Microsofts Vision of Three Screens and the Cloud Coming to Fruition .. By Google?
A few years ago Microsoft announced their long-term plan of one OS for many screens (three screens and the cloud), lighting up the minds of millions to think “yeah my mobile stuff should work on my laptop, and on my desktop and on my TV”. Well Microsoft is moving towards that and if recent rumors are any indication within the next few years all of their platforms will finally fulfill the promise that they set forward so long ago.
With Windows Phone 7 Microsoft has brought their phone arm on pace with their desktop and laptop OS for the most part, and the next iteration of both should be completely tied together, that will only leave out tablets and game consoles. There are new rumors about the next round of XBOX consoles running the same OS as both the phone and the PC, so games, apps, programs will work across all of them. Think about it, you buy an app from your phone, use it to create a document that you then open on your tablet to edit and add to, open on your PC to add some additional flare and elements to, then send to the world from the comfort of your couch through your XBOX. Now granted the flow may not run the same but the idea of only having to buy ONE copy of MS Word and using it on all my devices is a great one, also I could buy one version of Battle Field 3 and play it across all my devices. I’d be willing to pay a little more for that level of convenience wouldn’t you?
Well a few years have passed since Microsoft announced this plan and other companies are moving towards this as well. Apple for one is taking to this with the marriage of IOs across the iPhone and the iPad. They’ve recently release lion which also ties in some of the features of IOs into your desktop / laptop experience and Apple TV (if it ever catches on) is being brought in line as well. Along with the iCloud where you can purchase one program and push it to multiple devices Apple has a lot of the pieces in place to successfully pull of this level on integration between multiple devices.
The elephant in the room though as I see it is Google. Google has swarmed the market with its Android OS which with each passing month is taking market share away from every other mobile OS on the market. Google who has recently launched Chrome OS for notebook computing with major partners in Samsung and Acer. Google who has stepped into the TV market place (not with great response yet) with an Android based set-top box. Google who already has competing products like Google Docs that can be used across multiple devices no matter what OS or “screen” you’re using them from. Google, who most of the world is already utilizing for e-mail, search, news, music, video (YouTube), pictures (Picasa) and now social with Google+ is uniquely poised to become the dominant multi-screen OS company.
There are still a few hiccups in Googles approach most notably that Chrome and Android are not the same thing, as some writers have pointed out it may be beneficial overall for Google to combine them both. Also there is fragmentation within the Android ecosystem itself that Google has openly acknowledged and is hopefully going to remedy with their upcoming “ice-cream sandwich” version of Android. So as we stand Google is not completely aligned as of yet, but with the more products and services that Google brings to market the closer they get to achieving the ultimate goal of computing as I see it which is Microsofts 3 screens and the cloud. All your devices working in harmony, all your devices able to run the same programs and access the same files. Synchronization between work, play, and social, it’s where everything is headed and the company to get their first will have a multi-tiered market that once solidified will make them a virtually unstoppable force. Certainly their will be hold-outs who will wait for their favorite company to catch up but for the masses, convenience is the name of the game and there is nothing more convenient than knowing that everything you have works together and everything you have doesn’t need a separate version.
We still have a way to go before we reach that ultimate goal set forth by Microsoft, but everyday we’re inching closer to it becoming a reality.