Thursday, April 17, 2008

actually, I lied

Surface is on display today (at least in San Antonio).

Some key things to keep in mind is that it's not really a touch screen. It uses IR cameras to figure out where you're touching the screen, so the one-handed pinch move that works on the iPhone is kind of flakey on Surface... it works better if you use the index fingers from each hand. Also, the system isn't fully functional. It's currently reading information about phones off this huge pack on the back of the phone instead of over bluetooth. This means that the cool stuff about being to pull up your photo album from your phone and sort through it on the desktop doesn't work today (but I was told they're Working On It(tm)). Lastly, the input can get kind of laggy if you're moving fast (tossing windows around, have 2 people resizing multiple windows) and MS's version of Maps isn't too very snappy.

Overall, it's pretty cool to play with multi-touch on a non-portable device. AT&T is using it a promotional tool to help customers get more information about their different phones. Basically, there's no need to ask a sales rep, "Does this have 3G?" anymore... just toss the phone on the desk and check out the feature list yourself. The interface is pretty intuitive, and this is a perfect application for the technology.

We managed to get a quick video of me monkeying around with the display, but right now it's only playing in VideoLAN's VLC player... quicktime and WMP don't seem to like it. Here's a link, and I'll try to get a transcoded AVI up later on tonight.

update: Here's a version encoded in h.264 that should be good for QT and WMP. Or, on youtube:

No comments: