Saturday, September 13, 2008

Microsoft Surface in the house

I'm happy to announce today that our embargo on surface blogging has been dropped, and I can announce that we upgraded our standard coffee table to a Microsoft Surface about two months ago and have started developing some basic applications for it.

The surface comes loaded with some pretty basic applications to start - a small keyboard, some applications to demo its ability to display, resize, and manipulate photos, four-way pong, a few basic test apps showing the types of information it can process, and a water simulation that ripples when touched.

My reactions thus far have been pretty mixed.  On the one hand, nothing about the surface feels sleek, elegant, or in any way portable - it's huge and heavy - but it's alpha technology at this point and meant to be a table, so all of that should be forgiven.  It uses a camera to detect multi-touch (as opposed to pressure or heat in other devices), which has some real benefits: it's able to detect and react to many objects other than the human hand.  While the test applications aren't anything very impressive, they're fun and so intuitive that the technology is invisible, and that's what good user experience is all about.

Another thing that's worth mentioning is how helpful Microsoft has been in learning to program for the Surface.  We identified a few employees really interested in doing R&D work on the surface, and Microsoft did a lot to bring them up to speed, including conducting a special training session for them in Redmond.  Say what you will about office or Windows - Microsoft knows how to treat developers.

I'm pretty excited to see what our team comes up with for the surface.  Interfaces like this are going to be everywhere in the not-too-distant future, and it's exciting to be working with some of that technology now.

If you're in Denver and interested, stop by our office sometime and check it out.

4 comments:

Richard Monson-Haefel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Richard Monson-Haefel said...

I got a chance to see Surface demoed at Web 2.0 Expo today and I found it to be the coolest thing I've seen in a very long time. I would love to develop applications for the device - its like seeing "The Demo" when the mouse and GUI interface was first shown to the public.

Chris said...

Hi, you say, that microsoft knows how to treat developers. And say what you want about office or windows... I think, that Microsoft is a very good concern. Ok, it has the monopole in the world an they use this, but think about this power of know how to make a small business to the biggest in the world. Congratulations Microsoft i say... That's my thought...

RJ said...

@chris: What sort of monopole are we talking about here? Magnetic monopoles are purely hypothetical, so I don't know what relevance they'd have on microsoft:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetic_monopole