Windows 10 Mobile has many strongpoints, and the integration of smartphone-PC environments is one of the strongest selling points for Microsoft's latest OS.
However, the Redmond-based company lately disclosed a detail that might curb the enthusiasm of those who saw Windows 10 Mobile as a perfect place. The news is about Continuum, which takes app content from your phone and "expands" it to a desktop monitor when you connect the two gadgets.
Beginning April 2016, Continuum will require a paid Office 365 subscription to edit the files.
Continuum is perhaps the strongest asset of the latest Microsoft OS, as it helps users imagine and put into practice the idea of an all-encompassing Windows platform. By simply connecting your smartphone to a display means that you have a mini-PC in your pocket at all times. It is easy to see why such an idea has great growth potential in third world countries, where more people prefer to purchase smartphones, rather than PCs.
Consequently, it is difficult to understand why Microsoft would shoot itself in the foot with a mandatory Office 365 subscription.
Microsoft said that users of Windows 10 Mobile and Continuum will be able to look at documents drafted in Word, Excel and Power Point on both external screens and phones. However, those who want to edit the documents (read: everybody) must have a valid Office 365 subscription to take full advantage of the Universal Windows Platform. Home users can get the Office 365 for $10, whereas business grade companies could spend as much as $12.50 for each user who uses the software.
It should be noted that Continuum's features will continue to be free of charge and Windows 10 Mobile users can use it without the need for a subscription, but only for a limited time.
"Editing in Word, Excel and PowerPoint with Continuum for phones will require an Office 365 subscription, but is available to try without Office 365 through March 31, 2016" the company writes on its blog.
However, the cross-platform workflow is currently available only for owners of Microsoft's flagship phones, the Lumia 950 and the Lumia 950 XL. Microsoft announced that Windows 10 Mobile will arrive early next year, but until then only the said handsets get to fully experience it.
With this initiative, Microsoft stays faithful to its older modus operandi on Office apps: keep them free and full on mobile devices, make laptop and desktop users shell out for them.
Microsoft wants to promote its smartphones in an already OEM crowded market, so it might eventually decide that a free Continuum will give it the necessary edge.
Until then, we will keep you posted on the latest Windows 10 Mobile news.