Tom’s Hardware has just put together a comprehensive guide to the hardware requirements for Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 10 Continuum for Phones platform. This, you’ll remember, is the functionality that could make your Windows 10 smartphones into virtual desktops when plugged into larger displays. I’ve already detailed some exciting possibilities for e-reading. However, the hardware requirements are looking more and more forbidding.
For one thing, according to Tom’s Hardware, only two system-on-a-chip smartphone CPUs currently support Continuum for Phones: Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 808 and Snapdragon 810. Furthermore, the higher display resolutions (1080p HD) will require 3 GB of RAM to run, and onboard storage will have to be at least 16 GB. For wireless connections, Bluetooth 4.0 and at least 802.11n dual-band Wi-Fi are essential, with 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi and a 2×2 antenna preferred. USB 2.0 is a bare minimum, but USB 3.0 is recommended, and a Type-C connector strongly recommended, if you want to cable your Continuum for Phones handset to a monitor or peripherals.
In principle, any Windows Phone manufacturer can make a device to such a configuration – and Acer apparently has, with its Jade Primo. In practice, such highly specced phones are likely to be proportionately expensive. A pity, because Continuum for Phones looks a wonderful possibility. Many e-book fans and others will be left wondering, though, if it really offers that much more than a conventionally networked Android phone able to screencast via ChromeCast, and to hook up to keyboard and mouse via Bluetooth. Are the added benefits worth the inevitable price premium? We’ll have to wait till the first devices hit the market to see.