When we last visited the Lenovo Thinkpad T400s, we gave it a relatively good score based on its sleek, black matte chassis, its comfortable ergonomic keyboard and its reliable on-the-go specifications, which included a 128GB SSD. Now, the T400s has had a minor overhaul in hardware (including a touchscreen LCD) and software and we were lucky enough to get some hands-on playtime with the still-in-beta SimpleTap multi-touch software.
You've seen the demos of multitouch, and you might even have a PC that supports Windows 7's multitouch, but what can you do with it? If you're in the market for a PC that supports multi-touch, Microsoft is making a multitouch PC even more appealing by announcing its Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows 7.
Microsoft Touch Pack is a product of the collaboration between the Windows and Surface development teams, and as a result, Microsoft Touch Pack includes three Microsoft Surface applications and three casual games. Here's what you get:
Microsoft Surface Globe enables you to navigate the Virtual Earth 3D version of the world by touch, and lets you get local information as you "fly" by particular places.
Microsoft Surface Collage brings one of the original Microsoft Surface "touch and move the photos" demos to life, adding the ability to convert a collage into a desktop background.
Microsoft Surface Lagoon is a multi-touch enabled screensaver - watch fish gather around your "submerged" finger.
Casual gamers can enjoy the Rube Goldbergesque Microsoft Blackboard, a mashup of death rays and air hockey in Microsoft Rebound, and float origami on the water in Microsoft Garden Pond.
To find out who gets their hands on Microsoft Touch Pack first, join us after the jump.
It all started while we were researching an article on future user interfaces. Touch interfaces are hardly futuristic at this point, but multi-touch hardware like the Microsoft Surface or the iPhone is just starting to become a big deal, and we decided to see what big things are going on in that field. What we found that surprised us the most wasn’t anything about the future of multitouch; it was about something that people are doing right now.
There is, it turns out, a whole community of very smart folks out there on the internet perfecting the art of building DIY multi-touch surfaces. The process isn’t exactly simple, but the results we saw were stunning: multitouch surfaces with responsiveness rivaling Microsoft’s $12,000 offering, built in a garage on a shoestring budget. “Future UI article be damned,” we thought, “we’ve gotta build one of these for ourselves.”
And so we did. We documented the whole process, from start to finish, so that you can try building one of your own, if you’re so inspired. We’re not going to claim to have done everything perfectly the first time, so think of this article as more of a build log than a definitive how-to. Still, we’re very pleased with how the table turned out. We’re so pleased, in fact, that we put together a video showing the table in motion.
Read on to see the video and find out how we made it!
We're not sure what to make of Moixa's 'Sphere' I/O interface device, for which the company was recently awarded a patent. Moixa describes the device as an "apple sized multi-touch sphere that can be used to display the world (e.g. Google Earth), browse web pages, or control interactive games." Sounds intriguing.
Moixa says the device also weighs about the same as an apple, and can be collapsed to be either used or stored in its second form. This could change, of course, as the concept remains in render form, just as Art.Lebedev's OLED keyboard did before a shipping product finally emerged.
"In the future, phones and portable computing devices reduce to input/output and power. Sphere reinvents the look and feel of the advanced portable device as we rely more on services, memory and mapping stored on the web," commented Simon Daniel, Moixa founder.
Anyone see this concept becoming an actual product? Hit the jump and post your thoughts.
Gizmodo's Wilson Rothman installed Windows 7 Beta on an HP TouchSmart PC over the weekend, and offers a detailed look at how multitouch works, complete with several videos. Some highlights:
If you install Windows 7 Beta on a system that's already running the manufacturer's touch software, a clean install (instead of upgrading from Windows Vista) provides a truer multitouch experience with fewer connfiguration headaches
You can use multitouch as a mouse replacement; running Windows Media Center; zooming, rotating, and drawing; and for gaming
Patent #7,479,949 (better known as Touch screen device, method, and graphical user interface for determining commands by applying heuristics) has been awarded to Apple at long last. And while this is mighty good for Apple, this brings a lot of potential trouble for other multitouch smartphones in the future.
The Palm Pre is one of the many devices that should be looking over its shoulder. Given that it supports swiping and pinching, much like that of the iPhone, it has plenty to worry about (namely, Apple’s legal department).
And, if the rumor is true about Tim Cook’s thirst for the blood of anyone that’s looking to rip off Apple’s intellectual property, then just about anyone that’s looking to swipe, pinch or squeeze their way to a new phone experience should be careful to tread lightly.
With CES being known for showcasing 100+ inch displays, a 50-inch screen seems hardly worth a mention. Throw a multitouch interface into the mix, however, and suddenly that same 50-inch display starts to tickle our geek fancy.
Engadget posted a video showing attendees playing with the swank display, which looks as though someone hung a Microsoft Surface tabletop on the wall. Not a whole lot is known about the display, other than it belongs to Samsung, but we imagine it will cost a pretty penny should it ever see the light of day.
In the coming days and years the uses for multitouch will only grow, some will act as innovative new pieces of technology that the world will benefit from, and then there will be others that lack practical use. This is the latter.
While the PQ-DVD made app (the same folks responsible for the iPod video conversion software) looks like a Microsoft Surface made just for synching media to and from an iPod (because it is), it just doesn’t look useful. The tasks, while pretty, would be far easier to complete with the traditional mouse and keyboard.
Admittedly, the software is easy on the eyes – nobody’s questioning that. But ultimately, this is a party trick. Sure it’s cool to show off when people are around, and you might use it once or twice when you’re home alone, but you and I both know that there are far easier ways of opening that bottle of beer than with your molars.
As the UK's PC Pro website puts it, SecondLight is like "Surface on steroids." A product of Microsoft's Cambridge, England research labs, SecondLight projects an image through the table, enabling a translucent surface placed on top of the Surface tabletop to display additional information, such as place names, an interior view of an object, and much more.
To learn more about how SecondLight works, join us after the jump.