A recent document authored by Abolade Gbadegesin, a Windows software engineer at Microsoft, briefly delves into Microsoft's efforts toward a unified Windows ecosystem—one that allows apps to adapt to different form factors or screen resolutions—and a history of the Continuum feature.
As part of an effort to bridge the gap across different device types and form factors, Microsoft released Continuum, a defining feature of Windows 10 that allows users to use a phone as a desktop PC—complete with mouse and keyboard input support—or to use a Windows 10 Mobile device as a secondary screen. With Continuum, an app running on Windows 10 Mobile will adapt to another screen by scaling user interface elements.
Gbadegesin's slides reveal that Continuum was briefly referred to as "Modern Glass," a reference to Xbox SmartGlass that allows users to interact with the console from a smartphone or tablet; it was later referred to as "Wizard / Tinman" before being marketed as Continuum.
Perhaps more interesting, however, is that the slides suggest that Microsoft was working on Continuum shortly after the release of Windows 8, which was released in 2012, as the screenshot above appears to depict a simulation of the feature (then known as "Modern Glass") running on that operating system.
The slides focus not only on the past, but also on Microsoft's future directions for Continuum and Windows 10:
- Very large physical displays (80"+)
- Virtual displays (HoloLens)
- Voice-driven interaction
- Disaggregated inputs, sensors, outputs
- Multi-user interaction
Interestingly, the ability to use Win32 apps on a Continuum-powered phone is not included as part of this roadmap, but the slides nevertheless provide invaluable insight into Continuum and into the development process of the "last version of Windows."
If you are interested in the content of these slides, you can view them yourself here.