One of the most important application of the Operating Systems was organizing and displaying data. And the failure in doing so is represented by the number of the softwares installed to do so on our computers. Picasa being one of the better examples (for photo viewing /editing). People have different idea of what suits them in context of music players and libraries, and use it. And again here, in the context of the storing, organizing and using the multimedia content, OSes have lost the battle. And finally an ares which we intend to solve on a bigger scale, managing documents, there is not even a 3rd party software catering to our needs.
Today we have moved beyond OSes. We run applications for hours. Read with them and sleep with them. We have been using them so much, that what OS you are working on will not matter a thing if in the end it displays the content you are familiar with or prefer. Recent switching of people towards Mac is an example. Millions of net books are being released in the market with pre-installed ubuntu OS, after careful tweaks. The cloud computing is still 2-3 years away from solving the “problem of adoption”, and the Hype Cycle predicts the same.
Everyone on the subconscious level would agree that the significance of ‘kind’ of OS has vanished, or vanishing. The limits on what OS could do have already been breached. What remains next is the innovation in the way data is transferred, wireless. We are not far from reaching this stage as well. The notion that you just have a screen in your hands and everything is being done on ‘clouds’ is a strict function of the wireless capabilities and the related economics. But still future is not impossible, its just not completely predictable.