the living room and play from Continuum on the larger screen to make sure it plays well and/or share it. I also like to create smaller documents on it to demonstrate the power of continuum to my teams. I have done that quite a few times.
So, this may mean that you could potentially switch around Continuum docks from different manufactures and it should work...
Totally, as long as the device presents it's capabilities to the device correctly then it should work. I just ordered the new Dell Venue 8pro with the USB C port adapter and I won't be surprised to see it work with my 950. 7-9 business days and we will see.
I can tell you my MS Display Dock (the one for 950/950XL) works fine connected to the USB-C port on my wife's XPS 15. I have an Anker Hub designed for a Macbook which works somewhat with my Lumias. HDMI out worked well with some monitors, not others. USB worked, Charging worked. Works fine on the Dell. So, I think the intent is there for compatibility, but there can always be some growing pains.
this article is alittle confusing, so it only connect to a disply without a HDMI ? and no usb port? and it has a remote. can you charge the phone while use it ? so it basically a usb-c to DP adaptor, normally cost $30 rather than $50 considerably, MS display dock may be better price, 1 extra charger ($20) + 1 USB-C cable ($20) + Dock itself with more ports and better supports($55)
You don't get additional USB ports or HDMI. You get a single video output and USB-C input. The remote is Bluetooth on its existing products so I imagine it would be the same. The MS dock retails where I live (usually) for like £80. Which is a lot. Sure, deals happen. But equally if you think only Microsoft stuff should exist you won't get a very varied ecosystem.
what if you need to read or load files to an USB drive? i still prefer to have a adaptor /Dock includes at least 1 HDMI / DP , 1 Full size USB-A and 1 USB-C (charging/ extension)
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