When Microsoft announced Continuum, we knew the new generation of Windows Phones can turn into instant desktop computers when plugged into a display. Apparently, though, it’s not quite as straightforward as simply hooking up a phone to the TV’s HDMI port. Instead, you’ll need the Microsoft Display Dock as a go-between.
Designed to serve as a docking hub, the device connects to your phone via USB-C, charging it while transferring data at the same time. It comes with both HDMI and DisplayPort outputs, so you can use whichever port is available on the monitor or TV you want to run Windows on, as well as two regular USB slots for plugging in a mouse and a keyboard.
As promised, the Microsoft Display Dock allows you to use your phone as a Windows PC, complete with a task bar, windowed applications, and all the other familiar things you’ve worked with through the years. Even better, you’re free to use your phone the entire time it’s also serving as your desktop computer, so you can text, call, and even play games while spiffing up your resume, filling up a spreadsheet, or editing a photo. Oh yeah, it runs the display at a 60 fps refresh rate, too, so there won’t be any flicker or lag, ensuring a smooth desktop experience.
The downside, of course, is that it won’t run any regular Windows 10 apps. Instead, you’re restricted to Windows 10 universal apps, although the list of titles on that platform is definitely growing, so it might not be an actual downside for much longer.
The Microsoft Display Dock works with the newly-announced Lumia 950 and Lumia 950-XL smartphones. No pricing or release dates have been given.