This little box turns your smartphone into computer


Windows 10 takes a further step towards the cross “multi-platform” sought by Microsoft for many years. Finally smartphone and tablet manufacturer, the US software giant has released the Display Dock that turns your computer into a phone. So promises?

If you are a heavy smartphone user, as much for entertainment as for more productive tasks, then this case is for you.

Microsoft’s Dock Display enables latest smartphones of the mark (for now, only the Lumia 950 and 950 XL for Windows Mobile 10) to be connected to a monitor, keyboard and mouse to serve as a computer. It activates what Microsoft calls the Continuum mode.

The US software giant then goes one step further in the cross of Windows 10, an operating system that dreams of being completely identical on all platforms (PC, smartphone, tablet, shows, games console, headphones, etc … ).

If there is still work, the existence of this little box to the metal luxurious finish should be considered as a prelude ..


What looks like the Display Dock?

The Display Dock, the size of a small ashtray is equipped, at the rear, three USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI port (for connection to a TV or monitor), a USB Type-C (the new standard) for food and a DisplayPort. At the front, there is a USB Type-C, to connect your smartphone.

In theory, everything could be done without housing, and wireless, provided that your TV is compatible with Miracast or Bluetooth standard, and that you can connect a keyboard and mouse. But this is another story.

Once you have connected devices, magic, turns your Lumia 950 (more or less) computer running Windows 10. On the TV screen or monitor, and we found the office and the buttons on the Microsoft OS and a lighter version of the Start menu.

In reality, this menu changes to the Home screen of your smartphone, applications can run in this mode ‘Continuum’ is brilliant, the others being clouded.


Only part of the phone applications

Forget the game Candy Crush Saga and think rather applications Mail, Calendar, Word, Excel, etc … that will run in the version ‘mobile’. In reality, it is the same version as the smartphone, but with a display adapted to the screen: it is the result of the work of the ‘continuum’ of Windows. The result is surprisingly good (we wrote a Word document without worry).

It is of course possible to launch the Edge browser, and go watch a YouTube video, for example. The browser displays the “computer” release – not mobile – web sites (in the case of the RTL info, for example). Convenient.

You can also view your photos and videos in full screen gallery.

Microsoft is “working to support a greater number of applications,” so there are few surprises: Twitter can not Continuum in open mode, but Facebook.


No ‘windows’ traditional

These compliant applications do not open as traditional windows, that could reduce or close as under normal version of Windows 10.

Logical, because any part of the smartphone: applications are full screen and there are “previous” buttons and “multitasking” to navigate between open applications (photo below).


How to control it?

To fully enjoy this Continuum mode, simply connect a keyboard and mouse via USB, or better, use a wireless kit with a mini USB dongle. Surprise: our our mouse and keyboard Logitech wireless (with the Unifying dongle) were used immediately without any installation (yet they are “old” more than three years).

During that time, the smartphone remains fully accessible: its screen, its applications and phone functions / SMS are available as needed. You can phone while working. And besides, your Lumia 950 or 950 XL is recharged.

You can also press “monitor screen” that appears at the top, to transform the smartphone into a touch pad (for the mouse) and / or tactile keyboard. But we lose the interest of the principle ‘workstation’.


So promises kept? Yes, you could say. It is now possible to go from a Windows computer at home by connecting your smartphone to a TV set and a keyboard / mouse, using the Display Dock, a small box to the fine finish sold € 99 ( but is offered with the Lumia 950 XL on the website of Microsoft Belgium). The idea is very appealing, and when the system will be successful, some will clearly be able to save money by moving from a home PC.

Because right now, there are two caveats: all applications are not available in this manual called Continuum. Microsoft has focused initially on those most in need of a large screen, a keyboard and mouse to work best: the Office suite (Word, Excel, etc.), application Mail for email, calendar management, etc. Some applications, such as those for playing streaming videos, are not (yet) available. We imagine that developers should add a few lines of code for this to be the case.

Another downside: Windows 10 for mobile is so far, unfortunately, still limited by the amount and quality of the applications available on its ‘store’. Among those that already exist, such as Facebook or Netflix, we deplore inferior to Android and iOS, and even an encoding problem for unlimited video services (it is not known watch movies or series …). And we can not count the missing applications store, because developers do not bother to devote time and money: Nest, Instagram (beta), YouTube, Sonos, some banking applications and many games . One can understand them: Android and iOS occupy about 90% market … Learn so before moving to Microsoft’s smartphones.

But know that behind Continuum hides a damn good idea …


About the author

Paul Morris

Paul Morris is an entrepreneur, consultant and author. He is an advisor at Xpert Automation, a tech-based business incubator focused on scalable startups, and founder of ContentFy.


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