Redmond View

Will Continuum Revitalize Windows Phone?

Microsoft is hoping that the Windows 10 mobile feature gives the struggling platform a shot in the arm.

The launch of Windows 10 devices last month gave Microsoft the opportunity to make its latest case for choosing a smartphone running the OS. In a word it's "Continuum." Is it possible Continuum emerges as the secret sauce that gives Windows new lease on life in a market where it now has a meager 2.5 percent share of the smartphone space?

Continuum debuted with the new Lumia 950XL and Lumia 950 phones, along with some other innovative features such as a dual antenna that improves call reliability and the Surface liquid cooling technology.

Microsoft has talked up Continuum as a key feature in Windows 10 mobile and the company has added a new docking accessory that you connect your phone to a keyboard, monitor and mouse. Continuum gives the phone the functionality of a PC, albeit not the most powerful one.

At first glance, you may wonder why anyone would want to connect their phone to a keyboard monitor and mouse. In remarks at last month's launch, CEO Satya Nadella gave one reason. "In developing markets, your phone can be your first or your only computing device," Nadella said, adding it gives "you both a phone- and a PC-like experience in a single device."

The jury is still out on Continuum but Lumias (and Windows-based devices overall) will have better prospects if Universal Windows Platform apps appear en masse. Microsoft announced the Lumias are coming with Facebook, Uber and CVS. Yet until people can get pretty much all the apps they can get on their iPhones or Android phones, it's going to remain an uphill battle. At the same time, Microsoft should keep up the good fight.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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