Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Displays Microsoft Input Devices Technology

Promised Microsoft Tablet 'No Thicker Than Sheet of Glass' 352

Posted by timothy
from the depends-how-thick-the-glass-is dept.
Barence writes Microsoft will deliver a touchscreen PC that is 'no thicker than a sheet of glass' within the next three years, according to the company's principal researcher. The device will be the next generation of Microsoft's Surface project, which currently houses a touchscreen PC in a deep cabinet that uses cameras to detect hand gestures and objects placed on the screen. According to Microsoft's Bill Buxton, 'Surface will become no thicker than a sheet of glass. It's not going to have any cameras or projectors because the cameras will be embedded in the device itself.' Microsoft is developing a new screen technology to make this possible. 'The best way to think about it is like a big LCD where there's a fourth pixel in every triad. So there's red, green, and blue pixels giving you light, and a fourth pixel which is a sensor that will capture stuff,' Buxton claims in an interview with The Globe and Mail."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Promised Microsoft Tablet 'No Thicker Than Sheet of Glass'

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @02:09AM (#33583658)

    I'll believe it when I see it. Otherwise it's just vaporware that will clog blogs with nonsensical hype.

  • Re:how thick? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Thanshin (1188877) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @02:36AM (#33583786)

    Now you understand the use of convincing your population that giving volumes in ping pong balls, areas in stadiums and data volume in libraries of Congress is perfectly fine.

  • by a_hanso (1891616) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @02:38AM (#33583792) Journal
    Haha I see what you mean. At least now if you don't trust your software to switch off the built in camera, you can at least put tape over it (I for one *never* trust software over mechanical switches -- mainly because I write software for a living and I know what's usually inside. i also use a 'dumb phone' because when I hit 'OFF' I want it to bloody TURN OFF) On the other hand though, can it capture actual images as opposed to shadows, and if so, how would it do that without a lens?
  • by am 2k (217885) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @02:39AM (#33583798) Homepage

    When you have nothing to compete against a product, just post a press release containing promises about whatever the marketing department can come up with.

    Given Microsoft's non-relevancy in the mobile area, this might fail horribly this time though.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @02:57AM (#33583878)

    and as long as a piece of string

  • by Haedrian (1676506) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @03:02AM (#33583884)

    Marketting: So, how thick will it be?
    Development: X cms thick
    Marketting: Cool, that's almost as thick as the glass in my family picture frame, "No Thicker Than Sheet of Glass" - perfect
    Development: Uh, but won't that be ambigious - and since the majority of people who are going to care enough to read this are going to have more intelligence than a potted plant - and actually question how thick the glass will be... won't this make us look like a bunch of idiots?
    Marketting: Sheet of Glass! Perfect.

  • by gurner (1373621) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @03:04AM (#33583890)

    Say what you like about Apple, if they announce it you can buy it shortly after.

  • by obarthelemy (160321) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @03:14AM (#33583926)

    or is MS so much at their wits' end that they don't even know which feature to hype for their "we'll do that in 3 years, honest, you can stop buying iPads now" PR campaigns ?

  • Re:how thick? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by harlows_monkeys (106428) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @03:41AM (#33584004) Homepage

    A stupid press release all round

    It wasn't a press release. It was an interview with Bill Buxton, a well-known pioneering computer scientist (SIGCHI Lifetime Achievement Award, Chief Scientist at Alias Wavefront and SGI, pioneered multi-touch interfaces in the '70s, now a principle researcher at Microsoft Research). When the press interviews well-known scientists, it is customary to ask about what new things are coming in the next few years.

  • by harlows_monkeys (106428) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @03:43AM (#33584016) Homepage
    Why didn't you RTFA?
  • by jabjoe (1042100) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @03:52AM (#33584048)

    If they use a x86 to compete with the ARM tablets it will have shorter battery life and run hot. If they use ARM (or something else giving good mA/mips), then people won't understand why it can't run their Windows software. If it looks and feels like Windows (and actually code wise, is Windows) but can't run Windows software, people won't like it. The platform is Windows software. It's the closed source curse, you are stuck on the hardware and API things are compiled for. Of course their is byte code, but then they will be competing again other tablets of similar spec, but with their apps byte coded while the others (Apple/Linux) are native. If that happens, bet MS's own apps are native for each platform, but they advice developers to use .NET to cover all MS platforms. But even then, are most consumers going to understand the difference between .NET apps and native apps? This to me has all the marks of a money blackhole while they try and complete in the tablet space.

  • Re:Hey! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jcr (53032) <jcr@NoSPaM.mac.com> on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @03:56AM (#33584066) Journal

    You know, there was a time when Microsoft was able to kill a company with a vaporware announcement like that. Anyone remember how they announced "Pen Windows" to strangle Go PenPoint in the cradle?

    PenPoint was a nice bit of work. Those guys knew what they were doing.

    -jcr

  • Embedded (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Orphaze (243436) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @04:04AM (#33584090) Homepage

    Not commenting on this potential vaporware, but embedded cameras in LCD screens might single handedly make video conferencing pleasant. Presently, the distance between the camera and screen mean video chatting is essentially an exercise in watching another person watch their computer while having a conversation with you.

    Apart from latency / bandwidth issues, I think that is the largest thing that has prevented video chat from taking off. It's not at all like talking face to face with a real human being.

  • by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @04:47AM (#33584226) Homepage

    Development: Uh, but won't that be ambigious - and since the majority of people who are going to care enough to read this are going to have more intelligence than a potted plant - and actually question how thick the glass will be... won't this make us look like a bunch of idiots?

    No, only the pedantic types with an axe to grind, time on their hands, and karma to whore will actually ask how thick the sheet will be. The rest of us will assume "somewhere in the general vicinity of normal window or auto glass", since that's what the phrase "as thick as a sheet of glass" usually means.

  • Re:how thick? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hognoxious (631665) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @05:13AM (#33584298) Homepage Journal

    Indian or African?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @05:28AM (#33584330)

    Intel Atom. They're getting there.

  • by FaxeTheCat (1394763) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @06:23AM (#33584598)
    >I don't remember that Microsoft published anything really new the last decade or so.

    You should not blame Microsoft for your bad memory.
  • by peragrin (659227) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @06:31AM (#33584630)

    MSFT has had a Tablet OS for almost a friggin decade and they have yet to port over their most useful applications to a touch based interface.

    Why does it take Apple to finally pull all the parts together in both hardware and software and show the computer world how to do things like create products customers demand.

  • by ciderbrew (1860166) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @07:07AM (#33584768)
    Because someone has to do it first to prove that there is a market to go to. It's a business case.
    MS wouldn't have made the Xbox; but as a few other companies were doing very nicely thank you very much. Management and marketing had a business case with good numbers and wanted a bit of the action.

    Henry Ford said "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse". MS would have given them the horse. It's a sound business choice. I'm sure there is a lot of office politics between the good idea and the money. The person that can get the money wins, not the best idea.
  • by Rockoon (1252108) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @07:56AM (#33585038)

    I actually have read the article, and it doesn't invalidate my statement.

    ...'cept for the fact that its not a press release... the entire premise of your post... yeah, other than that your statements arent invalidated at all.

  • by h4rm0ny (722443) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @08:15AM (#33585162) Journal
    The last thing I would want would be a device that was as thin as the panel on my phone. Okay, I want my device to be light, but I also want it to have a reasonable chance of surviving being sat on.
  • by am 2k (217885) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @08:22AM (#33585232) Homepage

    So you think just because there isn't a "Press Release" headline, that statement in the interview was done on a hunch and not effected by the marketing department in some way?

  • Re:how thick? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Threni (635302) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @08:57AM (#33585534)

    > When the press interviews well-known scientists, it is customary to ask about what new things are coming in the next few years.

    "So, this new computer...you're saying it's about the size of a piece of string"? Yeah, good old press, up to their usual high standards of technology reporting.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @09:20AM (#33585822)
    Would anyone really be surprised for a thin Microsoft product to require a two-inch-thick wrapper in order to survive the real world?
  • by Superken7 (893292) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @11:18AM (#33587562) Journal

    Yeah right, but remember:

    just like other "groundbreaking" technologies by microsoft, like Natal, they'll start removing features ...

    "oh, no, it won't support more than two fingers for now..." "oh, sorry, it will be a bit thicker" .. "oh sorry, that awesome refresh rate? nope, not this time.." or similar things.

    I hope I'm mistaken though =D

  • by Futurepower(R) (558542) <MJennings.USA@NOT_any_of_THISgmail.com> on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @12:04PM (#33588410) Homepage
    "But how many Libraries will it hold?"

    It will hold any amount of libraries you can imagine, because it is an imaginary product.

    Quote from the article: "Microsoft will deliver a touchscreen PC that is 'no thicker than a sheet of glass' within the next three years, according to the company's principal researcher."

    In the next 3 years? Do you believe that? That's the most extreme vaporware announcement I've ever seen.

    A prediction that considers the physics: If you drop it, it will shatter, because the bending forces will be extreme, and something thin cannot counteract those forces.
  • by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @12:09PM (#33588482)

    Jeez. You brought this back up from your capture file. This is the exact same quote I replied to half a year ago or so...

    Anyway Bill Buxton doesn't complain about Apple receiving accolades about it's multi-touch UI in the iPhone. From your linked article:

    In making this statement about their awareness of past work, I am not criticizing Westerman, the iPhone, or Apple. It is simply good practice and good scholarship to know the literature and do one's homework when embarking on a new product. What I am pointing out, however, is that "new" technologies - like multi-touch - do not grow out of a vacuum. While marketing tends to like the "great invention" story, real innovation rarely works that way. In short, the evolution of multi-touch is a text-book example of what I call "the long-nose of innovation."

    He wanted to make sure that everyone knew that innovation doesn't happen overnight and usually involves pioneers other than the current innovator.

    What Apple is rightfully credited with is having a multi-gestured UI where the display is within the tablet and placing it all in a form-factor suitable to used as a cellphone. This involved creating an OS geared toward the task as well as hardware components that would make the weight and size requirements of the design. Not to mention have the targeted battery life.

    The Simon shown in the article was the first smartphone with a touch UI, however it only allowed single touch gestures.

    Microsoft borrowing ideas from Apple again?
    It's probably the other way round. Nice troll though.

    Looking at the same article, I see that Microsoft Surface can be traced back to Digital Desk (Pierre Wellner, et.al. '91), Graspable/Tangible Interfaces (University of Toronto '95), Active Desk (University of Toronto '95/'97), T3 (Alias|Wavefront, Toronto), Fingerworks ('98 Newark, Delaware), etc... So I'm highly doubtful it was the other way around.

    If anything this should serve as proof on how important academic research is, since almost all of the innovations we are taking advantage of are a result of university research projects across the globe.

  • All True (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Coward Anonymous (110649) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @12:37PM (#33588984)

    And it'll be made by Apple.

10 to the 12th power microphones = 1 Megaphone

Working...