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How Microsoft, Apple and Google will connect all your screens.

Suddenly, the thrilling future of consumer electronics is becoming clear. We’re entering a world in which any content -- movies, TV, music, books, games and more -- will be available on any device at any time.

This is a huge transformation, and it’s coming very soon.

It used to be that different devices were used for entirely different things. Go back ten years. We used TVs for -- wait for it! -- watching TV. Desktop computers were used mostly for "real work," office applications, web surfing, gaming and other uses. Laptops were either desktop replacements for some, or traveling devices for others. Phones were used for making calls, texting and other mobile-specific uses.

By this time next year, nearly all these devices will do nearly all these functions.

We'll use the TV for texting and video phone calls. We'll watch “cable” TV on tablets. We’ll do work on office suites with phones. We’ll check our shopping lists on the TV. We’ll DVR-record shows with our phones. Our tablets will do everything.

This anything, anywhere, anytime future is closer than you think. In fact, it could start Monday:

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who are you's profile photoDominique Grégoire's profile photoAhmet Kara's profile photoNaveen N's profile photo
And soon the U.S. will be able to access all of your personal data, anywhere, anytime, and for any reason that it wants to.
Mike -- email me at That image will cause you trouble. $$ I know. So does Apple. I'll tell you story and how to fix
I totally just read that as "How Microsoft, Apple, and Google will connect all your screams ." 
The only disappointment so many of the screens are small. In the film "Fahrenheit 451" (1966) the screens filled the entire wall.
I always thought that would be the future.
Its kinda scary, kinda cool, kinda will get nothing done, kinda will be over stimulated ...
The media convergence is finally becoming easier on the consumer side!
Part of the current problem is that it's still too dependent on the hardware. With Apple, everything in the ecosystem has to be Apple product. Microsoft is loosening it a little bit with their SmartGlass being available on iOS, Android but it still relies on an XBox. So if you go over to a friend's house or to a business presentation and they don't have the right hardware, you're out of luck.
Why this may not happen all that soon: massive bandwidth issues on networks from enough people doing this will force carriers to throttle it, meaning people will get annoyed and stop using the services that way.
You can use phones & tablets to make/accept payments also! :)
You forgot about the screen in your car.
In the future, phones will no longer be called phones. TVs will no longer be called TVs. Tablets or Notebooks will no longer be called Tablets or Notebooks. Since they are all "smart" and consists of varying screen sizes, we will refer to them by Brand and Resolution: e.g.
Hey! Check out my website on your Samsung 41".
Did you download that app on your Apple 17" yet?
This focuses on hardware and software.  Platforms will also be a HUGE player.  That means Amazon and Netflix will also be pivotal.
Most of this is here already. They'll just make it user friendly so it will gain mass adoption.
I think the assertion here is accurate, that any content will soon be available on (almost any) device, but I don't see that as so transformative as many people seem to. I think when the "everything on everything" phase as passed, and that "market" is saturated, you will see the re-emergence of specialized solutions. The key is market churn. It is critical that consumers never be satisfied.
This is hot but lets see how long this all takes
excellent but somewhat confusing want one for my home
The three biggest powers of the technological world would probably never do that, unless there was something profitable for them, and it probably wouldn't work between Apple and Google anyway because they are mega rivals (to put it nicely)
If you watch your TV from Amazon because you don't want to sit through the 4.8 hours of commercials that are typical for a 24 episode half hour sitcom, you can do this already. I can watch my Amazon hosted videos on my tablet, phone, laptop, desktop, or TV.
Hmmm... The red pill please, this will be interesting
You can pretty much do that already, but the integration will only get better. I cut directv and landline phone awhile ago. I use XBMC, google voice, skype, spotify, and more on every tv/stereo in the house, the touchscreen in the car, on the laptop that can go anywhere, and my iphone.     
That all well and good, but the questioin to have to ask is, ' Where are we going to have an unlimited supply of energy....More electronics, more power, the more we need to find a limitless power supply.... I've asked Tony Stark but still awaiting his response.
Ah, Paul Simon ... very well played rick lennox
I don't know about making them obsolete... If you mean "PC" as in "Desktop" - Tablets have a long way to go before I will prefer to do intense video editing/creation (Adobe Premier/After Effects) on them over a desktop...

If you mean PC as in "windows"... I think Apple will have to bring the pricepoint way down before it will make PC obsolete.
I don't even have a TV, let alone watch one. Yuck.
All your screens are belong to us? Not.
you can run any pc game on an ipad kinda, so long as you have a pc that can run the game then you can screen share and connect your bluetooth controller. or I have heard of cloud processing too. 
Another question ... How will we know when this day actually arrives?  Oh lord, show me a sign so I too can become a true believer!
You're simply retarded +Dennis R Wieser .  "Tablets" may one day become powerful enough to replace desktops/laptops but you're living in the "iclouds" if you think that ipads are anything more than a toy.  I'm a PC gamer and music producer and there is no tablet out there (Windows, Android nor ipad) that can match the performance and scalability of a desktop or laptop.  I can say without a shadow of a doubt that PC's are more powerful, configurable and upgradable than your $600 giant ipod touch.  As much as fanboys like you would like to BELIEVE that apple will corner the market; you're mistaken.  Apple has had just as long to take over and become the defacto standard in computing and yet they have maintained and embraced being a niche underdog.  Apple has never been the most technologically advanced company out there.  They innovate with quirky stylish items and they are user-friendly.  That's a simple fact.  People who demand the most out of their tech will use the most advanced and upgradable items out there.  Apple is just not that kind of company.
Blah blah blah... soon they'll put a chip in our brain and there won't be a need for devices.. just think it and go. Stand in front of a checkout and the groceries are paid. Only way to seal it is to cut off your head.
I wouldn't mind living in a place with 500 monitors...
Bought a new 46" TV at Costco Saturday.  Brought it home, hung it on the wall.  Realized the ComCast cable box was not high-def 1080p and it didn't have an HDMI output, while I was futzing around with the cables my kids were connecting the TV wirelessly to the router, setting up NetFlix and Amazon and suddenly high-def content was on the screen from the web.  I didn't hook up the coaxial cable until the next day, no one missed it!  BRAVE NEW WORLD
didn't need that head anyhow... lol
Yes, but you cant run Microsoft Office on the Ipad, nor can you run IOS on the PC, because of Microsoft having preloaded it. If they all collaborated (cough not likely cough) then it would be definitely shown in that PCs would have IOS, and Ipads, Ipods and Iphones can be used with Android software from Google. Truly sharing between these three giants would have these effects on the technological world.
Zak Oz
+Dennis R Wieser  Don't believe the hype... you STILL have to plug iProduct into another  device that's running iTunes in order to make them update. That 'installable' makes backwards tethering necessary.
My Android tablets and phones however, update THEMSELVES OTA... I'm just saying.
"It used to be that different devices were used for entirely different things" – In the last century perhaps...
Well, Apple will connect all of your screens as long as they are all connected to Apple devices.
I love it! Multi tasking made easier!
Work smarter not harder!

Let's face it: different sizes/shapes of devices are good for DIFFERENT USAGES.
Yep, the future is literally in the clouds! 

In the brave new world of cloud computing, you are able to log into  clouds (internet sites or apps) from any size display screen, from anywhere in the world. 
So when will my TV cook me a fabulous healthy dinner while I'm at work?
jailbreak your apple device and things go more smoothly/more options with windows and linux. jailbreaking is 100% legal. then u can network share cross platform. It can all be done now just takes more work.
Wow were really advancing beyond imagination.  Taking everything that has existed for eternity and putting it on one device.  I am astonished at this unthinkable feat.  I'll pay whatever they ask, even millions to be able to check my shopping list on my TV.
New J
All these services are fun and all until crime starts to happen via these services
I will have your shopping list up and running on your tv tonight for $1 million!
So how do we filter out the GARBAGE?  So I can choose from a nearly infinite amount of junk.  What is so great about that?
I guess i can throw away this 2 million dollar check.  What a deal!
Good article - let's hope you're right about it coming as soon as Monday.  
Oh ok.  I must go turn in this big gold block than.  I tend to barter in metals outside my check writing.
They show a slim man in the picture but shouldn't he weigh around 400 lbs.  since he's been sitting on his a$$ all year playing with his new TV?
and cloud computing is key technology for it.I wonder if a GRID can be developed like the electric grid we have, and a multiplug-in adapter  to plug in different devices to use to get high speed compared to wireless. 
Iris W
They can do this but not solve unemployment? ??
Heidi, it will be sorta soon, would be even sooner except for the few cycles of planned obsolescence it will take to get the whole consumer market all the way there.
+Zak H Apple has thankfully fixed that. My Apple TV just updated itself a bit ago and as of dropping iOS 5 on the iPod, that did an OTA update as well, which was very nice. It took a while for Apple to realize what Palm had figured out years before, i.e. some folks buy a smart device because they don't have/want a PC.

I'm sure Apple has something 'magical' up their sleeves, the main question I have is are they going to licence the tech?  Thanks to 'evil hackers' I've been able to use my Android to stream home vids of my kids to the Apple TV. But then I grabbed the Apple TV as I'm not about to drop cash on a new proprietary TV. You can make really cool stuff, but if it does not play well with others, its worthless. Perhaps now that Jobs is past I can get BluRay in my Macs.

Apple TV with a BluRay drive that lets me reduce the number of devices hanging off my TV? Now that's Thinking Different.
Why is this news? Youtube has already made this happen. To my kids a Annoying Orange on the computer, the ipod or the tv is pretty much the same thing.For me, is either  training on the desktop or training on the go (iPhone) And doesn't Netflix account for a large share of all web traffic? And yes, I do wonder... "all this for Annoying Orange?" (shades of amusing ourselves to death)
Haha +Bradley Amari  , so true. Devices tether us. I do see a future for micro measurement devices that give us feedback on our actions and propel improved performance. Now that's a story.
All these platforms will be using radically different user interfaces. You don't use the same UX on a 3" tapping phone screen as you do a 24" flatpanel with mouse and keyboard. And the latter is NOT going away. The content may be the same, but the apps will remain different for the near future.

Would you rather watch Avengers on your home theater system or your 3" droid? Tapping your finger on your droid may be fine, but get your smudgy fingerprints on your spouse's 24" flatpanel and you're in deep trouble. Playing Skyrim on console or PC is almost the same, but can you imagine it on an iPhone? Really? And a usable spreadsheet on a smartphone ain't going to happen.
umm isnt that why computers are popular? or are people only just realising why having a computer means you dont need tv's, consoles, video recorders etc? Dunno if thats a good thing or if i want to cry.
Iris W
Oh and does anyone realise no matter what devices they invent it'll still have reams of spam! :-p
Does'nt say how, but i know what your saying, you have to make the decision that once you go onto the web you are public, even though there is meant to be privacy laws they get ignored and the companies are so large they get away with it, there is a game coming out called watch dogs there is a vid clip on ubisoft web page showing an in game episode giving a clue as to what it could be like very soon were more or less there now with everything linked together. Remember what you put out there everyone can see or even use. :>)
I don't think all devices will converge in the next year. I think TV's business model is going to have to change or start to evolve over the next year to keep pace where people want to and how they consume media. It is a huge paradigm shift, because people are simply not watching TV like the did before the iPad.
Zak H: "you STILL have to plug iProduct into another  device that's running iTunes in order to make them update."

NOT true!
You CAN use these devices to fulfil other functions. Mostly for the convenience of having them on / to hand. But a specialist device will still do each job better, and I for one, will continue to enjoy that refinement.
+Mike Elgan, you forgot Canonical with Ubuntu: Ubuntu TV, Ubuntu for Android, by 2014 possibly also a full Ubuntu smartphone operating system. Therefore we will be soon be able to run Ubuntu also on "all" screens, too.
OSs is already there.   Most TV's and all Bluray players run Linux.  So unless MSFT and Apple figure out how to make things seamless and stop catering to the MPAA's demands to treat viewers as criminals,  I dont see it taking off.   

DRM and the MPAA are the reasons we dont have all this already.  
I already do most of this. I love technology.
+John Batty Agreed. I think the most exciting part of this is being able to move certain functions back where they belong. i.e. I use the iPod app for my iTV, Tivo, and Sony Blu-Ray so I can type on a (semi) real keyboard vs the clumsy on screen mess, conversely, if I have a YouTube TV, I can throw it to a TV, where it belongs. 
the three of you sound good were a depression  or recession is partially avoidable to me.invest.
still nothing on....I'm going outside.
All you screens are belong to us
Little bit optimistic in some of the cases, such as texting on tv's, but other than that, it sure seems to move that way.
And it just so happens I was thinking of kicking cable TV out of my house and just get all my content off the web. (for better or worse)
all that is missing is neo being on every screen, welome to the matrix
this is so obvious -- and has been a holy grail for so long -- that it's funny to hear people herald what doesn't exist (you only get this with cable/satellite subscriptions, which is what is being supported) that it amounts to a duh.  This isn't what is happening; it's engagement across multiple screens AT THE SAME TIME.  Different (but tracking) content in separate screens at the same time; not different screens showing the same content.
all the things are visible. We don't have anything hidden.
+Mike Elgan I have to disagree with you. The technology is clearly there but the business rational will prevent it. As content producers align themselves to various tech companies, their content will also be segregated. Forcing consumers to "buy everything" to get the little bits from each they really want.
It seems to me that MS is making a real push here. A lot of what they are/have been doing is headed right here.
+B Gallagher Especially considering that when it comes down to inter-device compatibility, free and open source operating systems such as Ubuntu and other Linux OSs are at a major advantage because every device manufacturer and individual can use them and modify them. Apple e.g. has absolutely the worst chances to have any kind of unified experiences across devices because Mac OS and iOS are crippled so that they can't even run on all computers but on Apple hardware. If you can't even use Apple OSs and therefore Apps for them on virtually every computer, then expecting any kind of wide ranging interoperability with other screens/devices will be difficult to pull of. Microsoft has a better chance because their policy is generally that everybody can use their products who can afford them but device manufacturers (such as TV) will probably prefer to have an open operating system which they can modify and which gives them independence from the OS provider. It will be interesting how Google with their "almost-open-source" strategy which also relies heavily on Linux will do. It might be the right balance with having a free and open platform but also enough control to push it and brand power to also bring it to the masses.
dre g
I already got connected via my personal cloud using Twonky, Polkast, StreamToMe, and XBMC. Seems to me that Apple, Microsoft, and Google are lagging
@Alexander Neumann. You make a good point about Apple. How long can they continue to sell the proprietary platform model. If they can succeed at keeping the conversation about features (and prestige in ownership) and not interoperability they can win. One slip and they fall behind quickly. Does anyone remember the Lisa?
wow.. this is going to be epic!!
Is this going to make living our lives easier and less cluttered or just more complex. Will this give us time to do more in our lives to do more and dIscover new things Or just slow us down and make less active in our everyday life because of everythings be at our finger tips.
I don't know but I wish I could find it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
2 years max, maybe sooner.
I have AirSync on Nexus S and often show pics and video on 46"TV trough GoogleTV (runs AirTight) and it works pretty darn good.
Thats real talk ..totally transparent....
It's unfortunate that life has started revolving around the screen so much that there is less and less human interaction!! 
it won't however be coming to 'Upstate' anywhere, your village, or in fact probably 75% of the planet!
Humanity is under attack, and the Front is digital. Pursue open-source alternatives aggressively, or face the slow-motion transformation of the surreal amusement park spectacle that we live in, into "Total Information Awareness" and a cashless control-grid dimly foretold in George Orwell's 1984. The Elite are still eugenicists, and they envision a North Korean-style dictatorship with a high-tech overlay to depopulate the world. Avoid proprietary anything, and research: Tor Network, Ubuntu, BitCoin, Linux, open-source, open hardware, P2P, BitTorrent, etc.

Localize, decentralize and thrive.
Forgot to mention Diaspora instead of Facebook or Google+...
The devices are common. The content is not. Until the notion of walled gardens is eliminated your content will not be available on across all platforms. We see it everyday from across the border. We're sorry but the content you wish to see has not been licensed for your device/area/browser/demographic.
Do not eat the white apple! It will cost you dearly!
This is super exciting and is also a reality of our worst nightmares
I love where our tech is headed. However, it would be nice to kinda lay back on something like this.
yeah just when i turned into a teen ..........................AWESOME
+David Robertson Imagine that you driving somewhere far and kids on a back seat are going bananas. Giving them a tablet to watch something (or a least a phone) may not be a bad idea.
"Play games that show a different screen to each player. For example, a poker game might show the poker table on the TV with cards face down, but each player sees their own cards on their own mobile devices. You can throw cards face up on the TV by flicking them on the phone."

Or, you could buy a deck of cards and a dozen beers and invite your friends over for game of poker.

Let's keep our focus on the goal here, 'all content all the time from any location/device'.  The rest of this stuff is non-sense.
voyeurism at its finest! Nice technology. But. At what point is too much of a good thing bad?  Just a moral awareness as I am learning the field at 42. wasn't this shot in the matrix? great movie. I love to be unplugged from time to time and enjoy life in biology. nature. awesome pic! wish I made that!
Privacy needed. I'd rather be offline with no internet than this.
too bad when i was 15 i didnt have the smarts enough to follow what my dreams showed me. preminition is only good to a point.
It's still primitive compared to our capabilities
And so we watch our viewscreens. And watch all of the things which toss and turn us. Become inpatient children fluxed with stimulation. Comfortable, and never afraid of the things we might fix ourselves, or perhaps innovate on our own. The idea of that we'll be free when we do not have to move, fix, study or stand up. Freedom from the aching responsibility of a future that you may never reach. But when  the machine runs itself, you are no longer fettered by the chains of being functional, will not the machine rear it's head and say, "You are not needed. We'll take care of evertything now. You are a process that is no longer necessary. We have made it more efficient, can't you see?" What of man? What of the physical? I dedicate this to Ray Bradbury, my inspiration for life.
Mots of these "futuristic" things are already available where I live.
Lol. Yes, Apple and MS are just a couple years behind as usual. Savvy Android users can already do most of that for some time now (though we're waiting on content providers to catch up for many of these things. But we've been sitting here waiting on them for a while, whereas Apple and MS just seemed to have realized this was coming and they better get ready.)
But we're still stuck at the 3Ghz barrier .... so expect a lot of buffering
Something seemingly simple has taken this long to occur...  That's my wonderment.  How will Comcast, ATT and Satellite TV find a way to take advantage of us, the media consumers, is what confounds me.
This makes the game of producers and artists making worthwhile and entertaining content much more competitive. Let the games begin, children. 
Architects......................................of our own demise.

But hey that looks cool.
We're almost there! Had my cable disconnected Ted last week because I watch live TV for free on my laptop and mobile phone
Comcast is trying to kill streaming services on their network with unreasonable bandwidth caps, while no such cap applies to their Netflix like service.
And each person shall pay $700 per month on data costs :)
+John Bill I thought Comcast just got rid of their caps. Plus, they were nowhere as unreasonable as at&t's 150gb cap.
um this picture looks like a circle of hell to me. who would ever want this? i mean if your selling it, fine... but who would ever need to be THAT connected to other people's creations? it's like a sickness.
Zack Wi
200th comment!
We are the Borg. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Resistance is futile.You will be assimilated.
Very much true it could even be right now
meh, all my tvs either have media center, or a linux device connected to them for my purposes, and all my devices are able to do anything i need, besides my phone being able to compile its own kernel.

Linux ALL the devices!
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