Microsoft just took another step forward in turning cheap phones into PCs

Satya NadellaMicrosoft CEO Satya Nadella holds a Lumia 930 smartphone on stage.Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Microsoft has lowered the hardware requirements for Continuum, the software built into Windows 10 that lets users turn their phone into a PC.

The new requirements, which are laid out on Microsoft's website, require a less powerful processor than before, meaning that the software could be used on a cheaper, mid-range phone.

Continuum works because Windows 10 is designed to work across any screen size or device type from HoloLens, the augmented reality headset, to PCs, to smartphones. Microsoft sells a $99 (£79) accessory, called the Display Dock, which lets the phone plug into a keyboard, mouse, and monitor.

The aim of Continuum is to let people whose first computer isn't a PC have full access to a PC when they need one. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella described the target market as emerging markets, where smartphones are accessible but PCs are not.

By lowering the hardware requirements, Microsoft is bringing this vision to more and more smartphones in more and more places. Few users in Brazil or India could afford a $700 (£494) Lumia 950XL (the flagship Windows phone), which was previously the only device that could work as a PC through Continuum.

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