Skip to main content

Continuum Is Not The Mobile Differentiator Microsoft Is Looking For


Microsoft, HP and Acer have all announced – and in some cases shipped - Windows 10 Mobiles supporting Continuum. Microsoft is pushing this as Windows Mobile’s unique selling point as far as the enterprise is concerned.

It’s a good line – the phone that can replace your laptop – but even given the current state of Continuum, with limited support and erratic performance it’s more than a little distance from the truth.

However if we assume that Microsoft is able to make Continuum support ubiquitous and perform acceptably well (and given’s Intel’s cessation of the Atom mobile processor range that isn’t a given) does Continuum actually offer the flexibility and capability that would encourage broad enterprise adoption?

I don’t think it does.

Enterprise adoption on the basis of Continuum would suggest the replacement of another device, presumably a laptop. That doesn’t sound realistic at all. Yes we’ve seen journalists and bloggers with very limited use cases claiming the ability to work exclusively on an iPad, but for real world workers the flexibility and capability of a laptop is key. For that time that you need to update a document on the train or plane, is a smartphone – even the 6” screen of the HP Elite X3 – going to cut it? And once you’re carrying your laptop for these eventualities are you going to bother with your Continuum dock as well?

The niche set of use cases where a phone can replace a laptop are so narrow as to be pointless chasing. Otherwise you can be sure that at least one Android OEM would have been there first. Don’t forget that Android phones have had USB OTG and MHL for wired video out for years. Those features have been so ‘heavily’ used that most OEMs are removing them from new phones.

If Continuum is a dead end street, where is the value in Windows 10 Mobile? Actually its in the interface, the look and feel and the user experience. Windows Phones have historically been famous for their ability to make even the most inadequate of hardware perform beautifully. Which is why low end Lumias have sold so well. Android just can’t compete and Apple doesn’t even try.

Microsoft’s value proposition and choice were paying dividends up until the point where the company changed track. Phones may not have been profitable, but as a latecomer to the market trying to build market share against entrenched incumbents that’s hardly surprising. The plan was starting to see success and then Microsoft killed it.

The new plan is to sell fewer models of more profitable phones. That can only work if the negative noise about Windows Mobile’s app gap disappears. That can only work if users are keen to upgrade from lower end Windows handsets and that can only work if Microsoft is seen to be unequivocally behind its mobile platform.

None of those are true at the moment and the window of opportunity to make them true – especially the last one – is closing fast.


Popular posts from this blog

F1: Robert Kubica Impresses In Renault Test Run

The car may be old but its the performance of the driver that's the story here. Robert Kubica returned to F1, after a fashion, earlier this week with an extensive test run in a 2012 Lotus Renault F1 car at Valencia.
The age of the car and the circuit were likely determined by F1's current rules which ban testing, but the reason for Kubica being in the car is far more interesting. Considered by many to be a potential World Champion and certainly one of the fastest drivers of his generation, Kubica's F1 career seemed to be over after a 2011 crash whilst driving in the Rally of Andora. His Skoda Fabia was penetrated by a guardrail in the high speed accident partially severing his right arm.
Up until last year Kubica has been competing in rallying, with the expectation that the limited movement in his repaired arm would prohibit a return to single seater racing.
So this week's test is both interesting and confusing. Interesting because Kubica completed 115 laps of the ret…

F1: Robert Kubica's Williams Test Asks More Questions Than It Answers

Comparing driver's times at a tyre evaluation test like last week's Abu Dhabi event is difficult at the best of times, but when trying to assess the performance of a driver who has been out of the sport for six years, that difficulty level is raised even higher.
On the face of it Robert Kubica's test for Williams was a success. Fastest of the three Williams drivers present the headlines look promising. However, taking into consideration the different tyres used to set those times muddies the water considerably.
Kubica ran a three lap qualifying simulation on the new 'hyper-soft' tyre - which should have given him a two-second advantage. Correcting for tyres it would appear that Kubica was significantly slower than Sergei Sorotkin - who was on the harder 'soft' tyre - and marginally quicker than Lance Stroll, the team's only contracted driver.

Stroll's family fortune currently funds Williams, so there' no chance that he will be anywhere but in a…

Panos Panay's Defence Of Microsoft Surface Hardware Sounds Eerily Familiar

This weekend I went out with my ten year old daughter to select a laptop for her school year beginning in January. The schools requirements are quite specific, requiring a Windows 10 device, with a preference for a touchscreen and a stylus. She chose a Surface Pro, after trying a large number of different options. Having seen the way I use my own Surface Pro - and tried it herself there was only ever going to be two options - and the other was a Surface Laptop.
I tell you this so that you understand I am a buyer of Microsoft's products through choice, not compulsion. I'm on my third Surface device now. 
So when Panos Panay dismissed reports of the death of the Surface hardware line, I was very interested to see exactly how strong these denials were. Especially how they reflect what has gone before. To whit: Windows 10 Mobile.
Panay claimed that Microsoft is in hardware for the long haul. Almost exactly mirroring the words of Terry Myerson, when he claimed Windows Mobile was g…