At IFA in Berlin this morning, Acer announced a coming Windows 10 Mobile handset and a Continuum dock that will turn that handset into a lightweight PC of sorts.
I wasn’t prebriefed about this particular device, but I did get to spend some hands-on time with Windows 10 Mobile and Continuum at an earlier reviewer’s event in New York City and found the performance and usability to be impressive. In its current form, Continuum requires a hardware connection of some kind—rather than using wireless technology—and the secondary display presents a desktop with Start menu and is different from the handset’s display, which is used separately.
At Acer’s IFA press conference, the firm showed how this works. Using a dock connected to their handset, Acer connected a standard PC display, keyboard and mouse. Apps launched on the phone, which retains the standard user interface, launch on the phone. But apps launched from the external display’s Start menu and desktop run on that screen and can be used with keyboard and mouse.
The only real difference is that the Start menu on the external display mimics the layout and look of the Windows 10 Mobile Start screen, rather than looking like the version from Windows 10 for PCs. And of course you can only run universal apps on such a device, regardless of which display you use, not desktop applications.
I sort of enjoyed the guy from Acer referring to the Windows 10 Maps app as “a Google map,” which explains in a single sentence why I would never trust this company—or fewer other non-Lumia devices—when it comes to Windows phones.
Of course, this isn’t just about Continuum, which is well understood. That new handset—which Acer is billing as “the first phone PC” (e.g. “the first phone PC to be announced”)—will be marketed as the Jade Primo, a name that shows how oblivious this company is to the North American market. (Isn’t Jade Primo the name of Will Smith’s son? But I kid.)
On paper, the Jade Primo looks pretty good: 21 megapixel rear-facing camera, 8 megapixel front-facing camera, 5.5-inch super AMOLED screen, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor.