HP, Vaio and Panasonic Demo Windows 10 Devices at MWC

Windows looms over Mobile World Congress with an HP smartphone that can pull desktop duty and a rugged Panasonic handset.

Windows 10, mobile

Microsoft and its hardware partners are showing off Windows 10's mobile-first demeanor at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain.

Each year around this time, MWC brings mobile device vendors together to show off their latest wares before they ship to consumers. This year, the early buzz is surrounding LG's new G5 smartphone along with Samsung's new Galaxy S7, S7 edge (lower-case 'e') and Oculus Gear VR headset.

Over in the realm of Windows devices, HP made a splash with its Elite x3 smartphone, which can replace desktop and laptop PCs with the aid of Windows 10's Continuum mode-switching technology and docking modules. Sporting a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, the device features full-disk encryption and supports Windows Hello biometrics to provide enterprise-grade data security.

For its part, Microsoft is working to improve Continuum's appeal by getting developers to adopt its code-once approach to creating apps that run across a variety of Windows device types.

"We then invested in our Universal Windows Platform (UWP) to enable developers to build apps that move across devices, automatically adapting to the different device types and screen sizes," wrote Microsoft Group Program Manager Roanne Sones in a Feb. 22 blog post. "So regardless of whether you are using a 5-inch phone, a 13-inch notebook or a 24-inch in all-in-one, the experience should have that familiar Windows look and feel, while enabling you to have a richer experience as the screen real estate grows."

Vaio, months away from merging with Fujitsu's and Toshiba's PC units, demoed its sleek new Windows 10 smartphones called the Phone Biz. (Vaio spun itself off from Sony in 2014.) The 5.5-inch handset also supports Continuum, unlocking a desktop mode when connected to a keyboard and mouse.

Panasonic, meanwhile, has new hardware for rough-and-tumble environments. Though the Toughpad FZ-F1 features smartphone-like dimensions and 4G LTE connectivity, Panasonic is billing the device as a mini Windows 10 tablet that can work in places that can wreck the average mobile device.

"This 4.7 inch connected tablet weighs in at just under 280 grams, making it ideal for one-handed operation," Sones wrote in a separate post. "Designed with postal workers, as well as professionals in the warehouse, retail, manufacturing and emergency services in mind, the Toughpad FZ-F1 features both voice and data capabilities, as well as an integrated angled barcode reader to protect against repetitive strain injuries, while increasing productivity."

Battery life is rated at eight hours of continuous operation, or up to 16 hours with an optional extended battery. The Toughpad FZ-F1 is powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and features 2GB of RAM and 16GB of built-in storage.

The device is clearly meant to leave the cozy confines of the typical office. "The multi-touch daylight readable display is specially designed for use by workers in bright sunlight or in the rain, and can be used with or without gloves. The device can also be used with the optional Passive Pen or an optional Active Pen—for more accurate proof-of-delivery signature recording and recognition capabilities," stated Sones.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...