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Samsung unveiled its new Desktop Experience (DeX) during its Galaxy S8 launch

Samsung’s DeX already overshadows Microsoft’s Continuum.

Samsung unveiled its new Desktop Experience (DeX). It’s designed to turn a Galaxy S8 into a PC, with Android apps running in a desktop-like environment. To work well, it will ultimately require apps to support larger displays. But out of the gate Samsung’s DeX already overshadows Microsoft’s Continuum.

DeX will support regular Android apps out of the box, and even companies like Adobe and Microsoft have worked with Samsung directly to optimize their apps for larger displays. That means that Word, Excel, and PowerPoint will all run just as well on DeX as they would on Continuum.

Microsoft Office integration is a key selling point for Continuum, and Samsung now has that exact selling point with Microsoft’s help.

One of the big advantages DeX has over Continuum is fairly basic. Samsung has implemented its own windowing system in parallel to the one found in Android Nougat. That means you can actually multitask with apps in DeX, unlike Continuum which restricts you to one app on screen at any given time.

It’s stunning that Microsoft, the company behind Windows which brought windowed apps to the masses, has still not implemented this basic user interface in Continuum. Samsung even added the ability to unlock the PC-like interface through facial recognition (like Windows Hello) on the Galaxy S8. The angle of the DeX dock means you can simply look at the phone and it will unlock the desktop interface.

Microsoft’s issues aside, DeX isn’t perfect, and will struggle with some of the same problems Continuum does. This isn’t a real desktop experience with powerful desktop apps that you might expect on a Mac or PC, it’s mobile apps stretched out on a bigger screen.

You can use a mouse, keyboard, and monitor, but most of these apps won’t have keyboard shortcuts, the ability to drag and drop, or simply the scale to make use of a bigger screen. Samsung does have the advantage of Android behind it, meaning there will be more apps available, and possibly some developer incentives to optimize apps for the desktop experience.

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