Microsoft Joins Apple In Commercializing Multi-Touch Screens

from the coming-to-a-consumer-near-you dept

Multi-touch technology is going mainstream. Researchers have been talking about the power of multi-touch technology for quite some time. It's often referred to as "Minority Report" technology, as a multi-touch interface was used by characters in the movie, but it's been around for much longer. It got another burst of attention last year thanks to Jeff Han's demo of a multi-touch screen at the TED conference. However, it's always been in the realm of science fiction or research departments until recently. Apple famously is using a multi-touch interface on the iPhone, and tonight Microsoft announced a multi-touch interface for its new Microsoft Surface products -- which are more along the lines of what Jeff Han demonstrated. Basically, it's large screen-focused systems for interacting with content using a multi-touch interface. It's not quite down to the consumer level yet, as it appears Microsoft's first customers are mainly for commercial kiosks. Actually, almost all of the original customers are casinos -- with the one exception being T-Mobile, who will use it as a kiosk for providing info on mobile phones. However, what's pretty clear is that big tech companies are adopting the multi-touch interface in a big way -- and that likely means that we'll start seeing it in many more areas, especially within consumer devices. This doesn't mean an end to the mouse and keyboard as core input devices -- but multi-touch certainly opens up a whole new way of interacting with computing devices that can make them much more useful in ways that simply weren't possible with just a mouse and keyboard.

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  1. icon
    Mike (profile), 30 May 2007 @ 5:47am

    Re: Written by consumers, not techies

    Both analogue and digital touchscreens (digital touchscreens are just keyboards without keys) can register multiple touches, and I have personally written a program for a touch-screen thermostat that registers multiple touched points simultaneously -years ago-

    Hence my saying that it's not new. What is new, however, is the attempt to bring it to a much more consumer based audience. It really has NOT made it there.

    There is nothing innovative about it, the only reason that these kind of devices are not popular, is the same reason that only special functions use multi-key sequences - it's not comfortable to the user, and with touch-screens it is also highly inaccurate due to the fact that no person will use two styluses.

    You seem confused over what *innovation* is. It's taking the invention (which has been around for a while) and making it *useful*. You've proven that it hasn't been useful in the past. The whole point of this post is that companies like Apple and Microsoft are now innovating by making it useful to the average consumer.

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