Microsoft’s New Task-Switching Patent

There has been a lot of drama around Windows as of late. Some out there on the web are claim that Windows is on a downward slide as the PC is a dying beast, others say that Windows 8 will revitalize Windows and the way we use our home PC. All this semi-bipolar praise and criticism gets a little old after a while.

Bottom line, the PC isn’t going anywhere. Yes, it is losing relevance as a home’s ‘primary’ Internet gateway, but for at least another few decades it still has a very solid place as a productivity device. Let’s face it, when it comes to school reports, work reports, and other productivity uses, the desktop and laptop are a cut above what we can accomplish on a tablet or smartphone.

The only deal-breaker that might finally see the PC get its largest bullet is if voice-dictation finally improves enough that word processing shifts over to a tablet/smartphone task. When and if this happens, the PC will still remain an important niche item for heavy video editing and other tasks that need tons of power.

So, does this lay the argument and debate over the state of Microsoft to rest? Not at all, since it is just my opinion. Still, it makes a lot of sense that tablets/smartphones will become dominate for the average casual PC user, but not for those who have real work to do.

Either way, I believe that Windows 8’s more ‘mobile-like’ approach is very important in giving a new generation of future users a way to easily switch back and forth between their mobile and traditional-desktop/laptop lives.

Microsoft also seems to understand how important it is that they connect with these users and provide an easy way to stay productive between both mobile and traditional-PC platforms, at least it looks that way according to a newly revealed MS patent.

The patent was filed back in July of 2010, and just recently was made public. The title alone reveals a lot of what it is all about, “Methods for Supporting Users with Task Continuity and Completion Across Devices and Time”. So what does this mean for end-users exactly?

With innovations in the cloud, it has become a lot easier for the average user to pick up work on their phone or tablet that started as a PC project. Still, such technology doesn’t necessarily save your spot and still requires you to retrace your steps.

This new patent could mean that future versions of Windows and Windows Phone (maybe Win8 and Phone 8, maybe not) could ‘pass’ tasks back and forth. This technology would remember exactly where you left off at on one platform and seamlessly deliver it to another. This on-the-fly task switching would bring productivity to a whole new level.

Thinking even further outside the box, imagine in another decade or so if smartphones and tablets get even faster and more powerful. In a world where smartphones/tablets are nearly as fast as their counter-part PCs, I would love to see this type of on-the-fly platform switching extend to other tasks like video-editing and even playing a game.

Imagine you are in the middle of an epic game battle, but you have to get going. With the push of a button, the save file and experience is sent to your mobile for you to pick up where you left at your earliest convenience.

This has a vast amount of potential, including playing an MP3 on your PC, only to get up and leave, sending it to your phone, all while never skipping a beat and saving your exact place in the song at the time of transfer.

What do you think about this patent? Could such technology really have a major effect on future productivity between multiple platforms? Share your thoughts below.

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