Frankly speaking, I can’t believe that I’m writing about Microsoft’s keynote, but I guess that they really impressed me this time! Forget about Microsoft Edge, forget about Visual studio for OS X & Linux! Let’s talk about the real cool stuff from the Keynote… Thanks to multi-platform methodologies and responsive applications development, now we can finally get a real continuous user-experiences. Looks like Microsoft has finally realized that they have some advantages with Windows over other companies out there…
So why we need Microsoft continuum anyway?
I already talked about modularity in the past, As a UX guy, and as a technology enthusiastic I always loved this vision of a modular device that you carry while you are on the go, and once you step into your home / office, you can dock it into your docking station and use it with a mouse and a keyboard while the display expands to a larger screen on your desktop. Obviously, this is not a new idea, but it is an important one, and I believe that it is the future! Because, what is the point in these new powerful devices if you can’t use them as a productive computer in your home / office environments?
Well, while other companies are only talking about this vision, and some of them only presenting some futuristic concepts, Microsoft just showed us that they are actually doing something about it! So as I mentioned before, Mozilla introduced their amazing concept called Mozilla Seabird a few years ago, Canonical also introduced their Ubuntu phone, and even Apple introduced on WWDC14 their vision called Continuity, And I believe that the solution is somewhere in between those visions.
The advantages of Microsoft continuum
In many ways, Microsoft has many advantages in this aspect, especially because Windows is the most popular OS out there, most of the users are familiar with windows (If Microsoft won’t screw this up with some weird UI changes just like in Windows 8 “Metro”), although it seems like Microsoft did learned something since Windows 8, that’s why Windows 10 brings back the Start menu on Desktop mode, and it looks like they are making the right moves for now, I think they should do more about it but let’s hope they will, (Oh and, Microsoft! please do something about this Icons inconsistency!). Talking about inconsistency, as for Microsoft’s Projects Astoria that aims to help developers to import Android Apps into windows phone, well, that’s nice, but in terms of UX, I’m a little worried! Because Android and Windows are two different platforms with their own unique design guidelines! So we will have to see how this gonna look and feel in reality…
Anyway, it is essential to solve some hardware issues before this vision will turn into a reality, because in order to run the full version of windows over our phones, there is a need in X86 based processors, (ARM processors can’t run Windows) and Microsoft will have to do something about it in future windows phone devices, I guess that they will collaborate with some OEMs, it Is essential to bring this vision to life and to create new and continuous experiences. Watch this short video to understand how the new Continuum functionality for smart-phones tailors the app experience across devices to transform a phone into a full-powered computer.
Let’s talk about HoloLenns!
Augmented reality (AR) is definitely the next big thing! And not just in terms of the user-experience, as I already blogged in the past, Microsoft will have to find a better way to allow us (the users) to interact and control the user-interface, with all of our fingers, without weird gestures as they just introduced. Anyway, the current version is fine and looks awesome! It is not perfect but I believe that the next versions will be better! Well, let’s hope that someday soon, we will have a better holographic interfaces with advanced projectors, because AR glasses are cool, but imagine how cool that would be, if you could interact with floating interfaces in your room or office, without any glasses! Until then, watch this video.