Windows Phone 10–Continuum and Remote Desktop Combo is Huge

Being a Windows Phone user I was pretty excited when the Continuum feature started getting demonstrated. But the sceptic inside me kept nagging at me that it’s probably going to be more gimmick than substance. A chance conversation at Microsoft Ignite Australia has changed my opinion and got me excited again.

A reminder about what Continuum is:

Continuum for Windows phones lets you turn your phone into a PC-like experience by connecting an external display, keyboard, and mouse using the new Microsoft Display Dock. The experience on the phone (start screen, calls etc) remains completely independent of the PC-like experience on the external display.


The Continuum magic is only supported by the new Universal Windows Apps (primarily Microsoft Apps to start with, e.g. Office/Mail/Calendar). This is the bit that the sceptic in me initially thought great feature, but who’s going to build the apps to support it.

The phone (via the dock) is capable of driving a single HDMI display and apps scale up to use a high resolution on the external monitor.

The real light bulb moment happened during a conversation when it was mentioned that a remote desktop app that supported Continuum was not only in the pipeline but I was able to get a demonstration. This is epic, as my development machines are all virtual (some on premises at the office and others in Azure). What this would mean for me is that I could plug my phone in to get the Continuum PC like experience, then start a remote desktop session to one of my development machines and start coding with very much the same experience I would have on a beefy laptop. The only drawback from the specs of been reading is that you can’t drive 2 external displays from the dock (but for those occasions that you would use it you’re probably not carrying around dual displays!)

Also worth noting is the demo kit that I saw was using the wireless dock. No cords at all; phone, dock, mouse, keyboard, display all in close proximity but not a cord in sight.

Update (16 Dec 2015)

A Microsoft forum moderator has posted this information

“We’ve heard a lot of buzz around being able to connect to a remote desktop from Continuum for phone. We are excited to share that the Remote Desktop Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app will be released very soon in Technical Preview. We are very interested in hearing more from remote desktop users to help prioritize investments in this much-requested app. How do you intend to use it on Continuum for phone? What apps will you run and what tasks will you do? In what environments or scenarios will you use it?”

Further Reading:

Update (13 Jan 2016) – The Preview of Remote Desktop Universal App is Here

Remote Desktop Preview now available on Windows 10 Mobile and Continuum

About Cameron Dwyer

Architect and developer at OnePlace Solutions. Passionate about delivering compelling solutions on the Office 365/SharePoint platform. Addicted to coffee.

Posted on December 1, 2015, in Windows, Windows Phone and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Got my lumia 950 yesterday. Loving it. Continuum runs very smoothly (have been playing with it wirelessly), and even though there aren’t a lot of apps yet, you can stream a lot of content through the Edge browser just fine. I also installed the Remote Desktop app (which should be standard), and despite it being well written, it’s not Continuum-compatible yet. That’s my biggest disappointment. I was also slightly disappointed that the 950XL is being promoted with a free display dock, but it’s not even discounted for the 950, meaning if you want it, you’ll have to pay the same amount and get slightly less. Even so, I prefer the smaller handset.
    Also… the Halo: Spartan Assault and Halo: Spartan Strike games aren’t Continuum compatible either. Grrr

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your comments. I’m looking to make the jump to a 950 soon, so it’s good to hear some real world user stories. Let me know if you find anything else about it good/bad. Thanks.


  2. Glad to hear remote desktop is in the works for use with continuum. I have the 950-XL and have connected wirelessly and with dock and both work well although slightly quicker response with dock. I also tried Citrix to access applications through edge browser but could not get it to display to the screen. I am not sure if that is an issue with Continuum or Citrix compatibility with Edge. Did they provide any timeline on using remote desktop? Hopefully they get it soon. It would be a real boost.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Generally speaking, the naysayers concerning Continuum are idiots; they think only in terms of Apps running ON a device. How 20th century…

    The correct understanding of Continuum positions the device as a UI concentrator – a “locus” of the user’s attention and action – the ultimate smart terminal – with the guts of the app wherever it needs to be to have the resources it needs to run. Maybe on the device. Maybe not.

    The continuum device doesn’t need to be as powerful as the most powerful workstation to be useful – it only needs to give you ACCESS to the power of that workstation. Or that mainframe. Or whatever. And otherwise do the best it can.

    In that context: I’ve got a 950xl which I like a lot – and had an opportunity to put Continuum to good use when a planned half hour stop at a site turned into an all-day wait. I had the folding kb, mouse and wireless display unit with me and was able to do useful work – I call that a successful unplanned test. Given general web access and logging into the O365 portal I had most of what I need… except… remote desktop. If I’d had that I could have done 90% or more of my job on Continuum.

    Point is: Continuum has already proven useful, given a remote desktop app it will become indispensable.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The preview of the Remote Desktop Windows 10 (Universal) App mentioned in this article is now available. Please see this post from Microsoft:

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for the update Cameron – the preview is working great so far🙂


  6. I’ve tried TeamViewer with continuum. It works well and for the moment live is going on without remote desktop 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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