Here's how the HP Elite x3 becomes a true PC, with a catch

HP's Elite x3 giant of a phablet is probably what Microsoft should have launched as the Windows 10 Mobile champion. Aside from having the best specs in any Windows 10 smartphone, it also embodies Microsoft's dream of seamless computing anywhere and everywhere. While that is already possible via Windows Continuum and something like a Lap Dock, HP adds one more interesting piece to the puzzle: the HP Workspace service that lets you "run" full Windows desktops apps on the Elite x3.

Continuum can only go so far. It simply transforms mobile apps into their windowed desktop forms, but only for a select few that take advantage of that Universal Windows Platform (UWP) feature. And that only works for mobile UWP apps, meaning those built for ARM devices. Most work, however, still happens using conventional , "legacy" desktop software, a.k.a. win32 apps, and Windows 10 Mobile, even with Continuum, is notorious about not supporting those.

Enter HP Workspace, which uses smokes and mirrors to let your run win32 software on an HP Elite x3 smartphone. Connected to a dock, of course. The secret to this trick is that HP Workspace is, with branding removed, a virtualization solution. In short, somewhere out there, HP is running an instance of Windows 10 and those desktop win32 apps, which the user connects to and interacts with as if it were running on the device itself. Instant magical Windows 10 desktop on a Windows 10 Mobile device.

As anyone familiar with virtualization knows, it isn't magic at all and the experience can be great or terrible depending on a number of factors. Especially your network connection. The laws of physics and time dictate that there will be even a few milliseconds of lag between your clicking or typing and what gets displayed on the screen. And as the number of users concurrently logged into the HP Workspace grows, so does the latency.

The biggest caveat of all is that HP Workspace is something only available to business, though even small ones are welcome. No matter how much consumers dream of the same seamless and mobile computing experience, they'll just have to make do with continuum. HP Workspace isn't cheap anyway, with a starting subscription of $579 per year per user, or around $49 per month. That gives only 40 hours of access to up to 10 apps. A higher $939 per annum ($79 a month) tier offers unlimited apps but up to 80 hours of use.

VIA: Windows Central