The video: How will technology transform and glamorize the future? Microsoft (yes, that Microsoft) offers some surprisingly intriguing ideas in an "astounding," "amazing" video released Thursday. (Watch it below.) Microsoft envisions ubiquitous touchscreens — from leaf-thin smartphones to wall calendars to sleek offices where workers video conference on huge wraparound computer monitors. A business traveller landing in Johannesburg uses her eyeglasses to translate different languages and find a taxi. A very un-Microsoft minimalist piano soundtrack backgrounds the concept-dense video. "You can stop any frame... and talk for an hour about everything that's going on," says David Jones, the director of envisioning at Microsoft.
The reaction: "Say what you will about Microsoft's execution in developing cool products and services consumers want," says Jay Greene at CNET. But this is "a clever glimpse into the possibilities for future technology." Agreed, says Casey Chan at Gizmodo: "I'm surprised how much I like Microsoft's vision — it's futuristic, natural and metro-y." That said, "we're going to need a lot of hand sanitizer if Microsoft is right about the all-touch-everything future." Cool as this forecast is, it's "not totally original," says Damon Poeter at PC Mag, as anyone who's seen Minority Report and Gattaca knows. And it's a bummer to see that "the future's still all about spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations" in "cheerless offices." Time-travel for yourself: