In Bill Gates' bedroom of the future, you carry around your mobile computing device, controlling your connected experience like a video game played on a multi-wall-sized screen. Microsoft has been touting the multi-screen user experience, providing more surface area to handle all the multitasking and brain expansion that software affords.
In the demo during Gates' keynote last night, he showed "seamless" context switching, moving from selecting a background image for ambience to a learning lab aquarium to video games to viewing grandma's dog remotely. The digital home of the future will be awash in very large flat and flexible screens.
Gates noted in his presentation that the connected experience is still a dream.
"We need a lot of great research and make the reliability, the security, the simplicity of these things really great, and so that means there's some fun challenges ahead for the software and hardware business. And every year we come here and we see an immense amount of progress, the incredible competition that's driving the prices down, getting all these things to work in new ways."
Indeed, every year there is progress, but Gates' digital home vision will take longer than the next version of Windows to gestate. And, as Dana Gardner point out, simplicity won't happen unless the lords of the digital world can agree on how to work together, which is a bit like Middle East diplomacy. Nor is the Microsoft Home Server platform introduced by Gates last night a model of simplicity. As my colleague Larry Dignan put it:
The digital living room vision outlined on Sunday doesn't scream simplicity. Just look under the hood of the Home Server. You are never going to walk down the street and say to someone, "wow that's a cool home server." There are very few people who want to play network administrator on the weekend.