I was a skeptic, but actually using Continuum for Windows 10 Mobile changed my mind

But that was before I tried it. I'm not here to proclaim from the rooftops that it's the greatest thing since sliced bread, the savior of Microsoft's mobile efforts or other such extremes.

But I am seeing it in a different light now having actually used it for myself at a local launch event for the Lumia 950 in London.

I've been telling myself that no matter how great Continuum is technically, it's not for me. In no way could I see it fitting into my work flow or daily life in a broader view. When I'm working I have a desk, I have my desktop PC. When I'm on the road I have my laptop.

But seeing the display dock for myself and how Universal Apps just scale up and down, how you can plug in your peripherals and have a mini-PC in your pocket has changed that a bit.

Display Dock

I could absolutely see having a couple of Display Docks around the house. One in the front room plugged into the TV so I can catch up on some email, daily tasks, even some light work with my feet up on the sofa when I don't need to be in front of my PC. For the right sort of work it would be more comfortable than sitting with a laptop on my lap looking at a small screen when there's 40-inches of TV to use.

That's just one use case and one way that I could now see myself using Continuum. But when you stick an enterprise hat on there's an even bigger use case.

The hotdesk.

I can relate using my own past life as an oft-traveling project manager as a good example. I used to have a company BlackBerry and a company laptop. And not a sleek little Ultrabook. No. The BlackBerry was my on the go Email tool and the laptop was what I used when I needed to get onto Microsoft Office.

Replace that laptop bag and antiquated smartphone (there's little other way to describe a years old BlackBerry OS 7 device) with a Continuum toting Lumia and suddenly you've got everything in your pocket wherever you go. Instead of hundreds of expensive Lenovo or Dell laptops for the employees as well as a phone, give them a phone and a Display Dock to use in the remote locations hooked up to one of the already present monitors.

Continuum

For consumers right now, the cost of entry is high. In the UK you're looking at £500 plus for the phone for starters. And you need to have a screen and a keyboard at least to get anything done. If you have those, great. If not, add to the bill.

For the enterprise the cost is potentially much more reasonable. Using my own example, there's a strong case to make. I didn't ever need the full power of desktop Office for my work. It was mainly word processing, viewing pdf files and some basic spreadsheet work. All easily doable with Continuum.

So, to close. I'm more upbeat about Continuum now than I have been thus far. There's a long way to go and it won't 'save' the platform on its own. But for the right kind of user it could be one of the best things you ever spend your money on.

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.

262 Comments
  • Isn't Continuum one of the main reasons the 950 & XL are Microsoft's "enterprise" phones because of this? Or do you believe that these are are the "enthusiast" phones while the rumoured Surface Phone will be an enterprise model?
  • i think every phone that will support Continuum can be "enterprise" since it does what it does :P
  • Every phone? Reminds me about Every Phone released in Japan.
  • Lol
  • The 950 and 950xl are without a doubt the "enthusiast" phones. MS has been spinning them that way since the beginning. Continuum isn't solely a feature in those phones, it's baked into the os.
  • I wouldn't agree that MS were marketing them as enthusiast phones considering whatshisface was even quoted by WC "be productive like a boss" which I'd say is more of a target towards a businessman/enterprise. It's just that WC never seems to want to give an answer regardless of how many times I ask, even if it's just to say "sorry, we're not sure" lol.
  • They have in the past (quoted here on Windows Central) acknowledged that these are enthusiast phones, and that the new mid-range devices are going to be aimed at business.
  • These are the enthusiast, flagship phones. As far as I see it, there's three reasons for this: They use the 9xx badge, which has typically been the flagship consumer number They have awesome cameras, which are left off "business" class devices to keep costs down 5xx is the new low, so the obvious number for business is 7xx (as business is typically a mid-tier device) Enterprise purchasing is often in the thousands, so keeping the unit cost low is of the utmost importance. Even if you have an executive team of 20 people, you'd be dropping 10,000$ on just their phones. You'd still need the laptop for in office work, so the savings isn't there. You need the device cost below 500$ before bulk discount. I really think that, if W10M picks up, we'll see more niche devices like the 1020 come out, and they'll use the Even numbered tiers for those. 6xx will be the "high-end" budget device, 8xx the powerful business device, and 10xx will be the niche flagship. At least that would add some logical sense, and leave the 15xx tier for a 7 inch tablets, should they go there.
  • I agree mostly with you except that when Microsoft bought Nokia they realize that 15xx and 10xx where confusing, maybe for a succesor of the 1020 (if it even exist) I think we will see something like 9xxC ("C" for camera), for 6inch phables we have a XL suffix so what about a XXL suffix for a 7inch phablet.
  • Nokia's whole number system was confusing, and not forward thinking. You only have so many numbers to play with. That said, I can see your point with the C, assuming the rest of the hardware is essentially the same. A 950 with a 41 megapixel camera would be sensibly called a 950 C. However, with the XXL I think it's a bit more confusing. Besides, when you get bigger screens you start needing to modify other hardware and physical design, which prompts me to think they'd give it a different badge. Ultimately, I'd like them to abandon the number system as the name (keep it for easy in stream phone comparison; 950 vs 950 xl, for eg). Instead, move to proper name badges for the different streams (eg: Valo for the 5xx, Licht for 7xx [assumed business], Lys for 9xx).
  • No. I'm glad we finally got over that obnoxious naming obsession wireless carriers and OEMs were doing for a while. Numbers are simple; they make sense. Apparently everyone forgot cryptic phones like the Samsung Galaxy S 2 Skyrocket? Or the Samsung Galaxy Epic 4G Touch?   What do those even mean? How do they compare to each other? Which one is higher end? Names tell you nothing about a phone and how it compares to other devices. But it's plainly obvious that a Lumia 950 is better than a 550. All Microsoft needs to do is not muck around with weird variants like 630 vs 635, and the numbering scheme works perfectly.
  • there is no such thing as an "enterprise" windows phone and will never be. that is just pure marketing stupidity. any app that an "enterprise" windows phone has will run on a normal windows phone, if there is such thing anymore. because only MS seems to bother with the platform anymore. a surface phone is nothing but a different design of the same old same old: the OS that couldn't. Furthermore the lack of enterprise apps on windows phone (or any apps for that matter) means it is a really poor enterprise phone before it is a poor consumer phone. In fact, it is probably worse at enterprise. I would recommend a windows phone to somebody who needs something better than a flip phone, but not to an enterprise user because as soon as they need an app, it will not be there.  
  • I don't know, aren't they releasing a Win 10 Mobile Enterprise image?  I would assume this is for phones that a company would distribute to employees, be able to join a domain (?), be manageable with AD/SCCM, and available apps controlled by the company.  I'd call that an Enterprise phone.  Add the possibility of x86 into the mix and it gets even more interesting for enterprise. As long as your company will be able to get their apps onto your phone they aren't going to give two shits whether you can get snapchat/instagram onto it.
  • Three years ago that may have been the case.  We (enterprises) have mostly come to grips with managing phones in other ways.  This Enterprise phone/mid-range device being thrown about together concern me.  Look around in enterprises, or any business really, today, and you'll see the enterprise phone is the enthusiast's phone and the enthusiast's phone is the enterprise phone.  They're one and the same device.  They have been for a couple of years now: an iPhone, a Samsung Note or Galaxy S, a Moto X, a Vzw Droid model. If Microsoft's message is to try to offer devices that fit market segment "x" really well, but that are kind of meh in market segment "y"; I don't think that story ends well.  Because there are *a lot* of really good devices that out there already that fit "x" and "y" really well, and they're only getting better and more numerous. Realize, I say this wanting to see Microsoft succeed, but their vision is very ambiguous at the moment with no indication they're going to be able to clarify it anytime soon.
  • dkediger, In my experience Apple seems meh on enterprise and all-in on the consumer market. Why else would they bring out and flagship content consumption device, iPad Pro, at the same price point as the Surface Pro 4? I have hope that MS is steering toward the enterprise user. I get it. My MacBook Pro, iPad, iMac, and Apple Watch are moving out and a new Lumia 950 and a Surface Book will replace the lot. Two devices replace four. What a concept.
  • I've done a lot of the same consolidation at work with our users.  We've replaced several setups that had desktops, notebooks, and iPads with SP3's with docks, monitors, and keyboards.  Its great.  We've replaced some of our MBP's and Airs with the same setup as well.  Those we haven't replaced want the SP, and want it bad. Which is great. And yes, a big factor was the stand alone nature of the Apple devices.  If Apple is expecting the iPadPro to revive their presence in the enterprise, or stake out new territory, they're mistaken and have misread the market badly.  Sure, there will always be niche uses for it, and probably even some very dominant but very narrow vertical segments will have it as their main device. But broad adoption in the enterprise/business segment is not going to happen. Its been close to 18 months since we purchased any iPads where I work, and we have no need to acquire new ones even as replacements. But the phones are different. Its the device all of us ensure we always have with us, to the point of separation anxiety if we're separated from it. The tools exist and processes have been developed that businesses can be pretty agnostic with phone platforms in terms of communication, organizational, and information consumption capabilities.  After that, it becomes a personal choice for the user as to what they want out of a device,  Sure, there's a not insignificant portion of enterprise devices that need to be under absolute control of the enterprise for privacy and security reasons.  But for the most part, we really don't worry too much about all the others that don't need to be locked down. Its not that Microsoft needs a great enterprise device.  They just need a great device/platform period.  Continuum is really intriguing. Similar to the author in the main article - one of my over-arching goals this coming year is to explore untethering our front end sales people from their desks - dekstops/traditional desk phone sets.  Continuum could really play a part in that, but I will likely not get a good chance to utilize it, as, alas, Verizon is our only carrier that provides indoor signal. Its a one step forward, two steps back story with Microsoft and Phones/Mobile.
  • iOS is so enterprise multi-user unfriendly it's not even funny. But we have to support it as such because that was what was dictated to us by the non-technical-enough folk. Development and production support of devices would be so much easier for us if instead of iPads they were Windows tablets. Maybe the tide will turn and those in charge will come to their senses when we start rolling out Win10. Maybe.
  • Amen.
  • Yes, a Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise version is being made available. It is supposed to offer a higher degree of security, but I haven't read up on what that is exactly yet. Also more configurations for IT to handle. 
  • neonspark you must not have read what Microsoft CEO NADELLA SAID=there will be 3 types of Windows smartphones 1="budget" the MS Lumia 435 and MS Lumia 550 are examples of that. 2="Windows Enthusist", The 950/950XL are the closest thing to them now and 3= The Business/Enterprise smart phone the MS "Surface" Smart phone being done By MS VP MR PANOS and the Surface team has just been reported to be being built will fill that slot. If you were a Microsoft insider which you are not you would know Microsoft get's over 90 percent of it's money from it's business/Enterprise customers. MS CEO Nadella is Microsoft's Enterprise expert he will make damn sure the "Surface" smart phone is Enterpirse ready  with the software to back it up. a lot of folks might be shocked to see the Surface smart phone so business oriented it won't be fun but people will buy it anyway.  
  • Will we?  Is the hardware story going to be "suit and vest" versus "fun"?  Is that a winning formula?  Will we also need a "fun" device? If so, why should I carry two of Microsoft's devices when I can carry one of Apple's devices or Motorola's devices or Samsung's devices?  We're all trying to consolidate, not diverge.  Sure, Continuum looks to potentially be a great tool to converge, but if its device doesn't have the "fun" factor does it just become a smaller business notebook that we leave at work or in our satchels when we go home to pull out our fun devices? And what part of the Verizon debacle/ATT soft-exclusive inspires anyone to think Microsoft will "make damn sure" that whatever enterprise device they come up with will actually be usable in a lot of American enterprises?  Yeah, I know America isn't the world, but it's their home market and businesses and individuals can generally afford and/or are addicted to tech upgrades.
  • It may be hard for you Americans to realize, but there is actually a word outside of US.
  • Yes.. we will... Maybe of us bought the Samsung Note's to have the top of the line model even though we might not have *needed* the business/enterprise features... Microsoft could take a lot of those users if it releases a similar model phone under the Surface brand...
  • Enterprise doesn't care about fun factor. What kind of company are you working for? The enterprise I work for are issued a business phone even if they have their personal phone, so yes we carry 2 phones because they don't trust iphones or android or your own device on their network with access to business information. Only blackberry and microsoft phones are allowed and with the recent announcement of windows 10 mobile enterprise, we're looking at replacing all blackberries and upgrading (if possible) or replacing windows phone 8.1 for windows 10 mobile enterprise.
  • Bang on!, MS represents the only potential enterprise phone on the market in my view, iPhones cannot be locked down natively, but only with 3rd party apps/hacks, android's ecosystem is too volatile and fragmented. The iPad pro is so misguided its hard to understand who the focus groups were. Not as portable and versatile as an iPad air, and not as functional as a surface pro... Enterprise apps for me (to answer another bewildering poster above) are any apps that we use in the enterprise, but predominately office, mail, calendar etc. I am head of our IT function and I have done my very best to keep IOS out of our business (successfully thank god). waiting for something like the surface phone, if not the surface tablet/laptop. Its not my job to purchase 'fun' devices for our employees, but rather functional ones. The obvious way forward for me is to give our mobile employees a continuum phone and spread the docks around the business for when they hit the head office, and one more dock at home to replace the current laptop setup. Its what I've been waiting for to tick all the boxes, and the new phones support Cisco VPN, device encryption, 'proper' MDM integration etc etc. I know the Apple fans will cling to the idea that any of the IOS devices are viable as enterprise solutions but the simple fact is that is not what they are/were designed for - this was statement from Apple themselves.... Don't feel threatened by the emerging technology from MS, they are not looking to muscle in the consumer/media consumption market with these devices, but rather fill a hole that exists in the enterprise.
  • I'm not threatened at all by emerging technology, I've seen quite a lot of it since starting my career in 1988. Hardly an Apple fan as well - In my lifetime I have owned a grand total of 0 Apple devices of any kind.  I'm really looking forward to seeing Continuum develop, because, like you, I want to untether a not insignificant portion of my workforce.  The main barriers I face, however, are this strange (for the "new" Microsoft) snit with Verizon, and the ever present "coming soon" or "future release" from them as well.  At some point, Microsoft needs to truly decide they are fully in the phone market and "Just Do It." But, speaking of Continuum, there is a continuum of needs in the enterprise. At my present place of work, where I manage IT, as well as the one before that, we do/did not have a need for devices managed to a high degree. We just don't when it comes down to it. We've audited, and had an outside partner audit as well, what we do with our devices and we don't. A lot of business's don't. A lot do. And a lot of this discussion is driven by speculation that an enterprise device needs to be value based. It should not - or it will never grow beyond those that need the walled gardens of MDM lock downs. It needs to be an "and 1" solution and not an "either or" solution.
  • Only blackberry and microsoft phones ...
    You are definitely the minority.  I have explicity stated that there are cases where an absolute lockdown is needed. It would be nice to see what the ratios are to for those devices as compared to just basic devices that simply need access to generic enterprise resources (WiFi, print, email).  I'm pretty sure, outside of govt, finance, and health that it isnt much different than what the overall market number's are for phones in general.  I'm talking real need, not just because that's what's always been done.  Trust me when I say there is quite a bit of work going on to minimize the need for that type of device requirment in the first place.  Which means, for Microsoft, pinning a lot of hopes on an enterprise device winning the day for them won't go very far. It would be a nice market to have, but it is also a very resource intensive market to keep and service.
  • The NUMBER ONE app that M$ needs on windows 10 is not there, and without it, the use case of "enterprise" class devices won't work. Microsoft Project. If they add that, they could crush the competition. MP+Continuum...
  • I agree that having Project and even a version of Access would be huge for the phone. MS with a dollar sign? That's so 90s.
  • Having Project on a phone would be interesting, if rather limited unless docked to a large monitor. I have Project Desktop so have never had the opportunity to try to access the cloud-based version in a mobile browser. Since it is such a complex app, most enterprises make it available to few users and they export reports to Excel for management and others. I'd like to see integration between Project and Power BI (without Excel as intermediary), then they can work on making it mobile.
  • I agree along with Visio
  • Except Remote Desktop doesn't work and is currently unsupported in Continiuum, which baffles my mind. The fact that all apps don't project, at a minimum a blown up version of what they look like on the phone makes this not even as good as a Chromecast (currently). It's always coming soon.....i bought the 950, and am disappointed...but I do see the potential.
  • Remote Desktop will be the game changer. I have used it on the Surface and Surface 2 to hit the higher powered home PC.  I have used it on the Surface Book to hit the home server and pull files from my Drobo and sync to OneDrive for sharing.  If that could happen from my phone?
  • teamviewer is already working kind of. not quite the same of course. i have a few issues with the target display not scrollig etc but that really is a nice way forward
  • Im surprised no ones chimed in on the vpn support being not enough
  • You can project all apps to the screen, even better than Chromecast since Miracast isn't limited by app compatibility or artificial limitations. Don't be disappointed in your 950, the ability to do exactly what you said is already there, it just isn't ever talked about or demonstrated. The 950 can do all that you can do via Chromecast and then everything that Continuum can and will do that Google's Chromcast will never be able to do. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICR_YZIepyw
  • I am going to see how Citrix scales on my wife's 950 if it scales correctly this will be a big deal for me.
  • In what way doesn't Remote Desktop work? I've successfully used it on my 925 running 10586. Likewise, I have started using TeamViewer in the past couple of weeks and it does seem to run fine.
  • It doesn't work in continuum full screen on the monitor. It only runs on the phone screen. Runs great on the phone screen but on the external monitor is where i see its full potential
  • That was the fist app I went to....Remote Desktop and was disappointed it wasn't there. To me thats a compelling app to get running. I did use Continiuum today for the first time and was delighted otherwise. It is really compelling and look forward to its growth moving forward.
  • They need to make Continuum available for mid end phones hereon. Then, hopefully, enterpruse can adopt this.
  • Enterprise usually are mid tier, In this case, if 9xx is premium, 7xx will be mid and 5xx low. A japanese OEM released a phone few days ago that uses SD617 and some of the details showed that they are working with MSFT on Continuum feature for this mid tier phone. Its price is ~370 Check this out from WC "http://www.windowscentral.com/poll-buy-nuans-neo-phone-windows-phone"    
  • Msoft have repeatedly said these are for enthusiasts. or you might call them 'Insiders'. As i can see it, it's a high spec bit of kit running beta software with a beta grade iris recognition system. Just like the Lumia 2520 running WinRT. Amazing bit of hardware with fast charging, incredible battery life, screen and build quality running beta software. I say beta but this was only initially just like winmob10 is now. Give it a year and it'll be slick and bombproof, just like WinRT 8.1 is now.     My concern will be that at this point MSoft will shift focus to Panos Surface phone and just like WinRT i will have the same taste in my mouth.   It did make laugh reading earlier that they said WM would be supported till 2019. Apparently WinRT is also still being supported as well - maybe life support.     
  • There are three things I'm excited about this new Lumia. The camera, continuum and iris scanner. Come one Microsoft, hurry up sell this Lumia to Malaysians.
  • All of those features are cool...the iris scanner needs improvement with distance and recognition. It will get better with time but it's too so so for what it could be.
  • Pro tip when using Windows Hello on the phone:  1. Make your eyes as open as possible when you set it up 2. Improve Windows Hello several times in diffrent light and angles 3. On 1 and 2, keep staring into the red IR light. Really, stare as hell into it.  Now it should work better than ever. I know people who can unlock their phone with Hello on an arms lenght when they stare into it with eyes as open as possible when setting it up. It makes all the difference to teach Hello to really know what your eyes look like, also in diffrerent settings.  It will make it work faster and better, and even longer away from your face. And I guess everyone has a second to spare when opening the phone. You can always use a pin or nothing at all. It worked before, and it will surey work now. 
  • I get better luck looking at the microsoft logo/center top of the phone.
  • Looking into the camera is where we should look. The camera is what recognizes our eyes. A lot of failures with iris scanning is simply due to people looking in the wrong direction and not at the camera. This tip isn't just for Windows Hello, but iris scanning in general. If we are looking at the IR light or the screen, the camera is going to see more of the side of our eyes but will try its best to get a good scan, taking longer to recognize our iris. When you looked at the Microsoft logo, you are close to looking into the camera as it is next to the logo and thus you had better results. If we look directly into the camera during setup and directly when using Windows Hello, we will have better accuracy. Just like with fingerprint scanners, they work better when your finger is directly touching the surface and are less reliable when your finger touches it from the side, top or bottom. Just think, when setting up hello, you are using the front facing camera, remember that it is the camera that needs to see your eyes directly and all will be well.
  • Wow.. Thanks for the tips
  • You forgot