Tag Archive | "continuum"

Discounted Lumia 950 XL is not enough. Analysis and LumiaBook proposal.

The Lumia 950 XL is 400 Euro in Europe now and offers a lot of hardware and features for the money but is it worth buying or should you completely ignore it? My analysis says ‘move on’ as I struggle to find any type of target customer – and that includes cameraphone fans. What next for Lumia and Windows Mobile? The LumiaBook?P1300016

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Windows Home, UWP at risk as Microsoft steps out of consumer phone market.

Does the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) and, ultimately, Windows Home have a future now that Microsoft are stopping development work on consumer phones? I think there’s a domino effect about to happen over the next 24 months that will see the consumer laptop market turn away from Windows Home and I don’t see a way that anyone can stop it. UWP is then left spreading awkwardly across gaming (Xbox) and business (PCs.)  UWP is at risk. Continuum too. Standing on the sideline is Chrome OS and the Google Play Store. I think it really is time-up for Windows in the consumer space.

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What can you do with Continuum on the Lumix 950 XL? (Detailed test.)

Continuum on the Lumia 950 LX is a bit awkward. You think you’re actually using Windows 10 desktop and then the bits of the UI you were expecting aren’t there. Neither are floating apps, Gigabit Ethernet USB dongle support and, the one that keeps catching me out, my taskbar with the Google Chrome icon. It’s not that fast either but here I am. on a Lumia 950 XL connected to my full HD screen, keyboard and mouse via the  docking station writing this article. I’m using the Edge browser access my WordPress back-end and it’s not bad. I’m writing without any sort of latency between key-press and characters appearing on the screen and I feel like I’m using a desktop quality browser. Here, let me grab a screenshot using the Windows key and the Print Screen button on my USB-connected keyboard.


That screenshot was as easy as it is on a Windows PC. As I move to try to right-click on the suggested word corrections I’m met with a block. I can’t find any way to auto-correct the underlined words and now I’m annoyed. Oh wait, there they are, showing up on the bottom of the phone screen, way out of my view and absolutely useless as I have to take a hand off the keyboard to use them.

It’s things like this that will really annoy the average Windows 10 user trying to get to grips with Continuum and that’s not all. Consider the 950 XL, one of the most powerful smartphones on the market, as a poor performer when it comes to desktop operations. Expectations are high as you communicate through what you think is Windows 10 desktop but when things slow down, you feel like you’re on a 2010 netbook. As I start-up Groove Music and Twitter the experience degrades to frustrating. The scroll button on the mouse has stopped working, my background music has stopped too. Groove Music crashed.

I’m using Windows 10 version 10.0.10586 here and I don’t really know if its Windows 10 that’s the problem or the Lumia 950 XL which was heavily criticized for instability when it launched. I’ll carry on. I’ll continue to work through a number of ‘situations’ and report as I go along.

YouTube (Via Edge browser.)

Before I start I save my draft here and check my Internet speed via Speedtest which downloads easily through the Store. It doesn’t open on my desktop screen as it doesn’t support Continuum but having the phone as a second screen allows me to continue writing here as it performs the test. 15 Mbps down, 5 Mbps up. No issues there. Big Buck Bunny at 1080p is quick to load and quick to reach a full buffer and 1080 playback resolution. Perfect. Searching on the YouTube website is quick. The 1080p 60 fps version works smoothly too. At the end of the test I feel like I’m on a slow laptop with a good video decoder, a bit like the experience you get on the cheap Windows 10 tablets, which, it has to be mentioned, are cheaper than this Lumia 950 XL

Google Docs (Via Edge Browser)

As I access Google Docs everything looks OK. I switch quickly between two docs and the web app stops responding. It’s crashed the tab. I try again and discover that the trick is to wait until the document is completely loaded before trying to edit. That can take 10-20 seconds which isn’t good if you’ve got something you want to edit.

Powerpoint with Groove Music

I’m using the Powerpoint Mobile and Groove Music apps and editing a recent Powerpoint. Editing works smoothly (smoother than I expected) as does sideshow playback. Success, at least in this short test. I assume Excel and Word Mobile will work without performance issues on smaller files.

Lumia 950 XL heat.

A quick heat check at this stage reveals something more than skin temperature. It’s getting warm under the 950 XL. I wish I had access to task manager to check CPU usage but that’s not possible. Groove and Tweetium are still running in the background.

Google Analytics.

This very heavy web-based application works well. It’s slower than on my Ultrabook but still usable; possibly faster than a Windows 10 tablet. Impressive. Groove Music still running in the background.

Photo Editing.

I have some problems here. The built-in editing apps don’t support Continuum so my only choice is to pick up the phone and edit using apps there. I try OneDrive in the browser but it’s slow. I give up with the ‘not responding’ tab. This is a big disappointment that I’ll have to track, unless you have tips.

Radio Streaming.

I’m so pleased that TuneIn have finally updated their Windows Store radio streaming app. The old one was broken in a big way but the new one works well. 100% success as I access my favorite streams. 7 streams from my playlist worked quickly and fuss-free.

News reading.

I’ve had some issues with the Bing News app in the past but the curation in my region (English, UK) has improved recently. Nextgen, my choice for RSS feeds, doesn’t work on Continuum. I switch to my Google News account and it’s smoother than I expect.

My apps that don’t work.

I have 71 apps on my Lumia 950 XL. 30 of those don’t support Continuum but of the 41 apps that support continuum only 7 are third-party apps and only 3 of those (TuneIn, Xing and Tweetium) are apps that I believe are truly independant of Microsoft’s partnerships and subsidies. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, for example, are apps that are likely to have been supported by Microsoft. Note that Netflix does not work in Continuum mode. Even Microsoft’s Skype doesn’t work in Continuum although I admit there’s an issue of camera positioning there.

Gaming in Continuum

The only game I’ve downloaded so far is Asphalt 8 Airborne and that doesn’t work on the big screen. As I write this I’m downloading games…

Only three of the top ten games in the Store are PC capable. Candy Crush Soda Saga, one of the ‘PC games’ works on the big screen, the others don’t. There’s no ‘Continuum Enabled’ section of the Store and if you search for “continuum” you’ll find one company, Academ Media, dominating the search results due to titles that include the word ‘continuum’. The games I tried worked but were very basic. Some were fun and at least it’s an indication that someone is working on Continuum-enabled games.

I conclude here with one major recommendation to Microsoft – You need to include a Continuum-enabled filter in the Store.



I’m now 2 hours into this article and the Microsoft 950 XL isn’t any warmer than it was an hour ago. It’s being charged as it provides data through the USB-C port and this WordPress browser tab on Edge is stable and working well. No problems with Edge. I noticed some latency as I downloaded a series of 20+ apps but that’s to be expected on this low-end PC.

As I finalise this article everything appears to have locked up. Wait…it’s back. Mouse scrolling wasn’t working and that’s something that has happened again and again through this test across the browser and across Windows Store apps but…

Summary of Continuum.

In my 3 hour test Windows Continuum and Continuum enabled apps worked well. I was really, really annoyed at the lack of photo-editing ability and surprised that Microsoft hasn’t enabled a ‘Continuum enabled’ section in the Windows Store. I was annoyed at the lack of split-screen Continuum apps and, Microsoft, I don’t want to be looking at my phone as part of my desktop UI.

Windows 10 has, in general, a big problem with app quantity and quality and it’s very obvious in Continuum mode where popular apps don’t work.

Final note: I could not find a way to upload camera images via SD card to the 950 XL. These images were uploaded via the WordPress website and it took way too long. Everything you see, however, was created using the Lumia 950 XL in Continuum mode on a Full HD screen with USB keyboard and mouse. It wasn’t a barrier-free experience but faster and smoother than I had expected.

There’s SO MUCH POTENTIAL here but, alas, SO FEW APPS. Performance is easy to solve, The app problem is a bigger one.














HP Elite X3 and the Continuum showcase.

10 years ago today I posted a set of blog posts about the need for a 5-7 inch mobile internet device. The Carrypad Journal covered the early days of the Windows tablet, the growth of consumer tablets and the evolution of mobile productivity. It’s a pleasure to be writing about a very intresting new product from HP today. The HP Elite X3.

HP Elite X3 and Continuum laptop

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Testing Windows 10 Continuum over Miracast…on a very big screen! Video Demo.

Testing Windows 10 Continuum has been something I’ve wanted to do since, well, the second it was announced. Today I got to play with the Microsoft Lumia 950 XL and I took the opportunity to get it running over Miracast for a completely wireless Windows 10 Mobile, extended screen experience. For someone like me, interested in highly integrated mobile computers, this was a groundbreaking moment.

Testing Continuum over Miracast. (Video below.)

Testing Continuum over Miracast. (Video below.)

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Combining Win10, UWP, OneDrive, Continuum, ARM and Intel in one productive demo.

I demonstrated an interesting setup at an event in Germany this week. It’s a PowerPoint presentation created on an Intel Compute Stick. It’s updated to Windows 10 and running Office Mobile. OneDrive keeps multiple devices in sync and Miracast is used for the presentation. I’ve reproduced the demo in a video below.

Two 'PCs' and a wireless receiver.

Two ‘PCs’ and a wireless receiver.

The Powerpoint app also runs on an Ultrabook and gets updated live after editing on the Compute Stick. I then take a Windows 10 Mobile Lumia (a cheap one) and cast the same file, using the same Windows 10 app, to a big screen. It’s a complex demo but it’s a really interesting one because it shows that you can indeed get productive with a low-end Atom-based stick using Windows 10 Universal apps. It also shows what is going to be possible with Windows 10 Mobile phones when Continuum is available. You might not need the PC at all!

Miracast is used for the wireless display from the phone but with Continuum-enabled phones you’ll also get HDMI or DisplayPort over a USB-C connector. You could also substitute the phone for a pen-enabled tablet if you wanted to annotate. Again, Miracast would be possible if you wanted untethered use.

Universal Apps, cloud-sync and Continuum are going to enable some interesting usage models. Watch the video and let me know your thoughts below.

Devices used:

  • Intel Compute Stick upgraded to Windows 10 (€120)
  • Logitec K400 wireless USB keyboard with trackpad (€30)
  • Actiontec Screenbeam Pro updated to V1.3.4.0 firmware (€60)
  • Lumia 830 running Windows 10 (beta) (€250)
  • Microsoft Powerpoint Mobile. Free.
  • OneDrive cloud-based storage. Free.

UWP and Continuum update. Will current Lumia phones work?

andromiumAfter learning that the Amtran barebones laptop had been used on-stage at BUILD this year I tracked down the relevant presentation and am pleased that I did.  There’s some really good information about Continuum in there along with some excellent demos.  Important things to note are the Miracast continuum demo, which doesn’t need a physical video connector, and the projection mode, again, something that Miracast is perfect for.  There’s also a Continuum control application that works as a touchpad for a remote screen.

Microsoft already have a set of UWP apps that are available via PCs but as soon as Windows 10 hits smartphones there’s going to be an opportunity to enjoy a new type of ultramobile computing…or is there? Indications are that new smartphone hardware is needed to enable Continuum features.

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IFA 2015 – One piece missing.

IFA 2015 was as fun and as busy as ever. I managed to get quality hands-on time with a lot of new ultramobile PCs (mostly without the pressure of press-event chaos) and had some great conversations, both public and private, with companies working in the sector. Thanks to Intel for their blogging facilities and an amazing party, Acer for the bright and spacious video-friendly booth and Microsoft for a good evening of networking. Having said that, I didn’t see what I wanted to see.

Deichkind perform at the Intel hall, IFA 2015

Deichkind perform at the Intel hall, IFA 2015

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The Continuum Laptop.

Last week I wrote about the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) and how it could drive adoption of the Windows 10 Mobile ‘smartphone’ as a core computing device for all consumer needs, whatever the screen-size or input method. The Lumia 950 rumor and that image of the USB-C dock brought back memories of the Continuum demo at BUILD 2015 and it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see that extending into barebones laptops driven by Windows 10 Mobile devices. At IFA I saw another interesting accessory. It’s not a smartbook but could be a smartphone-book. A phab-book perhaps. OK, I’m still working on the name!


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Lumia 950, UWP and Continuum. Mind-blowing potential.

Ultramobile computing fans, we have an ARM-based ‘phone’ product here that we need to watch very carefully. The Lumia 950 and 950 XL are likely to be the first Continuum-showcase Windows 10 phones. If you don’t know what Continuum is yet, see this post. The Lumia 950 will connect to a screen via USB-C, while charging, and allow you to run those Universal Apps as large screen optimized experiences. This is what the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) is all about and if developers see the potential here then the apps could really start to flow. Here are my thoughts.

Lumia 950 XL

You’re looking at a phone with hidden talent. To distill my explanation into a picture, look at this…

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Post-PC is Windows 10 and a fading desktop, UWP success.

With Windows 10 comes a potentially huge change in the way that the 5-10 inch consumer computing category will be addressed by manufacturers. As in the Windows 8 era, manufacturers can still choose between ARM and x86 options, desktop and no-desktop options but this time round there’s the possibility of crossover. If the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) is a success then why not allow Windows 10 Mobile tablets to compete with large Windows tablets and small laptops? The inclusion of ARM in this segment could increase competition and lower prices which is a bonus for Microsoft. It could also reduce the desire for a ‘desktop’ and puts consumer Windows devices at risk from competing post-desktop products.

 The Universal Windows Platform

The Universal Windows Platform

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Post-PC, ultra-mobile PC and very, very disruptive. The Windows 10 Continuum demo at BUILD 2015 was mind-blowing.

It took 9 years of waiting and 2.5 hours of keynote to get there. Microsoft just demonstrated the ultimate ultra-mobile, cross-platform PC experience – A combination of Windows 10, Universal Apps and Continuum on a phone running a Universal app that adapts the UI as it moves from phone to big-screen.  One device, one OS, one app, multiple screens. If this strategy works then it’s likely to mean the death of the consumer Windows Desktop and completely change the consumer PC market. It also opens up the desktop screen to ARM-based devices. There’s a lot to think about here.

continuum 4_edited

HDMI-connected screen on a phone…

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