Microsoft has revealed a new Windows 10 feature to allow smartphone owners to hook their device up to a monitor and receive a ‘almost a full PC experience.’
At the Build 2015 conference, Microsoft expanded upon its Continuum feature, which had previously only been announced for tablets.
Now the company says the next generation of Windows 10 phones can also be paired with monitors, keyboards and mice for those times when a touchscreen just won’t cut it.
The Continuum feature will make further use the firm’s Universal apps, so software like Outlook will scale up for PC-like experience with folders on the left, messages in the middle and previews on the right. Replies can be sent using Word formatting tools (Excel and PowerPoint are also compatible) and keyboard shortcuts will still work.
The functionality will be useful for those who, for example, wish to make changes to a PowerPoint presentation without faffing about with their phone’s touchscreen.
Microsoft’s Windows boss Joe Belifore also used the example of connecting a smartphone up to the TV screen in a hotel room as a means of showing off vacation photos and playing videos.
The connection will all be done wirelessly, thanks to the common code that sits within Windows 10 devices, while new processors from Qualcomm will be capable of driving two screens at a time.
In this instance the phone screen will run independently of the PC screen, meaning users will be able to manage their email while watching movies on the larger screen.
Belifore claims Continuum is more advanced than other attempts at cross-device syncing, such as Apple’s Continuity, which enables users to move tasks between the iPhone and the Mac.
“In those case you have a phone running phone apps,” Belifore said, “but those phone apps were never designed to work with a mouse, keyboard and large screen.
“With Universal apps in Windows 10, software developers are writing their apps for the PC and the phone. And when those apps are run with a mouse and keyboard, they work exactly the way users expect.”
Continuum-compatible phones will be available after Windows 10 becomes available this summer.