Three Screens, Metro and a Cloud is the future

We lightly touched on the three screens dream (opens in new tab) of Microsoft back at the Worldwide Partner Conference in Los Angeles earlier this year. CEO Steve Ballmer wrapped up his speech with a slide that showed the tight integration between products, seen above. For a good example of the "three screens" vision, check out the RC-AirSim demo.

Tim Carmody at Wired has published a superb write up of the integration we are starting to witness between Microsoft's product line. He spoke about the Xbox Companion app for Windows Phone (opens in new tab) that Microsoft’s Derek Snyder demonstrated. Derek created a scenario where you are watching an animated film on the Xbox but can't put a name to one of the voice-actors. The first call would be to get out a smartphone and search on Google or IMDB. With the Xbox Companion app, you can see all the relavant information about that film you're watching right in your hands.

"What’s more, it doesn’t just do this over Wi-Fi, if the Xbox and WinPhone are on the same local network. It can do it completely through the cloud, using the common Windows Live ID on both devices. If the Xbox had 3G/4G cellular data like the Windows Phone does, you wouldn’t even need a local router."

We're getting away from the central workstation with file browsing and one means of input. Metro will enable more intuitive ways to browse files, apps will integrate with each other to pull photos as well as other media, which will make the system appear less layered and more fluid. Why keep visiting Explorer to find files when apps can pull the content for you in one place?

There's no central hub with Microsoft's "three screens" philosophy. Windows 8 (tablet and desktop), Windows Phone, Live and Xbox will be connected, not only by service and information, but by interface. There's nothing different. Someone who's never used a Windows Phone before, but is on a Windows 8 desktop on a daily basis, will feel right at home with the familiarity of Metro. Personal information, contacts, social networking and everything the consumer needs is all synchronised between Live enabled systems.

And with Skype on board, this really is Skynet. Check out the full article at Wired, it's worth the read.

Source: Wired (opens in new tab)

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

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.

  • I have 1 of the 3 so far. And thanks to getting in to the Xbox Live dashboard update preview, i will have 2 of 3!The only way I will get 3 of 3 is having a nice tablet with Metro on it too.
  • For real. I can't wait to download my preview update and I certainly cannot wait for a Windows 8 tablet next year.Hopefully Microsoft will go above and beyond with regards to the amount of integration and connectivity between their three screens.
  • my best friend's mom makes $77 an hour on the computer. She has been out of job for 9 months but last month her check was $7487 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read about it here
  • I'm not sure the world is ready for metro on the desktop. I downloaded Win 8 Preview and put it on a HP touchsmart in the office. We liked how it flowed and acted as a tablet, but the design behind the desktop people will reject. I don't want to count MS out, because I'm a big MS fanboy, but the "desktop" (people sitting in front of PCs all day) will firmly reject the Windows 8 metro unless they can turn it off and have just plain old windows with a start bar.I could use it at home though for sure, and as a tablet. I hope they make some provisions to let people use it as they want (similar to Media Center or something).Should be interesting...
  • They will be able to "have just plain old windows with a start bar" any time they want. There's a tile for that.(TM)
  • I'm sure all the really great integration is coming, but at the moment, I am still pretty *&^%-ing angry (can I curse on this site?)that I still can't do the following. Just a small example of a much bigger problem:I create a document on my desktop. I use Live Mesh to sync that document to my two other laptops, and Skydrive. However, I can't sync that same document to the phone. I can't even open it on the phone, unless I navigate to the SYNCED folder on the Skydrive website. And then when I open it I can't save it, I have to save it under another name and then it doesn't get saved in to the synced folder, it gets saved onto the Skydrive which does not sync with the other computers. Only the Synced Folder AT Skydrive syncs with the other computers. Confused yet? I guess I could just copy stuff to the Skydrive that I want to work on and then use the phone to open it and save, then copy stuff back to EACH computer that I want that document on, but wasn't that what floppies were for?Don't think I haven't tried all of this before making such a bold frustrated post. I did it while I typed this just to make doubley triply sure.I'll be happy when they fix this kind of **** because that is kind of what MS WAS famous for, and what they are TRYING very hard to not be like anymore.JF