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More Information On Windows Phone Continuum Released



The leak of the forthcoming Windows 10 flagship phones, codenamed Cityman and Talkman, earlier this week raised some questions as more information was extracted from sources. Unleashthephones.com was the original source of the leak, with The Verge following up with confirmation that the phones existed, if not the specs, shortly after. 

One particular part of the original leak caught the eye of Windows Phone site WMPoweruser, who extrapolated the larger Cityman's hardware support for Continuum as being an indication that the Talkman would not support Continuum - and therefore it wouldn't be a Windows 10 wide solution. 

As a result they extracted a statement from Microsoft which gives more clarity on how Continuum will work.
The ability to support a second screen through a micro hdmi or a docking station will require new hardware. Ability to support a second physical screen is something the latest processors enable. Connection to a keyboard and mouse would be by Bluetooth.
The Continuum feature will be on Windows Mobile devices but we haven’t announced yet details of all the ways you can take advantage of it.
So, physical connection to a second screen will require a phone with micro HDMI or a docking station. That sounds pretty straightforward and does support the case for wired monitor connections requiring specific hardware. No mention of MHL, which would seem a more logical choice than adding a micro HDMI port, but that may just be a case of semantics, MHL technically being a form of micro HDMI connection.

All phones will connect to a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, as Microsoft has added the HID profile into the core Bluetooth component of Windows 10 phones. However, most current Windows Phone devices include Miracast support so this is probably going to be the most common way of using Continuum - wireless to screen, mouse and keyboard. The final sentence of Microsoft's statement clearly hints at this.

What is missing from this statement, but included in the Microsoft Hardware Dev Documentation is support for USB-OTG, allowing Windows 10 phones to support wired connections. Here's the relevant information:
  • Enable customers who will most likely own a mobile device, such as a smart phone for all their work. This feature will allow improved productivity in a wired docking scenario, where a mobile device docks and thus hosts peripheral devices.
So, looks like Continuum will work on most recent Windows Phone 8 devices once upgraded and all future phones. I expect the difference will amount to the type of connections used and how many screens can be displayed.

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