Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Ultimate Streamlined Experience: Microsoft's Platform Unification Plan

Phones, tablets, PCs, cameras, media players, gaming consoles... as of 2011, and for the last few years, we Americans have purchased so many products that we've used to improve or entertain ourselves. Devices used to be simple... until the whole "internet" thing popped up and before we knew it, everything had a web browser. Then it became even more complex, with the social networking boom that kept us even more attached to our devices. So the question is, how do we keep all these devices connected and unified with each other? Unfortunately, this process is really complex. Lets say I have a file on my PC I want to transport to my mobile device, like a song. First I have to sync the song to the mobile device, then if I want to put it on my tablet I have to sync it to that too and then to my phone and eventually I'll need to backup my computer. Or what if it's a document? Lets face it, keeping all this stuff together and on track is just driving us crazy.

Microsoft knows this, Apple knows this and so does Canonical. Because of this, everybody is scrambling around to come up with a final, feasible solution thats the best. iCloud from Apple looks amazing and makes a lot of sense. But the facts say that most people use PCs, and in the real world, PCs are used EVERYWHERE. Sure, Macs are more popular, but PC is still numero uno. PC users are probably wondering how this whole "cloud thing" is gonna effect them and what they can use to take advantage of it.

Microsoft recently provided a small sneak peak of whats to come, and there's really only one way to simplify it. It's the same experience, on every device. Granted, it's different in terms of size and some content, but for the most part, it's that same concrete experience we've been seeing on Windows Phone 7 for the last year or so. Windows as we know it today will really be a thing of the past, replaced with a totally new and vastly improved "touch-first" interface. As a result, the OS works on Tablets and PCs, finally splitting the line between both devices in terms of software. With Windows 8, Microsoft also hopes to run the OS on older, current and past hardware, in order to expand the scope of usability. The only requirement will likely be somewhere around the specs we are currently seeing on tablets, or maybe even less.

MS also hopes to better connect Windows Phone 7 and Windows 8 with Xbox 360, merging the platforms completely at the end Xbox's lifespan somewhere around 2015 or 2016. Windows 8 obviously takes some cues from both Xbox's dashboard and Windows Phone 7, bringing together the best of both worlds. By streamlining this experience into a unified design not only incorporates a new factor around ease of use, but also allows users to better connect with and enjoy their content instead of having to relearn over and over again how to use certain platforms. Apple has so far done a fantastic job doing the same thing, so it's good to see Microsoft following suit.

Overall, it'll be nice to see these changes come into play as time goes on and as technology pushes forward to newer and more advanced horizons. There's a secret we professional tech users keep close to our hearts- we hate having to constantly fiddle with the OS when we could get work done. Same goes for regular users and newcomers. Everybody would rather be able to jump in and get things done as fast as possible. That's really what computers have always been for, and now would be a good time for them to get back to their old ways.

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