Bringing back the Pocket PC

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As another year unfolds quicker than we would all like, the device events roll on just as quickly. MWC saw some cool releases from Samsung and the Galaxy series, and even Apple’s latest “SE” release that has people talking for the wrong reasons.

One common theme is prevalent: the consumer market’s thirst for innovation has not been quenched or held at bay for another 12 months. It’s obvious from the countless tech reviews for latest devices, there is still a lot left in the ‘desired’ column.

As a consumer and gadget addict, I too thirst for that elusive ‘perfect’ phone, but I know that doesn’t exist just yet, so for now, so I’ll continue to hold out for the rumoured Surface Phone to be the answer to all my desires! This concept is still my fave:

What about innovation for 2016? What have the handset manufacturers and visionaries delivered for us to use now? Sadly, not much.

Although, one piece of innovation that is not getting nearly enough kudos for its innovation is one particular feature of the Windows Phone 10 releases (namely Lumia 950 and 950XL).

Don’t get me wrong, the Windows Phone platform is still a work in progress, BUT, have you heard of Continuum for Windows Phone? I’ll bet not.

Continuum builds, nay, relies on Windows Phone’s latest Operating System, Windows Phone 10 and a combination of the latest hardware from the usual contributors. Combined with industry standard connectivity (Miracast and Bluetooth) and Microsoft’s vision and execution on “one platform” across devices by means of Windows 10 Universal Apps, Continuum is the best piece of innovation for 2016.

So what is this Continuum I speak of? Well here is Microsoft’s definition:

Get PC-like productivity that fits in your pocket

Get real work done or browse the web, while still using your phone to talk, text, and tweet. Use Continuum on your Windows 10 phone to power or project to a second screen—and even connect a keyboard and mouse.

So basically, you can have a PC-like experience powered by your phone. Literally. The new phone range as mentioned above IS your PC. It remains true to its ‘phone’ capability, but has enough grunt to power a second screen wirelessly and to run Windows 10 Universal Apps like Mail, the Office suite, Edge browser and many, many more.

Simply launch the Contiuum app on your phone and select wired or wireless connectivity to your display. Yes, if you do not have a Miracast enabled display, you can purchase the Microsoft Display Dock (more on this later) and then pair a wireless/Bluetooth keyboard and mouse to your phone to enable the full experience.

So essentially, your business or your home office setup could consist of your Lumia 950 or 950XL a Miracast enabled display and a wireless keyboard and mouse!

The experience is just like that of using the Universal apps on your Windows 10 PC or notebook with rich client features across the offering!

Now, what if you don’t have a Miracast enabled screen? Or you only have wired peripherals? You have options!

Firstly, most modern displays have HDMI connectivity. So you can leverage a 3rd party Miracast dongle to provide wireless Miracast connectivity to your display. You could also look to the Microsoft accessory stack and pick up the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter to provide Miracast for your tired ol’ display – its very light and portable, so could easily drop in your bag as a back up strategy.

Next, ensure you have a Wireless keyboard and mouse, paired to your Lumia 950/XL. I’ve chosen the Microsoft Universal Folding Bluetooth Keyboard and the Arc Touch Bluetooth Mouse.

So, instead of carrying a full laptop and laptop charger and plethora of display dongles this line-up is the pocket PC coming back into full effect, now:

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Secondly, the wired option that incorporates the Microsoft Display Dock. This not only gives you Continuum connectivity where there is no Miracast, but it also gives you additional USB ports for wired keyboard/mouse and/or any content you need to use from a USB disk key.

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All in all, a pretty decent “pocket PC” with a competent experience for any type of mobile user, particularly of the mobile workforce that is weight and accessory conscious!

Adding to this, there are other players in the market that are seeing the value of Continuum and this whole “Windows 10” thing that Microsoft keeps banging on about: HP Inc.

At the 2016 MWC event in Barcelona, HP unveiled a new device strategy that completely depends on Continuum for Windows 10 mobile – the new HP Elite X3.

Watch HP’s mobile strategy unfold here.

What needs to continue is the slow, but ongoing, development of Windows 10 Universal Apps by the major app brands to ensure the success of this platform through adoption. The app-gap is not a new complaint for the Windows mobile platform, however with over 200+ million users now on Windows 10 and some heavy hitters committing to Windows 10 app development, I think the future of Windows mobile is bright.

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