Microsoft man emphasises phones' future

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One of Microsoft's UK based thought leaders has indicated that smartphones will be the pivotal member of the trinity of devices with tablets and PCs in coming years.

Dave Coplin, Chief Envisioning Officer for Microsoft, told an audience at the Internet World conference in London that, although smartphones are now becoming ubiquitous, they will change the way people behave.

"We will have more and more access to information that will challenge what we do inside and outside of our organisations," he said, adding: "They will not be phones any more; they will be our windows to the digital world."

Their role in providing the quickest way to access information will be crucial, although tablets will also be important for functions that work effectively on touchscreens, and keyboard computers for work that needs a lot of typing and data input.

Coplin also stood by Windows 8 as a disruptive technology and argued that in the long term it could help users to become more creative. The operating system has had generally positive reviews but there have been criticisms, some expressed at the conference session, about the way the user interfaces work with a keyboard.

"We want to disrupt the way that people work, to get them doing more on touch enabled devices, but we're in a period of pain at the moment," he said.

He portrayed Windows 8 as part of a change that will make people more creative in the long term, and said that over three years they can change the way they think about technology.

The comments came towards the end of a presentation in which Coplin championed the cause of flexible working, suggesting that the traditional office space often hampers creativity and that people should have more freedom to find a place where they can best get a job done.