A couple weeks ago I attended a Microsoft launch event for a few of Microsoft’s 2010 products, including Office 2010, SharePoint 2010, and SQL Server 2008 R2. During the introduction, the Microsoft representative explained that these new products fit into Microsoft’s roadmap to the future. He then played a video that Microsoft released in 2009, but most attendees hadn’t yet seen. It shows a few examples of how Microsoft envisions technology in the near future (5-10 years). See the YouTube video at the end of this post.
The main themes I see are ubiquitous computing and ease of interaction. Instead of doing all your computing at a desk or on your phone, you’ll have several interconnected devices, and they’ll all connect to the environment around you. You won’t be tied to only one or a few devices for your computing, a trend we’ve already experienced with increasingly capable smartphones and cloud computing. The keyboard and mouse will give way to more natural controls like touchscreens and gestures, which we already have with devices like the iPhone, iPad, and Wii.
You can play the full-quality video at the Microsoft Office Labs Productivity Future Vision page. Since 2004, Microsoft has produced several videos like this, which you can find at its Microsoft Office Labs Envisioning page.