updated 12:10 pm EDT, Thu October 27, 2011
Microsoft outlines decade-long future vision
Microsoft's Office team has put out a concept video (below) outlining what it imagines in its long-term future. The Productivity Future Vision demo shows a world dominated by touch and gestures, where smartphones are transparent blocks and tablets, walls, and tables all recognize either touch, voice, or in-the-air gestures. It imagines users physically dragging what they're working on from device to device and even includes 3D holograms that go beyond the edge of the display.
Other concepts include interconnected augmented reality, such as seeing the choice of hotel through a taxi cab's window, as well as glasses that translate nearby speech in real time. The aim is to create contextually relevant data available as often as possible.
Microsoft's Office president Kurt DelBene stressed that much of what's seen in the demo is either real or actively being studied by Microsoft and others. Voice recognition is common, and Microsoft already has camera-based gestures in Kinect. The smartphone and desk interfaces also bear passing resemblances to Windows Phone, Windows 8, and Surface, suggesting that Microsoft still sees the roots of these platforms surviving into the future.
Microsoft has done such videos before, such as an Office 2019 concept, but here is promising that every item is the reflection of multiple levels of work at the company. Apple in some aspects is closer to realizing Microsoft's goals, as it has early natural language voice commands in the iPhone 4S and was responsible for popularizing tablets in the iPad after several years of Microsoft's strategy relegating them to niche products. [via GeekWire]