I realize that this is a longer term project but it's vital and needs to be started ASAP! So please bear with me...
What I am about to suggest IS the way of the computing future. The technology is here now and improving daily, it just needs ALL your brilliant minds to make it happen on the scale it should be to become a new defacto standard in 21st century computing.
Augmented reality; I'm sure most here have at least heard of it.
We must prepare for its mass implementation now & beat the closed-source corporations to the punch!
As I say the technology is here but it's not yet integrated, atleast in the marketplace & not at all as I envision it. Ideally "it" would be integral to the OS and not just an addon.
So you have 2 main aspects or layers; a virtual 3D space which can be interacted with (ala Lawnmower Man) as well as the real world via sensors/cameras which can also be interacted with (augmented reality). and a final interface layer with some more traditional gui aspects.
Why you ask? The possibilities are limitless.. The virtual 3D space would become a completely immersive and visual method by which to locate and execute files and apps (among other things), and programs can more easily tap into new & creative ways to interact & display data.
And the applications for augmenting the real world with digital enhancements are countless.
So the virtual 3D layer should be standardized so that any 3D model in this format be usable, much like a CAD file has become a defacto standard for many 3D applications. Once imported as the "desktop" environment it can be interacted with simply with whatever input you have and APIs must be created for programmatical interaction.
It could be like you are in a game but it's your customized world, your construct.. Imagine, you turn your screen on and see a rendered 3D model of, anything really, but let's say a house. You can choose to start anywhere you like, let's say you start in the lounge. You see a replica of your tv, stereo, dining table etc. Instead of switching on your stereo you decide to head straight for your office in the next room. With a click or gesture you are there looking at your desk & filing cabinet. "Open file: Tax docs", you say as the filing cabinet opens and brings out your requested file.
It should be made fully optioned so the commands can be made by touch/click/gesture or voice at your discretion. Touch commands could be hidden behind objects &/or with passwords. So on an encrypted system, file permissions should include the ability to be seen in both the GUI and the prompt or just one or the other.
As for the AR aspect; a simple scenario to get the gist is, while mobile: You are looking through your visor which has a camera/sensor facing the outside world projecting it's source to the computer on your hip which you see layered together with the interface. You take your hand and choose a virtual ball on screen and pretend to throw it at the nearest wall and watch as it leaves your virtual hand on screen and bounce off the real wall.
Once we reach this stage with a safe, stable, easy-to-use OS, the sky is the limit!
This is the future! Wearable computer projects have already done very similar things but it really should be cooked right into the OS.
Other Must Haves:
Until phones are powerful enough to run all this full-fledged; there should be a new (html5?) standard for mobile apps that will also run on the PC on the side of the screen. Apps could have 2 states if required; one for the side (phone size) and one for a larger screen area. Or they can be made for the app/sidebar only (phone size only). This sidebar would accomodate multiple apps at once when installed on a workstation, scrollable down the side, etc. Many programs never require more than what a phone screen size offers and best suited to be a bit more out-of-the-way than popping up right over what you're working on.
I especially would love to see a good firewall implementation which need only popup in this app/sidebar when requesting permissions.
Ideally this app/sidebar standard would be compatible with future Android/Win8 apps as well as it's own kind.
A big ask? maybe but if we don't do it first, 'their' version will eventually come in some form or other and it will be full of crap and ads and spyware, believe that! And inferior!
Also, forgive me if Mint already has this but, there should be spell check EVERYWHERE (not just in Word etc), with much better databases than you usually get. Did I hear Win 8 has this? Furthermore the combination of this universal dictionary, speech and voice recognition must be incorporated into an Artificial Intelligence engine/wizard to anytime assist in tasks, management, macro-creation, etc. hands free!
I do have illustrations and other ideas for the OS interface but the above is the most crucial, radical and potent ideas to get across. Please tell me if you understand what I'm getting at and help me to make others understand, and get word out to every programmer who might be interested to get on board and help make this a reality!!!!! Thankyou