miércoles, junio 25, 2008

La unidad de Surface Computing de Microsoft podría cambiar radicalmente el retail y nuestras vidas


30 años atras Microsoft predicaba que un día habría una computadora en cada escritorio. Ahora Microsoft quiere introducir la nueva generación de computadoras, donde el escritorio se convierta en una superficie digital.

Podrá ser el escritorio o también una cocina, el mostrador de una tienda o la mesa donde tomemos un desayuno. Por que no la ventana del tren en donde vamos a trabajar o de vacaciones. Eso es el proyecto Microsoft Internet Computing. Consideran a esta visión una "cros polinización" del mundo físico y el digital. Una visión que se volvio realidad aproximadamente una año atras justo cuando Apple lanzó el i-phone, que posee una interfase "natural", tan familiar, intuitiva aunque de menor tamaño que la idea de Microsoft.

Es hasta ahora que compañías como AT&T y STARWOOD'S SHERATON HOTELS, T-Mobile USA y otros están comenzando a utilizar esta tecnología de una manera única.

Estas "superficies" le permiten a los usuarios "tocar" los contenidos, jugar con ellos. Es una interfase multi-touch.

La duda es todavía si todavía Microsoft puede crear exitosamente un modelo a partir de esta tecnología. Realmente pienso que vale la pena. El hecho de poder interactuar con estos mundos virtuales a partir de una interfaces tan flexible, parece realmente una interesantísima apuesta.



Via AdWeek: Some 30 years ago, Microsoft predicted a day when there would be a computer on every desk. Now Microsoft wants to introduce the next generation of computing, where the desk itself becomes a digital surface.

"With Surface we now see a day when every desk can be a computer, and it's not only your desk but maybe your kitchen countertop, the table in your breakfast nook, the mirror in your hallway or, at work, the conference room table," says Mark Bolger, senior director of marketing, Microsoft Surface Computing. "It's really a statement and a vision about surface computing being pervasive in the future. What we're doing is cross- pollinating between the physical world and the digital world to create a completely new-to-the-world experience."

Microsoft's Surface interface was unveiled a year ago, around the same time that Apple launched the iPhone, which uses a similar "natural-user" interface on a simpler, smaller scale. But it's only now that consumers are getting their first glimpse of its potential. Last month, AT&T retail stores in New York, Atlanta, San Antonio and San Francisco debuted the technology. Other early adopters -- Starwood's Sheraton Hotels, Harrah's Entertainment, T-Mobile USA and International Game Technology -- are creating unique applications for the platform, as is AT&T.

Surface allows users to touch digital content with their fingers and a flick of the hand. It is a multi-touch interface: Freed from the limits of a click or key, users can touch in dozens of locations. Because of those multiple points of contact and the surface size, it is intended for multi-user applications. Surface also has object recognition. Place a can of soup on Microsoft's envisioned kitchen countertop, for instance, and it may call up recipes or nutritional content.

Microsoft is focusing on commercial applications initially, but as it reduces Surface's costs, the company expects to introduce it into the consumer market in three to five years.

"The technology is fantastic, and we're really excited about it," says Ed Rogich, vp of marketing at International Game Technology. "But it's still like a concept car, and the question is: How fast will it become a real car?"

Applications will be key.

"With Surface, Microsoft is pushing the digital world to a new level with cool technology, but they need to convince other companies who develop applications to come on board," says David Daoud, an analyst with IDC. "The problem is, developing more applications will be challenging."

Microsoft faces other challenges, too. Critics question whether the company can successfully create a consumer market for Surface after less-than-successful initiatives like its portable media device Zune, a distant competitor to the iPod. And it's not clear whether Apple, which didn't return calls, will attempt to trump Microsoft by marketing its own surface computing platform.

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