This video is clearly Microsoft’s vision on how they want the future to turn out. Just stating this early: I’m not a fan boy of any kind when it comes top Apple, Microsoft, or any other company, I’ll just tag along with a company who I think is heading in the right direction, and if I find a different company who has created a vision that I believe is better, I’d be happy to jump ship; brand loyalty doesn’t exist to me.
Microsoft is clearly wanting a household full of devices communicating with each other, now this is definitely a cool approach to how the technology industry should move: tablets, phones, desktops, televisions, all running the same operating system and seamlessly communicating with each other. You can tell this is what Apple has been going for, iCloud is clear evidence of that! If you read the official Steve Jobs biography, you can tell that’s what he wanted (only with more control and less variety of devices, simplicity was his idea of the future). I’d go into more detail about the pros and cons of Steve’s vision but this post is about Microsoft.
Personally I was a heavy Microsoft software user from birth until about 2006, however when 2006 hit, I felt like their vision was heading in the wrong direction, so I jumped off and have been trying several platforms until I find something that I’m comfortable with. I’ve tried Google’s approach, as well as Apple’s approach, and personally I think both of their approaches are much better than what Microsoft expects of the future.
That being said this video doesn’t change my views towards Microsoft. I can say with great certainty that the germ of the idea is present in the video, however it’s not fully thought out as far as user interface of the devices are concerned. If you look at the desktop vs the tablet vs the phone, they share a similar user interface but interactions on that user-interface require a large learning curve of unnecessary gestures. For example if you noticed in parts of the video a person will put a tablet down on a table, they do a quick gesture and the table extends the display, my question is, why do we even need the gesture to do that? In the video you’ll also notice that there is a scattered overuse of 3D technology that’s useless towards the user interface. I understand if you’re doing a graph or a blueprint for a device, but for business cards (flip the card to see more details rather than a swipe) or 3D window placements (And we thought finding windows was difficult today). To my understanding, we’re supposed to be simplifying and saving time in the future, that doesn’t seem like it’s happening in this future.
The problem with this is that Microsoft just doesn’t get it! When mobile operating systems came out we made them not to extend what we currently have in a new GUI but to start over. The desktop today is overly cluttered and quite frankly years out of date. They require way too much power to do things that shouldn’t. If you buy a netbook and an iPad today, there is no doubt that they netbook is way more powerful, but the iPad runs WAY faster, the reason for this is that the desktop operating system is simply a waste of power to do the simplest things. The only reason why mobile operating systems feel less than desktop operating systems today is because we have a fresh start, in time we can use less power to do the equivalent things (and you can make them easier to use).
These new operating systems also exist are to make sure that the user doesn’t need to worry about the things that they currently need to worry about like learning how to use a computer. When you pick up an iPad or honeycomb tablet there is close to no learning curve, everything just works, you click an icon, it launches… done. We don’t want to deal with learning tons of complex things just to get around the UI, from what I see Microsoft is just mixing clunky modern PC software with the pretty gui of the mobile operating system.
Anyway my rant of the day is over, let me know what you think of the video in the comments below!