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Microsoft shares its vision of the future with thinner displays and cool gadgets

Microsoft has released a new video on its work oriented account to share its vision of the future. It's all about massive, thin displays, holograms and cool, connected gadgets. There's even a tablet device shaped like a book.

It's an interesting look at how the company sees technology really having an impact on the lives of millions, as well as how such advances do not appear a far-fetched or something pulled out of a recent Sci-Fi movie. We already have smart wearables, thinner screens and the beginnings of AI and holograms, as well as a unified operating system, Windows 10.

Of course, there are many obstacles to overcome before we achieve many of the things shown in the presentation. Microsoft is certainly attempting to be first in reaching said goals, however. The company's HoloLens technology is a perfect example of the company looking at ways to push the boundaries of tech.

Microsoft HoloLens

But do check out the video and see how the future could look with advances made on technology available today. What's your favorite part? Augmented reality without headsets or the massive displays? Let us know in the comments.

Source: YouTube, Microsoft Productivity Vision (opens in new tab)

Thanks for the tip varunpatrick!

Rich Edmonds
Rich Edmonds

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

110 Comments
  • Title not found?
  • Open the article in browser brother...... :)
  • @MICROSOFT .......... GET THE PEOPLE WHO DID THIS VIDEO TO DESIGN A TOP END FLAGSHIP PHONE. ........ ALL AMAZING AND NOT ONE HAMBURGER MENU SEEN. ........ AM I SHOUTING, YES, THE DESIGNS WERE BRILLIANT, SO MAKE A NEW FLAGSHIP THAT WE CAN ENJOY NOW! ....... RANT OVER :/
  • Yeah dude...irrelevant but necessary...lol good one. MS, listen to us! :D
  • Your right lol,, Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • All will be possible via a unified OS----Windows 10..!!
  • Windows 95 - 85 versions after Windows 10
  • your comment has reminded me of the movie "her", you have to see it if you haven't
  • I like the direction Microsoft is heading. There are so many promising things in the near future with them that I'm really excited to see transpire. Magenta is the new Yellow
  • Did you see their smart house from 10-15 years ago. NO matter which direction they are heading.. they seem to never get anywhere there.
  • Every company has those "goals" that just don't come to past. I wouldn't categorize them as a company that doesn't go anywhere. Apple did it with the 5C and it flopped. Google's Nexus Q was a DOA. Every company has goals that it won't make, but the offerings from present Microsoft look a lot more promising than of the past. Magenta is the new Yellow
  • So maybe they should just sit still and do nothing?? Fact is if you never 'failed', you probably never really tried. True for individuals as well as companies.
  • Personally.... I would like to see them release some flagship phones on a regular basis without carrier restrictions and push out tons of apps that have been asked for along with the updates that the carriers are purposely delaying or not giving before worrying about future gadgets that may never see the light of day.... But hey that's just me... Cry me a river if you want but then build me bridge to get over it... Posted from my HTC M8
  • It sounds great and all, but is that even possible?
  • Sure its possible. Google and Apple does it
  • Google and Apple has bigger marketshare. You sound very ignorant. For ex. in order to get bigger marketshare we need those missing apps right? But how do we get those apps? BY GETTING BIGGER MARKETSHARE. Do you understand? So MS have to BUY and PLEASE developers to make them apps, instead of developers to do it automatically cause of marketshare. Its not that easy like you are portraying it.
  • Marketshare doesn't stop Microsoft developing and selling whatever they want, flagship or low end. It will actually help as people want options and in countries where you don't have to beg your carrier before you can buy a phone its the norm for phones to be sold completely carrier free.
  • You do know we were talking about carriers and not developers? I can't get a single carrier specific phone, no matter the brand, here in Denmark, because here carriers cant act like gods.
  • Yeah sry, somehow misunderstood, mustve been reading fast :)
  • No biggi ;)
  • Everywhere but the US where carriers are gods.
  • I was thinking how longs before anyone rants about "flipping flagship phones and more apps"? YAWN
  • I see a lot of Sway, Band, Surface, and even Courier influence in the vision, and I like it.
  • LOTS of Courier. interesting to see that they still have those ideas bouncing around.
  • Wrist band concept is amazing. Hope that at least some of these concepts are released in near future :)
  • Wrist band is possible remember the nokia 808
  • That wristband looks like a nod to Nokia Morph concept.
  • Some of it looks great but you cant help to say why show us the future why are u not already releasing this design and product?
  • Yep, the design language is still consistant with the 2011 video and still looks great. It's sad that they appear to be ditching Metro, but if it were to make way for this I'd be on board in a heartbeat.
  • I think it looks more like an evolution of Metro, still typography and flat iconography
  • The Metro spirits are still there. The flat and icon, the simplicity of the layout. It still looks like a Metro to me.
  • @sporosarcina @kurotsuki Around here people will be willing to tell you that the newest Metro apps aren't really Metro at all. That Windows 8 Metro is a different beast to Windows Phone Metro which is different to Zune Metro. In that light, the OPF video design language isn't Metro, but I do take your point entirely. It is something that Metro could morph into. There are definite similarities on the conceptual level.
  • Yeah. Well ... It obviously not the Metro itself (the current materialized Metro). But kinda like spiritual/conceptual successor of the Metro. Their approach clearly different, but their target are the same layout simplicity with flat icon. :)
     
  • Awesome future. For this to happen Microsoft needs to make more hardware and own the vertical like Apple. Same strategy works for Surface, Lumia and Microsoft Band.
  • I hope tablets still have some bezels to hold them in future. Or maybe they will find some better way of holding less than 100 gram tablets with 10 inch screens :D.
  • Too bad the title can't be found...
  • Open in browser..... :)
  • Those visions are cosmic, wow and wow and wow, awESOme!! They are completely out of this world look at those smart devices oh my God
  • Looks like the future needs some talented software developers.
  • Looks like MS have no vision for gaming in future. I feel bit sad.
  • They have DirectX 12 on the way
  • It's a vision about future productivity in workplaces...
  • So you think they are going to show some person sitting and playing video games in their future productivity video?
  • Everything is useless unless 2 flagship phones , phablets and 41< MP camera phones....... Come every year
  • The only thing I want in my life is this type of technology....amazing it is....Awesome
  • +520
  • Is that little Joe?
  • Seems that all we will do in the future is circle things.
  • will you FINALLY FIX VIDEO LINKING from the WINDOWS 8 APP. TY
  • How about giving us some of those lovely breath taking UIs and animations in the next or any future build of windows 10 for phone
  • you're at 999999 % right we need more UIs like shown in Microsoft vision for the future
  • It is good to hear Microsoft is running faster than the clock. But it is sad to experience that Microsoft has just managed to progress developing only prototypes and its products are yet to hit the mass usage. Just see how funny it looks when Microsoft VP Joe flashes Lumia 1520 for Denim and Windows 10 launch and in reality Lumia 1520 is really struggling to get Denim by declared due date and Windows 10 Tech preview So I have only one sentence to quote 'Fools are not born only in April'
  • Hey mind it I'm a april guy!! Lol
  • Until I see UI design head in this direction (which I love) and not copying Apple/Android just because thats whats selling, I will have to temper my expectations that our displays will look anything like this in the future. Sidenote: By the way, speaking of design, I just want to mention that the changes to Windows Central website have been magnificent. The page design that you click into from the home page looks awesome.On some pages you are greeted to a large, wide photo at the top which gives an expansive look to the page, and celebrates the fact that impactful visuals make a huge statement. Large bold headlines says you are about to read something meaningful and important, and the comments section is light and airy using light grays, blue and plent of empty space to give each item the elbow room it needs to breath. Seperate from how how it looks, its fantastic to use. Great job guys, keep seperating yourself from that pack and you will be handsomely rewarded with ever increasing viewers.
  • You only forgot to mention that the website is terribly heavy (2.1MB for the homepage that's such a waste of resources). And the mobile content is loaded from the subdomain (inability to develop a one fully-fledged responsive layout?) not mentioning the number of ads showing on the page. Apart from that - yea the website looks pretty slick. I'm glad that they have one of the best WP app on the market and I much prefer accessing WindowsCentral that way.
  • Too much scrolling to get to actual content, though. Irritating. 
  • Awesome possibilities, yet tech companies (Pebbles) claim that MSFT is old. These are the ideas that other companies build on, take the Courier inspired tablet-book shown in the video for example. Well, we all know what happened there, MSFT cancels their project and Apple follows with the infamous iPad. So, thumbs up to MSFT for innovation. Their challenge, as I see it will be how to capitalize and market their products (Zune HD).
  • Wasn't there a similar 'Vision' video released about a decade ago. Microsoft always trends ti overreach and ends up with a lot less.
  • But not now eg. Hololens!!
  • Still its a lot of expectations
  • Yeah, I've seen most of these ideas before except for the scuba / hololens overlay stuff.
  • I just i which i can live until i see this for real
  • It's all beautifull and I love it. One thing that MSFT forgot to take into consideration are people. I can't imagine such a tech-savvy world with 80% population with IQ below 120.
  • Where is cortana!
  • All over
  • At least, on her desk.
  • compared to microsofts previous vision of the future I noticed some interesting things. First of all the the current vision has a somewhat more realistic feel to it compared to the previous one. Amazingly the the smartwatch design is back as seems to show a more realistic design. Next the future seems to be all about edgde displays and more touch. This is interesting as windows 10 seems to be more keyboard and mouse oriented. Interesting as to where microsoft wants to go with windows 10 then. It seems the phone is becoming obsolete. Is this a clue to the phasing out/blurring of winodws 10 desktop/phone in the forseable future? The microsoft hub and hololens seems to play a more center stage for business in the foreseable future. Interesting. Also wearable technology and robotics seem to also run more with windows in the future. Perhaps a signal of increased support of windows in the internet of things? A small detail, but potentially big user impact to this future vision, I thought was the smart use of the pen. Doodling circles on digital paper is going to apparantly be a thing with the future of pen, but the hub showed some interesting glimpses of ink-to-text recognittion linked to context menu's and that handwritten notes can apparantly be linked to images as a search query to locate a file/image on another device. Interesting prospects for the future of digital handwriting and the use of the stylus and notetaking. Yet again it seems that microsoft offered another clue that the courier design is perhaps still not dead (yeah!!!). It could well be that the surface pro 3 could still be the continuation of that dream device. So hopefully this means still more surface tablets with ever increased refined pen and UX support for a more immersive experience. Looks good!
  • Shut up and take my Galactic Credits.
  • LOL :)
  • That Blackboard!
  • Wish they shared their vision about being able to print from their phones and an improved XBox music App that will give ITunes a run for the money.
  • "U can already print from your phone" is what u will get as an answer. And actually u can.
  • Give me one of EVERYTHING!!!!!!
  • I like that nod to Nokia Morph concept. That was one of the coolest concepts ever.
  • Awesome video, but these gadgets and techniques gonna take yrssssssss to come in reality.
    It reminds me of "iron man 2&3"
  • Some of this looks great, but others look absolutely horrible.  So here we go from smallest to largest: Earpiece: Obvious modern design of the old Star Trek earpiece used by the comms officer, so I give them props on that front... but this will not happen.  Having a single ear piece is extremely annoying, and pretty much nobody does it.  I think we will continue to see bi-aural wrap around headsets until the day we all start getting audio reciever implants embedded directly into our brain. Writst Band: Awful idea.  Unless you have a way to keep it powered at all times there is no nice way to have a full body display with no backlight that has a high enough pixel count to look textured like a real bracelet.  The wear and tear that a bracelet device would take would be impractically high as well.  Sure, we may have some devices that will have a bracelet-like form, but they will be few, and they will not feature a full body display.  Neat concept, but we will not see this any time soon. Foldable book tablet: Again, not likely to happen.  The issue with foldable displays on anything is that it wastes screen realestate.  There is nothing that you can do in a folded form factor that you cannot do better on a flat surface.  Yes, we may see flexable displays become a reality in the not too distant future, but that is going to be an issue of durability so that traditionally ridged technology will fit better in our rough and tumble world more than anything.  Also, those rounded edges really become a UI issue, but I will come back to that later. Edgeless computers and devices: This is something that I do think we will see, and not in the far future.  For the last 10 years there has been a huge push by manufacturers to make things thinner, but the fact of the matter is that most of us don't care about how thin our devices are, because we rarely (if ever) look at the profile of the devices we use.  But we do look at (and get annoyed by) bezels, and I think we are about to see some really neat breakthroughs on that front.  Perhaps not totally edgeless, but extremely thin in the near future. Wall Displays: Absolutely going to happen, and is happening.  The price needs to come down, and displays need to get much larger, but this is absolutely happening.  Really liked the skype call with the older lady's father where the wall looks like it opens up to another room where her father is sitting in full life-size.  I would love to see this happen where Skype calls feel more like a meeting face to face rather than getting a small picture of someone on your phone or laptop. UI and Metro:  We need to remember that MetroUI was a design philosophy around a new way of sharing data.  Metro applicaitons were supposed to work on a set of APIs that worked as a tunneling system that could buss data between eachother.  What was shown here was a great example of that; Truly custom software that pulls data and assets from multiple locaitons and brings them together.  It is a dream.  Sadly, this is nearly impossible unless companies completely open up how they do things.  This not only opens up scrutany in how they do things, but it also makes it very easy to rip off their utility and kill their own products.  Nobody is going to agree to this, so we will not have such nice things on a broad scale.  About the only metro-like thing that Windows 8 succeeded on are tiles... and again those are all seperate siloed islands that pinn information to dedicated apps... not exactly living the dream. Virtural AI:  There are a few peskey things about reality, mostly with things like camera placement.  We can have a full wall-sized display, but it is useless unless the person on the other end knows where to place their camera.  Skyping with my grandmother is funny because she sets her web camera on top of her monitor, which is on top of a book, which is on top of her desktop, and she is quite blind so she sits some 5 inches from the display, so we get a really good view of the top of her head.  People in general have no good idea of framing a shot or distance, and they should not have to.  Another example in the video is when the grey-haired boss-lady shows up in a display giving real-time instructions to her crew and interacting with digital assets on the display directly... obviously this cannot happen.  The solution to both issues is an AI representation taking a persons actions and displaying them in a manner that makes sense for the medium that the viewer is seeing on the other end.  Look up Matrox and their virtural head technology.  Way back in the '90s you coudl take a picture of your head or upper body, and then when you were sitting at home in your PJs talking with someone your virtural head would move and talk for you in a more presentable manner... with all of the flaws and short-comings of '90s tech.  But the idea is a sound one in that we need digital versions of ourselves that look and act as us (rather than for us) but allow us to get around issues of things like camera placement and settings that may be less than ideal.  Totally possible, but it may take a while.   Anywho, end of rant.  But it was a neat video, and fun to see the ideal world that they are working towards.  Reminds me a lot of their digital home video from the '90s which had a lot of these elements that we are still waiting for.
  • Bad story bro. Its called a 'vision' for a reason!
  • whatevwr they keep the ui should be metro
  • @CaedenV:
    I have a few issues with a few of the issues you had with the video. Confusing yet: :P Earpiece: You stated having a single ear piece is extremely annoying, and pretty much nobody does it. This is completely false. Remember, this is a "productivity" video, not an entertainment or gaming video. Yeah, people who are listening to music or watching videos or playing games prefer to listen with both ears. However, people who are needing to interact with other human beings and concentrate on getting things done need a monaural ear piece. I happen to be one of them. I have to be able to listen out for what is going on in my environment every day, while being able to screen/take calls at the same time. If I were to take a call with a binaural headset, I would not be able to hear my daughter start crying in the next room if she were to fall and hurt herself. Me convert to binaural? Not in this lifetime. People WHO DO need the monaural headsets, period. People WHO PLAY need binaural.  Wrist Band: There is new technology being developed you know nothing about. This also, is not a "hard" device. It is soft and flexible like a mouse pad. Like the "book" tablet that was folded over. This is not like the current "flexible" displays that you've read about. This is something new that has been theorized and has been in development for the past couple of years. I won't get into the tech, because it would take too long to explain here. The same new tech is also promising that improved battery life that will be required, in a completely flexible battery. None of this is out of reach in the next 10 years. Foldable book tablet: Did you even watch the video? Apparently not. You are condeming the foldable book tablet because it waste screen real estate? Absurd! The screen completely wraps around and is part of the fold. Rigid technology? Again, watch the video. This is all already being worked on with this type of display and batteries that will last longer, charge faster that will be just as flexible.  That's really all I had issues with at this point. 
  • HoloLens is going to change the game entirely.
  • I think I just came....
  • Augmented reality without headsets i awesome wow!  
  • It will change the way we think, we do our work
    MS really great
  • Iron man
  • This video gave me a boner. The Future with Microsoft.
  • wow that's some cool stuff! Get it happening Microsoft!
  • Looks amazing, hope they can pull this off.  Looks like the stuff Tony Stark uses :) Come on Microsoft, get to work!  *whip* *whip*
  • I hope a better music player is stored in the future. Posted via the Windows Phone Central App for QWBASIC :|
  • Why cant I find this video via a YouTube app. Get some 1080p on it.
  • Very cool video, but whats the connection between now and that? Otherwise, its just sci-fi.
  • Awesome awesome awesome ...what' to say splendid ....mind blowing...MS ..if this type modification comes to windows 10 phones hooo man I cant say it will a blasting rocket is...but the techinicall things shown up in video is awesome but will take a 20years to be implemented
  • Bezels, Bezels no where!
  • Wow, i only saw the first half and its fantastic! Microsoft has all this vision and creativity, I really hope it starts to transcend. 
  • Is this an optimistic episode of Black Mirror?
  • Looks like the future in minority report
  • Microsoft will bring most of these cool features and gadgets
    But they will be US-only xD
    Let the rants begin... :D
  • Apple or Google will deliver this future. Microsoft? come now , will you expect company that produce s**t like Music app wil be able to do this :)
  • Apple is too busy selling the same cap year in and year out, and Google couldn't even get the highly touted glass to be anything more than another glorified failed project.
  • Best part ⁉ Was no hamburger menus
  • I love these
  • We all need those automatic ocean exploration robots!!
  • Step one, battery inovation...
  • The main hurdle that has to be removed is network connectivity. Big cities might not have this issue but living in a rural town, I hardly have cell signal without my Microcell. Also, data caps need to be a thing of the past. Everything is turning to an always on(line) way of life and companies limiting the amount of streaming you do will stop most people from adopting this view of technology.  I really like the way Microsoft is thinking b/c honestly Apple hasn't done much in the past few years that is innovated their technology; this is coming from someone who uses iPhone and Mac daily. 
  • Lol @ "Gordon Bennett".
  • I really wish they wouldn;t create these types of videos.  I am sure MS thinks they are keeping the fans excited but you are also tipping your hand to competition.  So let's talk about that bezel-less tablet device.  Imagine you have something simmilar in the works but as the technology stands right now, it wouldn't work well in the consumer space.  However a diffrent company doesn't care and rushes to the market with a bezel-less design and it too does not work.  2 things have now happened, a competitor gets the right to say 'we were first' and 'you are copying us'.  Plus they might sour the whole experience of bezel-less tablets because their product just isn't prepared for market yet (like your own).  Now if or when you do release it, everyone is worried that it's going to be like that other bezel-less tablet and you may have even more competiton who could beat you to the market with a product that actually works!   All of this because you tipped your hat in a video.  Just make something good and release it.  Don't tell people what's coming if you don't have to.  
  • Apparently in the future, everything has a mint-chocolate-chip color temperature and uses the same font. Don't get me wrong. I like the product ideas they're presenting here. I just thought the video was a bit too sci-fi psuedo-future.   Someone mentioned frustration with cell signals not being available everywhere... I get that, however they *are* getting better and better, to where LTE is a good internet choice for someone living in a rural area. It's really only a matter of time.
  • Microsoft needs to do one of these videos with the present lineup of products.
  • I love Microsoft Vision...
  • Augmented is great in objects and buildings there will always be a need for a mobile version as non-headset versions will not scale beyond your immediate environs.
  • I always love these future tech videos they do. This is the first one that is all very plausible in the foreseeable future. All such cool stuff. And bravo for MSFT releasing in 4k!!! Looked awesome on my Surface Pro 3!