Portability and integration has a way to go before it's possible, but you'll gradually be able to pull up more and more of your desktop from a tablet, smartphone or other device of your choice.
Later (Win10) the integration and portability will be good enough that it will hardly matter what piece of hardware you're using to work on your "desktop." It could be a phone, game console, generic terminal and keyboard in the car (on the passenger side) or wherever else people sit still for more than five minutes.
Give kids the Legos and let them build what they want
ISVs and hardware vendors will have a party coming up with new form factors and cramming usable computers into everyplace you currently see advertising. After a couple of years of letting you use the machines free if you look at the ads, they'll start charging and that will become the big drawback of your "hardware spending."
The three things that could make all this possible are:
- Inclusion and integration of the hypervisor to separate hardware functions from the end-user operating environment.
- Consolidation of data, networking, security, file system and application development environments to remove the complexities of a single OE that uses data or application resources housed on a laptop, internal servers, cloud-based networks or apps, single-app SAAS providers and a variety of devices on which to run.
- Licensing to make it all possible.
Of all the complications that could (and will) prevent or delay this kind of consolidation from happening, the single most dangerous one is the possibility (likelihood) than neither Microsoft nor other vendors will move quickly enough on licensing to change the basic unit of currency in the computer business from the Computer to the End User.
Licenses that remain attached to a single piece of hardware will stop even the most sophisticated, high-performing, tightly integrated user operating environment from working at all.
Universal mobility doesn't count if you have to lug your laptop around like a giant security dongle or magnetic ID card.
All licenses—for operating systems, applications, data, databases, streaming applications, streaming content and anything else that can stream, live in the cloud or attach itself semi-permanently to the environment of a particular user has to be licensed for use in a single environment, not on a single machine.
The danger of licensing: Make the money follow you
That means treating customers as people and individuals, not machines and "seats."