Saturday, August 30, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
At Kent (School, Kent, CT), technology is part of the fabric of education. We use it in many ways in many places every day. It is transparent and real.
We are a pioneer in the Anytime Anywhere Learning (AAL) program (1995) and were one of the first 30 schools to commit to this integration of laptops in education. Our program includes classroom use of technology and campus-wide use of tablet PCs in a comprehensively networked, fully switched environment with high speed access to the both the commercial Internet and the academic Internet2. We are much more like a small college than a high school which makes sense -- that's where we prepare our students to succeed.
Technology, Kent School Academic Life
Here are four questions to consider asking references provided by a prospective new teacher or school administrator. I adapted them to school hires from Jessica Stillman's post How to Get the Truth from References.
1. What did the applicant learn about and by using Tablet PCs and other advanced communication technologies while with you (including in preservice preparation).
2. What single career suggestion about increasing student learning rates with advanced communication technologies would you offer the applicant?
3. How did the applicant respond to various supervision styles, especially about the craft of learning with mobile PCs?
4. Would you hire/rehire this person, and why?
What would you add
See this tablet? It's new from NEC and features the same monotonous specs (1.6GHz Atom, 512MB-1GB RAM and 80GB HD) that we see in those cheapie mini-notebooks like the Asus Eee. Running XP or Vista and loaded with a 12 or 15-inch touchscreen, it's by no means beautiful, but this NEC could be the forebear of a new netbook-tablet market. We don't have pricing or release details at this time, but we'll keep a lookout, just for you. [Akihabara News]
First of all, futari has informed us of several products that PhotoFast released recently (in Asia, at least - Futari doesn't know if and when they will be released in other regions): the long-awaited PSP dual adapter (CR-3100) and the other dual adapter, the CR-5400 which converts two microSDHC to one MS Pro Duo. Here's what Futari had to say about it:
32 GB mounted on the back of the PSP and switching memory sticks is an annoyance of the past. In my case it's enough for all my ROMs, ISOs, video and music files. That's more flash storage than most subnotebooks have. 64 GB is possible but it all depends on the PSP firmware which might set the limit lower.
He also provided us with new info on PhotoFast's new SSD Drives. Essentially, these drives allow you to build a low-cost SSD with just a few flash memory cards. Here's a quick overview from Futari:
- CR-9000 SSD SATA RAID 0 - 2.5" harddrive enclosure for max. six SDHC memory cards
- CR-7500 SSD SATA RAID 1, NRAID - 2.5" harddrive enclosure for max. two Compact Flash cards
- CR-7300 SSD SATA/miniUSB RAID 0/1 - adapter card for one Compact Flash card,
- max. capacity 2TB(!)
- CR-1000 series - adapters for one Compact Flash card to SATA, IDE, ZIF or CF 50 Pin
- Both drives are user configurable "adapter-drives" (basically an adapter card in a 2.5" alu harddrive case).
- CR-9000 can take up to 6 SDHC memory cards (max. 6x32 GB = 192 GB) and CR-7500 holds 2 CF cards.
- SATA interface, RAID capable, shock-proof and energy-saving cause there are no moving parts. Perfect for laptops and subnotebooks.
Bootup time from cold boot:
- 75 secs in total until all icons on desktop available and system ready
- (57 secs until desktop first appears)
- 20 secs to complete
- 17 secs
- Macbook Pro 100GB Hitachi 2.5" HDD 7200rpm: 113g
- CR-9000 (empty): 67g
- 1 SDHC card: 2g
Again, a hearty thanks to Hitori Futari!
- 64 GB mem storage in PSP possible via PhotoFast card adapter
- More PhotoFast accessory pictures and info from Computex 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
See this tablet? It's new from NEC and features the same monotonous specs (1.6GHz Atom, 512MB-1GB RAM and 80GB HD) that we see in those cheapie mini-notebooks like the Asus Eee. Running XP or Vista and a loaded with a 12 or 15-inch touchscreen, it's by no means beautiful, but this NEC could be the forbearer of a new netbook-tablet market. We don't have pricing or release details at this time, but we'll keep a lookout, just for you. [Akihabara News]
Fashion aside though, the specs aren’t anything [...]
When the HTC Shift [...]
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
(I found these notestoward an online lit review of Tablet PC schools; created and not posted over a year ago. It may assist a teacher prepare a research proposal or proposal to use or upgrade uses of Tablet PCs in a school. I'll try to update and refine this draft as a new post sooner than later.)
It's almost grant proposal writing season again. Here's a starting collection of online sources about schools using Tablet PC. Some sources are newer than others.
Together, they indicate that thousands of students and teachers in 130 plus schools use mobile PCs.
Maybe these references will provide that extra margin of confidence your administrator needs to approve you submitting successful requests to use mobile PCs in your classroom.
About Tablet PCs and Education
WhatIsNew tags reports about Tablet PCs, ultra mobile PCs, and education. This is one of the oldest continuing online news services about personal computing and its ecosystem, including education. WIN now focuses on the mobile PC ecosystem, especially advancements in pen technologies and how people are using these systems to be more productive wherever they may be.
Bill Gates, Microsoft's chairman and chief software architect said Friday that someday tablet PCs will replace textbooks for all students. "And so the teacher can customize the material, they can quiz the student. That student can have that tablet with them wherever they go and it's actually lighter than the textbooks and more flexible, richer in terms of what it can offer."
Remarks by Bill Gates, Chairman and Chief Software Architect, Microsoft Corporation at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign February 24, 2004. ... JAMES J. STUKEL (President, University of Illinois) said computing is deeply embedded in the culture of this campus, and we are proud to say we have maintained our edge. Our students, faculty and staff enjoy more than 47,000 network connections by which we connect to the world, and people connect to us. More than 1 million times a week, people log on to the online catalogue of the University of Illinois Library, which is the third, only to Harvard and Yale, in size of its collection. And this campus is a giant in research and development in science and engineering. We have more than 80 centers, labs, and institutes where important, life-altering work is underway. Among them is the widely known National Center for Supercomputing Applications, which is helping to build the future of high performance cyber infrastructure. And this new office here at the far edge of the campus is the Beckman Institute for Science and Technology where 600 researchers collaborate, and finally I would be remiss not to mention the investments in R&D brought to the happy place of having two of our faculty members win Nobel Prizes.
Robert Williams of the Microsoft Tablet PC Team discusses on a Channel 9 podcast origins of tablets, including at the University of Illinois.
This white paper is based on information gathered at the Tablet PC and Computing Curriculum workshop (August 4, 2004). Microsoft Research sponsored the workshop, which was hosted by the University of Washington Computer Science and Engineering Department. The 32 invited attendees were faculty members from a variety of schools, including four-year colleges, research universities, and minority-serving institutions.
Tony Chen and others at MIT offer a case study about Positivo Informatica - The Tablet PC Textbook: The challenge of new markets and technology adoption.
This Illinois Talking Books project has been designed to evaluate various digital book formats, technologies, delivery methods for eBook and audio book content that can be delivered to users via Tablet PCs using the Internet.
When integrating Tablet PC technologies with other advances in the computing sciences, undergraduate computing educators must re-think what one teaches students and how one enable students to learn. Use similar principles in other levels of education.
ConferenceXP is an initiative of Microsoft Research. We’re exploring how to make wireless classrooms, collaboration, and distance learning a compelling, rich experience by assuming the availability of emerging and enabling technologies, such as high-bandwidth networks, wireless devices, Tablet PCs, and the advanced features in Microsoft® Windows® XP.
Interview wih Katherine Clark, Principal, Ocoee Middle School, the first public school in the nation to put Tablet PCs in the hands of students in 2002-2003 academic year, that a class of seventh graders used daily for math or reading. This was successful.
Hinsdale Township High School District 86 in Hinsdale, Illinois, supplies more than 300 of its faculty with Toshiba Portege(R) M200 Tablet PCs as replacements for desktop computers, and provides 250 tablets for daily student use in selected courses.
New Trier High School, Winnetki, IL newsletter discusses using Tablet PCs with projectors to create ultimate whiteboards, grading papers with annotation features, and teachers moving around the room while computing.
Brookfield Zoo’s Every Student is a Scientist (ESS): Using Technology to Foster Inclusive Learning pilot program partnership with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is on a list of the most innovative technology programs in the nation. ESS uses Tablet PCs with wireless connections to allow CPS students with visual, hearing, or physical impairments to explore conservation concepts and work alongside classmates who without disabilities.
The Cornwallis School in Maidstone, Kent, conducted a pilot study to experiment with using Tablet PCs to streamline learning and encourage early interaction with technology. The study was very successful and has led to the integration of Tablet PCs across the school and its extended community. “The Tablet PC makes it easy for students to share information with each other. This means they are less reliant on teachers as a source of information. A teacher using a Tablet PC imaginatively will deliver significant benefits,” said Mike Wood, Head Teacher, Cornwallis School. Benefits from use of Tablet PCs include new dimensions for learning and teaching in the classroom and at home, note taking made easier, reduced paper and costs, network homework, and knowledge sharing.
Case studies about Tablet PCs in this school serve as excellent sources for assembling a case statement for deploying Tablets in more schools.
Chris DeHerrera summarizes a news article about schools requiring students to use Tablet PCs in schools.
Karlen Communications offers an article with many links about Tablet Technology and People with Disabilities.
Software included with the bid purchase price (special pricing) for students attending the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy is Windows XP (Tablet PC Edition), Microsoft Office, and antivirus software (for staff and students). CDWG has agreed to extend IMSA special pricing to you and have a web site you may use to purchase the tablet computer. The recommended tablet computers all come with wireless networking built-in. Instructional strategies will change with the laptops. Assessments will likely change.
Tablet PC's are becoming de rigueur for freshmen at De La Salle Institute, according to Brother Michael Quirk, president of the private Catholic college prep. "We believe we're the first high school in the city going to tablets," says Quirk, who sees Tablets as powerful and more flexible classroom tools than desktops or laptops (notebooks).
Invicta Girls Grammar school purchased 15 Tablet PCs with the intention of assessing their suitability for use by the schools teachers and pupils.
Global Friends: Your PowerPoint Introduction An Internet Hotlist on Taipei, a PowerPoint partnership program with Schools with Tablets in Taipei, Taiwan and Villa Duchesne/Oak Hill School.
John Dell, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology The Tablet PC – A New Tool for a New Age Presenter - How Tablet PC is used to prepare and deliver lectures, conduct and record discussions, and do live calculationsin AP Physics-C class will be demonstrated. Class notes easily go live to the web on a daily basis, as dohandwritten solutions to sample problems, quizzes, and tests. MATH JOURNAL, a new software tool forautomatic, real-time, solution of systems of equations and models (including systems of ordinary differentialequations of the type found in physics) introduced in handwritten form will also be shown
CDW-G White Paper: One-To-One Computing What began as a visionary experiment a few years ago is fast becoming a widespread and highly effective educational practice: one-to-one student computing. In 1:1 computing, each student is assigned a notebook or Tablet PC, connected to the Internet, and taught by a classroom teacher with a similar device. The result has been a transformation in education.
In Higher Education
In Summer, 2004 , Mayville State University, Mayville, ND, became the first campus to issue TabletPC notebook computers to all students and faculty. The computer issued is the Gateway M275.
Microsoft Research announced the eleven recipients of the Tablet PC Technology, Curriculum, and Higher Education 2005 RFP awards, totaling $500,000 (USD) in funding. The objective of this RFP is to use it as a catalyst to encourage educators to apply resources toward the revising, updating, and validating curriculum and pedagogy in conjunction with tablet technology in higher education.
Northwestern University Information Technology offers a review of Tablet PCs. Keenan E. Dungey, Chemistry Program, University of Illinois at Springfield (Technology Day 2005). Classroom Instruction with a Tablet PC consists of PowerPoint slides.
Kathy Ford, at the University of Illinois Faculty Summer Institute 2006 held a session Take Two Tablets and Call Me in the Morning. The “Tablet PC” is being adopted by several fields, including nursing and engineering. She showed how a tablet is different from a conventional laptop and how instructors can use it to enhance teaching, maintain a paperless classroom and engage students in active learning.
Welcome to Illinois as a MS-Tech student beginning in August of 2006. he program recommends Tablet PC (HP Compaq tc4400 Tablet PC). This is a perfect computer to take notes in class, do homework and work with your team members. Many class rooms and buildings have wireless connectivity and you can easily take advantage of this using a laptop.
University of Illinois recommends Tablet PCs to students. It is very useful to have a computer while you are at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. We recommend that you purchase a Table PC. Check for a list of university negotiated tablet PCs from Fujitsu and HP.
Ed Garay, Assistant Director, Academic Computing and Communications Center, and Director of the UIC Instructional Technology Lab (ITL), University of Illinois at Chicago comments about the mature design of the Fujitsu Stylistic ST4000 Tablet PC.
Tony Hursh describes the Tablet PC, gives some technical details, compares the Tablet PC to other forms of computer, provides an example of actual classroom use at the University of Illinois, and suggests further research on, and potential applications of, this technology in classroom instruction.
The Department of Atmospheric Science (DAS)at University of Illinois introduced the use of a Tablet PC to present lecture material to the Introduction to Meteorology and Severe and Hazardous Weather classes.
Tablet PCs in the Classroom webcast by presenter: Mitch Theys, Computer Science, University of Illinois Chicago.
Randal Jaffe offers online discussion about Teaching with the Tablet PC in Physiology and Biophysics.
Educational Technology, University of Illinois Springfield offers tablet PCs for faculty check-out.
Higher Education HP Technology for Teaching Grant Initiative recipients, 2006.
A University Business article asks the question, Is the Tablet PC the Future of College Computing? Rutledge Ellis-Behnke at MIT uses his tablet to help with lectures; with a special accessory, he transposes the display image onto a wall screen, uses his digital pen to add emphasis that everyone can see, then e-mails students the updated notes at the end of class. At Temple's School of Medicine, professor Tom Marino projects too, but adds diagrams and flowcharts in real time, and e-mails his notes to students during class. Now they can't say they didn't get the information.
The Educause 2005 theme The Tablet PC for Teaching and Learning offers the conference agenda with links to speakers. These presentations look at features and tools available with the Tablet PC that can enhance the classroom experience. Use of the ink annotation feature for grading, lectures, research, and collaboration were demonstrated, along with the voice and handwriting recognition capability of Tablet PCs.
Mitchel Theys and others at the University of Illinois Chicago Computor Science and College of Education discuss Tablet PCs and the Traditional Lecture.
Karen Chang, “iCare Worksheet in the Pocket PC and the Tablet PC”, Regenstrief Center Health Care Delivery Systems workshop at Burton D. Morgan Center, Purdue University, W. Lafayette, IN on September 23, 2004.
The Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT)uses an application (which is currently in a proof-of-concept phase called "Hawk Tour") includes a Tablet PC that shows where you are, what's there, and how to get to other places on campus. The application has context awareness, which provides interesting functions as the user moves about the campus.
Joseph Trout, Jane Prey and others, Tablet PCs in Engineering Education. In this two hour workshop faculty will receive a hands-on introduction to the use of Presenter and OneNote along with a rudimentary drawing package.
Musings from Lanny Arvan, an economist at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, on learning technology with Tablets - pedagogy, the economics of, technical issues, the entire grab bag.
Mobile Computing (Tablet PCs) In Higher Education project at the Johns Hopkins University, generously funding by Hewlett Packard, has enabled the development of modified studio style instruction in introductory physics coures.
Tilman Wolf Receives Teaching Award from Hewlett-Packard. Wolf of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department (ECE) at UMass Amherst has received a highly competitive Technology for Teaching Award worth nearly $69,000 from the Hewlett-Packard Company. As part of the award, Hewlett-Packard is giving Dr. Wolf more than $53,000 worth of high-tech teaching equipment and $15,500 in unrestricted funds to pay for setting up this technology in the classroom.
Tablet PC Research
Microsoft External Research & Programs has supported more than 125 research projects at universities around the world in areas that include social computing (conferenceXP, classroom, Tablet-Based Computing including teaching, e-science, Compilers, Languages, and Runtimes, ... ), gaming, and robotics.
Rob R. Weitz and others offer the paper The Tablet PC for Faculty: A Pilot Project. They found that only a fraction of faculty are motivated to use tablet technology: roughly a third of faculty expressed an interest in replacing their notebook computer with a tablet computer" -- "generally, participating faculty did indeed use tablet functionality in their classes and were convinced that this use resulted in a meaningful impact on teaching and learning."
Linda Swarlis, Ph.D. Candidate, University of North Texas at poster session, poster # 48. Her title, How Cognitive Styles and Tablet PCs Impact Performance in Science Classrooms This research study examines to what extent field dependence, field independence, verbalizer, visualizer, high spatial, and low spatial cognitive styles, and the use of a tablet PC by girls impact classroom performance in a high school science class. Tablet PC usage, effective note-taking, and performance in tests in biology, chemistry, and physics classes will be examined. Does a tablet PC enhance learning for students? Does using the tablet PC enhance spatial ability for girls? Do cognitive styles impact satisfaction levels with the tablet PC, self-efficacy in technology for girls, and use levels that fully utilize the unique features of the tablet PC?
May 22 , 2006 According to the Computer Industry Almanac, PCs In-Use Surpassed 900M in 2005. USA Accounts for Over 25% of all PCs In-Use. PCs per capita in the U.S. have reached 78% and will remain higher than cell phones for a few more years. The U.S. has a large PC usage lead with over three times as many PCs as the second place Japan. The U.S. accounts for over 25% of all PCs in-use compared to 4.6% of worldwide population. PCs in-use growth is slowing, but the U.S. is on track to have more PCs in-use than people in five or six years. In-use growth will continue because the PC is expanding its domain with new product categories such as Media Center PCs, tablet PCs, Ultra-Mobile PCs and handheld PCs. The rapid growth of mobile PCs is the major reason for current and future PC expansion.
A list of links to popular press articles about Tablet PC uses in various venues, including education.
Steve Potash, President, Open eBook Forum, presented PowerPoint slides about Digital Publishing Opportunities and Challenges Presented by the Tablet PC.
eFuzion: development of a pervasive educational system Annual Joint Conference Integrating Technology into Computer Science Education archive Proceedings of the 10th annual SIGCSE conference on Innovation and technology in computer science education includes papers.
Straight forward mechanisms like online catalogs provide a powerful means for easy access to complex content and content-rich applications independent of location.
Allscripts Healthcare Solutions (NASDAQ: MDRX), a leading provider of point-of-care decision support tools for physicians, to Pioneer Applications in Support of Microsoft Tablet PC Initiative.
Jeffrey L. Popyack and Bruce Char of Drexel University offered an introductory-level workshop at SIGCSE 2006 Workshops. Their presentations include a brief overview of the Tablet PC software development environment, resources available for developers, and instruction on using the SDK, with suggestions for usage in software design and team projects throughout the computer science curriculum.
The George Lucas Education Foundation Learning Interchange shares examples of innovative practices in K-12 education taken from topics and stories archived in the vast resources of The George Lucas Educational Foundation. You will find topics showing technology integration, social and emotional learning, project-based learning, authentic assessment and more in the GLEF Learning Interchange. Also, Edutopia online with free teaching modules.
Curtis Bonk describes what he calls an education perfect storm. This includes PowerPoint slides with data about emerging technology, enhanced pedagogy, learner demand, and erased budgts useful for current source leads.
New Zealand-based Ambient Design Ltd., creator of ArtRage, is the $100,000 grand prize winner of the Microsoft® Tablet PC contest Does Your Application Think in Ink? Also lists ten other awardees.
Annotate, Edit and Comment with Tablet PCs PDF Files testimonials.
In connection with the July 2006 bar examination, the Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar will permit as many as 270 examinees to use their personal laptop computers (including Tablets) to answer the essay portions of the test.
The Impact of Tablet PCs and Pen-based Technology on Education: Vignettes, Evaluations, and Future Directions (Paperback)
Watch for updates to this reference list. And, please, let me know of your reference posts, adds, your favorites, and what you can't find.
If you haven't done so already, Teach, check out the mobile youth report 2008, with a free download.
1.1 billion consumers aged under 30 with a combined spend on mobile of a quarter of a trillion dollars ($270 billion)!
Let's see, now. What's the teacher to student ratio for using mobiles? How does this ratio relate to curricula teachers tout as preparing students for the 21st century?
I wonder if we as classroom teachers can ever catch up with those now under 30 years of age and their familiarity with open learning. I heard a speaker at the Democrat convention propose a cadre of new teachers. That makes sense, especially if it can attract under 30s who use mobiles to learn. What do you think?
By my research and calculations I see 33 design wins for the Intel Menlow MID platform. We’ve seen a lot from the likes of Benq, Willcom and Gigabyte in the last 6 months but there are a number of MIDs out there that have been very quiet and [...]
Albatron’s “Tee PC” is all that you need with not an inch to spare
As the article on HotHardware.com mentions, it comes out of the box with Windows CE 6.0 [...]
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Did you catch the medal count at the 2008 Education Olympics? Finland earned the most with 35, United States the least with 1, behind Estonia with 08. Kudos to the U.S. 9th grade CivEd team for distinguishing fact from opinion, interpret political cartoons, and comprehend political messages!
The pic comes direct from Nvision where The Tech Report got some hands on. They seem to [...]
- TouchKit Run for C++ devs for creating touchscreen apps: $1580 = frameless 70cm x 50cm multi-touch screen + calibrated infrared camera + SW pack
- Touchscreen ordering at restaurants (TheAge.com)
- On mini-notebooks or Netbooks: "Right now, the prices range from $300 to $800," says Via's Brown. "In the next year, $200 to $700 will be the range."
- Students at Klein School District in Texas get Tablet PCs, starting with Klein Oak High School
- Congratulations to rugged Tablet PC manufacturer, Mobile Demand for making Inc 500 list!
- Albatron Tee PC is a Windows CE 6 device with 400MHz ARM926, 7" display, 128MB, 128MB storage, WiFi, Bluetooth, & camera options
- First look at Fujitsu Lifebook T5010 Tablet PC
- Gigabyte Netbook Tablet PC: 8.9" display, swivel hinge, Intel Atom, 1GB DDR2, WiFi, Bluetooth, 1.3M camera = $799
Monday, August 25, 2008
FancyPants is a GUI development system. Announced in a press release that I missed last week you’ll see that they [...]
Over the last week I used it (in Medion Akoya form) alongside a Kohjinsha SC3 costing twice as much and its been [...]
The P1610 is a well-respected ultra mobile workhorse. Good build quality, hi-res screen, fingerprint reader, heavy-touch screen for reduced vectoring, [...]
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Ideapad S Series order page.
Several of us blogged that last year was going to be the year of touch. With resistive touch UMPCs, dual mode Tablet PCs, and then the iPhone, there’s no doubt this prediction came true.
Well, I think many of us are on board to make another prediction: This is the year of multi-touch. There’s the Dell Latitude XT Tablet PC with a capacitive/active digitizer which supports the pen and multi-touch, the announcement that Windows 7 will support multi-touch, Microsoft’s Surface Computer, and numerous one-of/homebrew multi-touch projects. Hey, even Google has a multi-touch library. Oh, and of course, there’s the iPhone (and other Apple products), with its multi-touch capabilities.
A New York Times article today lays out the case that we’ll be seeing more multi-touch systems in the near future too. As part of this trend they point to the iPhone, the fact that Windows 7 will support multi-touch, and the impact of new multi-touch hardware from NTrig and Wacom.
I have to say, though, that several things stuck out in the article that I think need some revisiting. First, in the caption to the Dell Latitide pictures, the NYT’s article says:
“A multitouch screen by N-trig, on the Dell Latitude XT laptop-tablet hybrid, responds to a pen as well as fingertips.”
Catch the phrasing? A laptop-tablet hybrid? Yep, OEMs don’t want to talk Tablets. The article clarifies the distinction in an even more confusing manner, describing the Dell Latitide XT as a:
“hybrid computer that’s smaller than a laptop but bigger than a tablet model”
Funny, isn’t it?
Anyway, as multi-touch spreads–particularly with the release of Windows 7–I’m predicting that Tablet PCs are going to be one of the early adopters. If Microsoft isn’t too careful here, it could wind up having its efforts lumped in with Tablets that no one wants to call Tablets. This is nowhere’s land and the start of a death spiral for Windows’ permutatation of multi-touch.
The other thing I think, which could cause a hiccup for multi-touch adoption, is Windows 7 itself. No one from Microsoft has talked about the implementation yet or the API, but if it’s not well done it very well may splinter and harm multi-touch adoption. Already we see NTrig go out on its own with a multi-touch SDK. Is this a harbinger of things to come?
Microsoft is also in last-place right now with its non-existent multi-touch SDK. There’s the iPhone, Google’s SDK, NTrig’s, and possibly one from Wacom when it launches its multi-touch digitizer later this year. And think about it, if Windows 7’s multi-touch is targetted to Tablet PCs, it may do no better than second place in adoption, playing second fiddle to the iPhone, which is on track to sell 40 million units this year. Tablet PCs are selling nowhere near that.
My point is that numbers of users and numbers of developers create a standard and if Microsoft’s multi-touch isn’t up to par, we could see so much splintering in the multi-touch market around Windows 7 to depress unit sales numbers, keeping the prices high, and the adoption rate even slower. Do we need another $2500 Dell-like Tablet with multi-touch? No way.
Wacom’s CEO hints at the pricing problem saying that for multi-touch to succeed “the cost is going to have to come down substantially.” Yep. This is a big problem. Pricing has been a problem with Tablets from the get go. And then there’s the whole UMPC overpricing. And if the Dell Latitude XT is any indication, we’re going to see price problems with any multi-touch, Tablet products too.
So here’s my take. For Windows 7’s version of multi-touch to really take off Microsoft needs to think more generically. It needs to think in terms of whiteboards and onscreen virtual instruments and onscreen keyboards and enabling multiple mice/users and multi-touch point of sale systems, and of course multi-touch on small, dedicated devices (phones being one of them) and so on. Microsoft has to think big and its implementation has to live up to the multi-touch dream.
And this leads to my last point about the NYT’s article and multi-touch in general: Living up to the multi-touch dream. As some of you may know I’ve been experimenting with a Dell Latitude XT over the last couple weeks, trying out the multi-touch drivers. And I have to say, the Dell Tablet doesn’t live up to the multi-touch dream. I haven’t had a chance to play with the NTrig multi-touch SDK, so I’ve been limited to the Flicks-like multi-touch gestures that NTrig provides. I’ll write another post that explains these gestures in more detail later, but let me say that more Flicks is not the answer. The feedback isn’t real time. It’s not smooth. It’s clunky. Apps like IE have to be tweaked with multi-touch in mind. If it’s not, it’s not going to live up to the dream. And is there anyone that thinks IE is going to be optimized for a multi-touch experience? Nope. It’s probably a safe bet that the iPhone is going to continue to lead the way here–for at least another development cycle or two–which is probably what, three to five years?
Don’t get me wrong: I’m agreeing that we’re going to see the influence of more and more multi-touch and I think the next 12 months are so is going to be a significant inflection point. However, will this period live up to the multi-touch dream? I think a big part of this is going to depend on what Microsoft delivers with Windows 7. This is going to be very interesting to watch. All eyes will be on PDC and the new Windows 7 Engineering blog, authored by Steven Sinofsky and Jon DeVaan blog.