At its big New York City event on Tuesday, Microsoft made the benefits of USB-C abundantly clear.
USB-C is a new standard that will eventually replace microUSB for charging and connecting our smartphones and computers to other devices.
Microsoft’s two latest smartphones, the Lumia 950 and 950 XL, both have USB-C ports, which lets them transform into full-on computers that run the full version of Windows 10.
With a USB-C cable, you plug a Lumia 950 or 950 XL into the new Microsoft Display Dock, which is basically an adaptor with a bunch of useful ports, like regular USB, HDMI, and DVI.
Then, you can connect the Display Dock to a monitor with an HDMI connection and a keyboard/mouse.
On the monitor you just plugged in, you’ll see what looks like a full version of Windows 10 you’d see on a Windows 10 computer. It won’t run the full desktop apps you’d find on a Windows 10 computer, but it will scale up your mobile apps to look like full-size desktop versions.
Of course, your keyboard and mouse are still working, too. It’s like having a tiny computer where you can do some pretty decent work with Microsoft’s powerful Office apps: All you need is a monitor, a keyboard, and a mouse to make it work almost like a full-on computer.
Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, described the new Lumia phones as “phones you can run your entire business on.”
The magic here is Microsoft’s Continuum feature, which adjusts Windows 10 apps from mobile versions on a phone to look like full-size versions you’d see on a Windows 10 computer.
It’s by far the best example of USB-C that we’ve seen to date.
This is some serious innovation.
Without a feature like Continuum, Apple’s mobile devices can’t do what Microsoft has done here. You could plug an iPhone to a monitor, but you’d simply see a mirror of what you see on your iPhone. You wouldn’t see a light version of Mac OS X El Capitan, and the apps wouldn’t look the same. Plus, Apple’s mobile operating system doesn’t support mouse input, so you’d still have to navigate around on your iPhone’s screen.
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