back to article Microsoft to overhaul Windows 10 UI – with a 3D Holographic Shell

First, it scrapped the classic Start Menu and gave us Tiles. Now Microsoft has confirmed it really is working on yet another radical user interface update – one that will allow you to use your desktop Windows 10 PC with virtual reality headsets. The feature, due to arrive next year, is dubbed the Windows Holographic Shell. It …

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  1. Len Goddard

    They have to be joking

    Even when I am engrossed in what I am doing on the PC there are a lot of things I need to see - reference documents, my phone, my keyboard & mouse, my coffee cup or even the cat trying to walk over the keyboard.

    This will go down really well until the first time you reach for your coffee (or tea) and throw it over the desk or into your lap.

    1. getHandle

      Re: They have to be joking

      I expected a 3D clippy to come bounding in and say something idiotic...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        If it at least came...

        ...in a convenient suppository format!

        1. hplasm Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: If it at least came...

          "...in a convenient suppository format!"

          Wouldn't it just be Win10?

      2. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

        Re: They have to be joking

        "I expected a 3D clippy to come bounding in and say something idiotic..."

        Hey I'm Cortana (Clippy in disguise) and I see you tripped over your Dog, Would you like to fill in this Microsoft Survey?

      3. Esme

        Re: They have to be joking

        @getHandle - ah, but even if it did, at least now you'd be able to punch the b*****d! Well, virtually... (need haptic feedback for a more satisfying experience on that one!)

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: They have to be joking

        I would prefer a 3D Cortana to sidle up to me

      5. Servman

        Re: They have to be joking

        Looks like the same dog from Microsoft Bob...

        http://toastytech.com/guis/boblogin.png

        1. Robert Moore
          Coat

          Re: They have to be joking

          It's the return on Microsoft Bob.

          Bob 3D.

      6. Fungus Bob Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: They have to be joking

        "I expected a 3D clippy to come bounding in and say something idiotic..."

        The video already has 3D Rover from Microsoft Bob so, yeah, the future is Buffoontastic.

    2. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: They have to be joking

      Will Windows 10 bricking my machine be a better experience in 3D?

      1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

        Re: They have to be joking

        Will Windows 10 bricking my machine be a better experience in 3D?

        Yes, thanks to the new BSO3D.

        If you include the dimension of time that you spend waiting for the machine to reboot, it's actually 4D. That's an entire extra dimension included for free, further enhancing the already market-leading Windows 10 value proposition.

    3. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: They have to be joking

      Add to your complaints that some people will get sick from using these devices. Also, other than we can do it, what is the problem they are trying solve? Other than some games, the 2d interface is more than adequate.

      This sounds like a less than the dim idea from Slurp.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: They have to be joking

        There are some 3D applications (i.e. some CAD ones) that could benefit from such interface, but you would probably need a better way to manipulate 3D objects than a sort of wii remote, and navigate 3D "worlds". Whoever tried, knows how easy is to get "lost".

        For most text-oriented, or 2D images-oriented (i.e. photo, graphic design), it looks of very little help, and wearing a VR headset for a long time doesn't look very comfortable.

        But such kind of news are good to have media outlet talk about you.

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: They have to be joking

          The 3D apps that I've used have tended to make heavy use of modifier keys (like Ctrl or Shift) with the mouse and pretty much every app (even ones geared mostly at consumption like video players) use the keyboard from time to time. Virtual keyboards on touch-screen devices are pretty ropey -- those operated by Wii-mote are even more so. All in all, I'm not holding my breath. I think this has a very limited number of real-world uses.

      2. Khaptain Silver badge

        Re: They have to be joking

        <Quote>Add to your complaints that some people will get sick from using these devices.

        Have to agree, everyone that tries the 3D Goggles at work feels a lttle queasy after a certain time, 15 mins is usually quite enough.

        Spatial awareness is fundamental to our perception of where we are in the real 3d world, or should I say multi-dimensional world, and I believe that "virtual" reality or AR , regardless of it's usage ,disturbs this fundamental requirement, unless of course we are completely stationary and bored, and as such will never be taken on. Ok a few minutes here and there but certainly not for hours at a time. Even a transparent headset will disturb what your brain can percieve and eventually digest..

        Many of us already have mutiple screens and it can be diifficult to keep track of what's where, and all this by using even small eye movements, I can't imagine spending my day continually turning my whole head to keep track or the untrackable...

        As much as many people would like to have us believe we are definately not that very efficient at MultiTasking, so adding another dimension wouldn't appear to add any real advantage.. At least not to the average day in front of the screen.

        And lastly, "tangible" is good.. Virtuelle women, no thanks, tangible one on the other hands are so much more delicious. [Swap woman for man, dog or whatever turns you on]

        1. ProgrammerForHire

          Re: They have to be joking

          I dare to contradict, exactly because we are better at spatial perception, a 3d environment would be easier to manage than a flat one

    4. Fraggle850

      Re: They have to be joking

      To all the naysayers above: it's not a horrible VR headset they're talking about, it's look-through AR. You should still be able to see through the UI to reach your coffee.

      Since the start of the recent VR hypegasm I've been of the opinion that it won't hit the mainstream motherlode that everyone is banking on. My money has always been on AR. I was actually disappointed when Google blew it with glass - I'd have considered buying in if it had matured. I'm shocked to find myself saying this and have been since it was announced but I think Microsoft are onto something.

      1. Sebastian A

        Re: They have to be joking

        So they're saying "We'll do the hard part, designing a horrible UI, now some manufacturer just needs to do the easy part, creating cost-effective transparent monitors. Voila!"?

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: They have to be joking

          (from the article)

          "you can manipulate the 3D desktop using a Wii-like remote control, basically pointing at dialog boxes and icons hovering in the air and clicking on them rather than moving a mouse pointer on a 2D screen."

          then Sebastian A said:

          "So they're saying "We'll do the hard part, designing a horrible UI, now some manufacturer just needs to do the easy part, creating cost-effective transparent monitors."

          (and I added)

          Well, you STILL need to be able to type schtuff in. I won't be able to write code or enter data with a Wii-mote. Micro-Shaft blew it with the "Ape" tile-screen and the Win-10-nic "Start Thing", and the entire "the METRO" "your PC is now a phone" paradigm.

          Now it looks like they want to do something _WORSE_.

          Well, maybe we can get a 'droid application going before Micro-shaft ever releases this chimera-monster into the market, and then everyone on their 'droid phones will (effectively) have virtual holographic keyboards hovering in mid-air like Washuu or the people doing the 'Zion Control' thing in the 2nd Matrix movie...

          of course you need an inexpensive headset to make this all work, preferably one with an interface that isn't limited by someone's stupid "low energy" greeny bias [like BTLE, which is notoriously SLOW as HELL] nor CONSTANT interference from everyone ELSE around you, meaning it'll need a wired-up interface, USB 3.0 or ?

          Maybe Apple will do it for iOS first?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: They have to be joking

        To all the naysayers above: it's not a horrible VR headset they're talking about, it's look-through AR. You should still be able to see through the UI to reach your coffee.

        Ah, wonderful, so you agree with me that this is a covert way for Microsoft to get us to leave our cameras online in confidential areas or in our homes, because something will have to pick up that real world data, won't it? Admittedly, that's more clever than Google Glass because that was WAY too obvious (and by that I include the almost fanatic aversion to discussing the privacy implications).

        It's almost like there three separate parts to Microsoft:

        - a department with smart people (mainly hired to deprive other companies of their talents) that do weird and wonderful things and even occasionally invent something that could help with security;

        - a marketing department that uses the above invented gadgetry to make Windows look cool and innovative on the golf course (nowadays with limited success, thankfully);

        - a coding department that flatly ignores both of the above and has not developed anything new since Windows ME, it just spends its time tweaking GUIs and reluctantly resolve an item from a long list of cockups when they get really, really bored or when it threatens to harm profits too much.

        On top of that a management where the main conditions for joining must be:

        - having sold your soul to Mammon

        - have no residual ethics at all

        - considering customers the way governments do voters: a mass of idiots, ready to be milked.

        Whenever I hear the word "Microsoft" and "innovation" in the same sentence without a negative somewhere, I *know* that whoever is speaking is lying through their teeth.

        And using Powerpoint.

        1. no-one in particular

          Re: They have to be joking

          > Ah, wonderful, so you agree with me that this is a covert way for Microsoft to get us to leave our cameras online in confidential areas or in our homes, because something will have to pick up that real world data

          Or just as shown, and has existed for a fair old while, a (semi) transparent screen onto which the display is projected whilst you just look through it for the Real World.

          Pepper's Ghost

      3. VinceH Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: They have to be joking

        "To all the naysayers above: it's not a horrible VR headset they're talking about, it's look-through AR. You should still be able to see through the UI to reach your coffee."

        Like the woman in the video looked through them to pat the head of her dog, with her hand about six inches away from its head, you mean?

        Oh, wait, it was a VR dog. So WTF was the actual point of that bit?

    5. Phil Kingston Silver badge

      Re: They have to be joking

      There are some (niche) interesting use cases - architects and construction professionals being able to explore spaces, remote operation of machinery e.g. mining.

      In the home though, can only think of games and "adult" entertainment.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They have to be joking

      Encarta 2016 :)

      1. WylieCoyoteUK
        Coat

        Re: They have to be joking

        I must admit I checked the date.

        Nope, unless they have time travel sewn up, it isn't April1

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They have to be joking

      Yeah, this is pretty cool... but kind of a solution in search of a problem. I guess gaming is pretty natural application, but not sure what you would do with this thing beyond gaming... even with gaming, they would have to do HD with a crazy high refresh rate in order to make it work. They could fix Cisco's weak Telepresence with some sort of VR meeting room, but I'm not sure they could nail that where it would be a leap forward from Google Hangouts, Skype, and so forth. The annoying thing about the VR meeting is that people might want to use it and then you won't be able to do other things while the meeting is going on. Who even uses video on web conferencing apps? Other than gaming, people don't enjoy being "immersed". They want to do three things at once.... I think Google is more likely to be the winner here with their $5 cardboard VR box and a smartphone vs a $3,000 headset.

    8. This post has been deleted by its author

    9. jb99

      Re: They have to be joking

      I guess while they are implementing this, they are distracted from breaking anything else at least

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Not at all. Microsoft is expert in multitasking. They have a BreakingStuff Dept, a ShootingTheFoot Dept, and a WildNewIdeas Dept that all work at the same time.

        Mostly at odds.

    10. the-it-slayer

      Re: They have to be joking

      You do wonder what planet Microsoft seem to be living on at the moment. Humans don't have X-Ray vision and this would be a disaster for bumpy accidents... Or, you're having so much fun navigating around the 3D UI, that you bump into the door frame of your upstairs bedroom and then fall down the stairs (then die).

      At least give us a transparent 3D interface! The preview video looks like it came out of a visionary late 90s company that crashed and burned.

  2. Joerg

    3D UI yes... useless crap VR headsets NO! JUST NO !

    Killing the childish awful unusable Metro/ModernUI nonsense would be a good thing indeed and a 3D UI is what Windows should have had long time ago ***BUT*** forcing users to get a VR headset ???

    Seriously?

    THAT IS JUST PLAIN STUPID. Way worse than the Metro/ModernUI crap already.

    The VR headsets facade is going to die quicker than the fake 3D stereoscopic glasses crap.

    So Microsoft wants Windows users to get an headache and puke while using Windows thanks to the crap VR headsets, uh?

    Microsoft managers and CEO must be on some heavy drugs these days.

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge

      Re: 3D UI yes... useless crap VR headsets NO! JUST NO !

      "forcing users to get a VR headset"

      It's a tech demo. May never even materialize. I see no mention that it will be forced upon users and they couldn't do it anyway - people who are going to own the Hololens thingy or other 3D headset apparatus will be a tiniest minority for a long time for many 1st gen reasons (pricey, lack of software, motion sickness, cumbersome, etc.)

      "The VR headsets facade is going to die quicker"

      I am not least bit interested of 3D UIs, but this 'augmented reality' stuff has a good momentum due to Pokemon. More than likely these headsets are going to be used in games, social media chats and who knows what killer app may (or may not) materialize. Good for you for knowing how fast fads will die.

      The article states that MS and Intel are working on standards which I believe is a good thing - Rift/Gear/Vive are all incompatible with each other which is understandable on this gold rush, but that isn't good for the end users at all. This whole project is still peanuts on grand scale and Microsoft/Google/Apple/FB can afford these skunkworks. Failed projects won't make a dent in their bank accounts.

      Cue the downvotes.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: 3D UI yes... useless crap VR headsets NO! JUST NO !

        I see no mention that it will be forced upon users and they couldn't do it anyway

        They pushed out a touch-oriented UI with Windows 8 and encouraged everyone to migrate, even though most Windows devices weren't (and still aren't) touch-capable.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: 3D UI yes... useless crap VR headsets NO! JUST NO !

          (with respect to "Ape" and Win-10-nic and the touchy-screen interface)

          "encouraged everyone to migrate"

          read: "Pounded it into our posteriors with a large mallet"

        2. BongoJoe Silver badge

          Re: 3D UI yes... useless crap VR headsets NO! JUST NO !

          The problem with touch interfaces is that people, well, touch them.

          Anyone who tries to leave fingerprints on my screens gets instant hapatic feedback by means of a punch on the nose.

        3. Sandtitz Silver badge
          Thumb Down

          Re: 3D UI yes... useless crap VR headsets NO! JUST NO !

          "They pushed out a touch-oriented UI with Windows 8 and encouraged everyone to migrate, even though most Windows devices weren't (and still aren't) touch-capable."

          Aye, that they did. MS was pushing touch because back then (2012 or so) the market was changing and iPads and other tablets sold a lot and Windows 7 just isn't that usable in a tablet. Perhaps they anticipated people to buy touch screens which obviously didn't happen.

          In any case, I was responding to Joerg, who wrote 'forcing users to get a VR headset ???'

          If he honestly believes that MS is forcing people to buy VR headsets come next year then he is frankly an idiot.

      2. Deltics

        Re: 3D UI yes... useless crap VR headsets NO! JUST NO !

        August 7th 1945: This nuclear bomb stuff has good momentum due to Hiroshima.

        1995: This Los Del Rio outfit have good momentum due to Macarena.

        Virtual Reality is not new and in the 30 years that it has been around it has never achieved anything other than niche applications.

        When it comes to Augmented Reality, first of all there is no such thing. To augment something is to make that thing greater in size. When you augment your income you have more income. When you augment a military force, you add more military force. Augmented Reality doesn't make REALITY any bigger or add any additional reality. The virtual [sic] additions are not real.

        Augmented Perception would be nearer the mark.

        But whatever you want to call it, it is a specific (i.e. niche) application of what we already had - Virtual Reality. How so ? Simple: Where "VR" creates and renders an ENTIRE world model, "SCAR" (So Called AR) takes a pre-existing model of reality (either fixed or based on observed/sensed reality) and then adds and super-imposes new virtual extensions to that model.

        In 30 years VR only ever found niche applications and I will confidently predict that AR will similarly only find even smaller niche applications (which doesn't mean that those niche applications won't be massively commercially successful).

        Video games are arguably the most successful application of VR.

        Just about every video game under the sun is a "virtual reality". Just because a 3D stereoscopic render and/or headset isn't involved doesn't change the fact that there is a complete virtual reality modelled and rendered within which the player "exists" for the purposes of the gameplay.

        There may be a huge market for AR games. But this doesn't necessarily herald a new dawn of AR in every aspect of our lives.

        1. Vinyl-Junkie

          Re: "To augment something is to make that thing greater in size."

          I suggest you go and consult a proper dictionary; the OED has:

          4) To increase or add to the resources of; to enhance in circumstances.

          Which is exactly what augmented reality does; it adds to the resources of reality.

          1. Preston Munchensonton
            Holmes

            Re: "To augment something is to make that thing greater in size."

            I suggest you go and consult a proper dictionary; the OED has:

            Thank goodness that one sensible person has a dictionary nearby to clear this up. #smh

        2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

          Re: 3D UI yes... useless crap VR headsets NO! JUST NO !

          @ Deltics: damn you, now I have THAT SONG in my head for the rest of the day!

          FWIIW, we're in a virtual reality all the time anyway. Our sensory perception lets us sense only a fraction of all there is (visible light spectrum, hearable audio spectrum, perception of time, etc), and through a barrage of filters too. Then all of that data is assembled into some kind model that relies heavily on cultural condition and brain chemistry, to name but two factors.

  3. Swarthy Silver badge

    "Mixed reality"

    Sounds about right for what MS has been living in.

    Mix: 2 parts fantasy, 1 part reality, 3 parts bloody-mindedness, and 4 parts delusion. Shake Well.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Mixed reality"

      Seriously, you will need this when the casino-capitalistic economy comes crashing down while crying hordes invade the country because someone wanted to "banish evil" from faraway lands. Your joy will be interrupted from time to time as rolllng brownouts will cause the gear to go down (you wanted green power, right?) so while you wait for a reboot you can admire mobs of oppressed minorities expressing righteous anger at not getting more money from government, rioting in the streets, torching cars and stores.

      Then the postman rings to bring your your daily dose of Soylent and Coffiest.

      It will be like Lem's "Futurological Congress", only more immediate.

    2. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: "Mixed reality"

      Mix: 2 parts fantasy, 1 part reality, 3 parts bloody-mindedness, and 4 parts delusion. Shake Well.

      Dilute. Succuss. Repeat.

      Satya Nadella: "We've produced something so strong for our loyal customer base."

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Mixed reality"

        There are either people who don't like "The Futurological Congress" or else we have progressive drive-by voters...

      2. Captain DaFt

        Re: "Mixed reality"

        Not homeopathy, this:

        In the beginning was the plan.

        And then came the assumptions.

        And the assumptions were without form.

        And the plan was without substance.

        And darkness was upon the face of the workers.

        And they spoke among themselves saying,

        "It is a crock of shit and it stinketh."

        And the workers went unto their supervisors and said,

        "It is a pail of dung and none may abide the odor thereof."

        And the supervisor went unto their managers and said,

        "It is a container of excrement and it is very strong, such that none may abide by it."

        And the managers went unto their directors, saying,

        "It is a vessel of fertilizer, and none may abide its strength."

        And the directors spoke among themselves, saying to one another,

        "It contains that which aids plant growth and it is very strong."

        And the directors went unto the vice presidents, saying unto them,

        "It promotes growth and is very powerful."

        And the vice presidents went unto the president, saying unto him,

        "The new plan will promote the growth and vigor of the company, with powerful effects."

        And the president looked upon the plan and saw that it was good.

        And the plan became policy.

        This is how shit happens.

        http://ogun.stanford.edu/~bnayfeh/plan.html

        1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          Re: the plan

          wow

          http://ogun.stanford.edu/~bnayfeh/plan.html

          Thats like one of those .edu links from the mid 90s that the internet was built on back then , along with geocities homepages

          ahh the good old days, before the masses got online and chavved the place up.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    align

    my ass, Jesus...

    1. Dadmin
      Thumb Down

      Re: align

      Yes, they are "super aligned"... with the good old trusty, can't think of anything else, desktop metaphor. yawn.

      Did these idiots every watch ANY episodes of Star Trek Any Generation? Holy buckyballs! Let's get to the future by NOT repeating the crappy desktop friggin' metaphor. Again.

  5. YARR

    In Virtual Reality...

    ... Microsoft and Intel successful will be.

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