Microsoft, Palm take on Apple at WSJ event

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Apple wasn't the only firm taking advantage of the D: All Things Digital event to reveal new technology, but new hardware entries from Microsoft and Palm still drew a line back to Cupertino.



Microsoft Surface



Perhaps the most surprising entry was Microsoft's Surface, a spin on Windows Vista that uses a technology that will be very familiar to those who have followed the iPhone's short history.



The table-shaped prototype that demonstrates the technology uses multi-touch -- the same technology that underpins the iPhone's user interface -- to allow more natural interaction with items onscreen. Users can use multiple fingers to stretch photos, push and pull information around the screen, and draw gestures.



Its large surface also recalls the original demonstrations of multiple-input technology by New York University researcher and later Perceptive Pixel founder Jeff Han, who demonstrated a basic, whiteboard version of multi-touch interfaces in February 2006 at the Technology Entertainment Design (TED) conference in Monterey, California.



What distances Surface from both Han's demonstration and the iPhone, however, is the concept of smart objects. ID tags placed underneath each object can automatically trigger events or information relating to the item at hand: for example, displaying the vintage of a glass of wine or offering a network connection to a Zune player.







As advanced as the technology may be, Microsoft warns that the technology may take years to filter down to the consumer level. A standard Surface table will cost $10,000 and will see its first real-world uses in casinos, restaurants, and at store kiosks, placing it well out of reach of those also considering Apple's upcoming $499 cellphone.



Palm Foleo



Those same iPhone customers, however, may eventually turn to Palm's new option.



Called the Foleo, the device is the first "mobile companion," according to its creator. It amounts to a subnotebook assistant for smartphones that works around the oftentimes cramped keyboards and small displays of most pocket-sized cellular devices.



While not a substitute for either the phone or a true notebook computer and therefore no real challenger to either platform, the Foleo's 10-inch screen and Wi-Fi let it work on and synchronize e-mail as well as Office documents with its parent phone. It can essentially take over from a smartphone for those workers who literally depend on their phones for their livelihood, the company says.







And though the $499 device is only slated to work with the Treo range upon its summer release, Palm notes that owners of other phones should keep an eye on the Foleo's progress. The mini-computer's Linux roots will let a "modest software effort" bring support to virtually any other mobile OS -- including Apple's. The iPhone creator is mentioned by name in the same breath as other outside cellphone makers in a list of candidates, indicating a willingness (if not necessarily intent) from Palm to bring Foleo support to Apple's mobile version of Mac OS X.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 57
    phone-ui-guyphone-ui-guy Posts: 1,018member
    I'm not usually a Microsoft fan, but if the information on their site is true, they have been working on the technology since 2001. I have to give them some respect for their interaction design on this one. Watch the videos on their Surface site and you can see them sharing media between devices when you drag items into an aura that surrounds the devices. It does seem obvious that the release of the iPhone caused them to take one of their R&D technologies and make a product out of it. It just makes me wonder what else is sitting in their war chest that they are not able to bring to market without someone else leading the way.



    http://www.microsoft.com/surface



    Cheers,



    Phone-UI-Guy
  • Reply 2 of 57
    walshbjwalshbj Posts: 864member
    Here's what irks me. Bill has been talking about this table for a long time. Maybe he should fix Windows first. I'm not even talking about the big stuff. I'm talking about the little things that make it hard to use. Explorer's interface is brutal. Try to explain to your grandma why the New Folder link is only there sometimes. It might be intuitive to you and me - but it's not to everyone else.



    People don't know how to manipulate windows on the desktop - after how many years of MS Windows? They have failed completely in their efforts to educate. The average user works maximized all the time, and has no idea how to arrange windows so they can drag from one to the other.



    They want to introduce stuff like this table? Good luck with that. I'm not just talking about MS here. My LG phone doesn't work with my Mac. I have to spend all this time using shareware and scouring the web to make it remotely useful with my Mac.



    This is 2007! It's ridiculous that products are being released that don't work with my Mac and my Windows without having to jump through hoops. But all these companies are releasing half baked products that don't work for the average user. Try to remember the average user isn't interested in computers and phones - they just want them to work. Without tricks and hacks. Without spending a whole weekend screwing around with it.



    We're not even close yet.
  • Reply 3 of 57
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,593member
    I'm a skeptic on multitouch on large screens. I don't see much advantage to it beyond enhanced powerpoint presentations. Even the demo shown on Mossberg's website leaves me puzzled. After decades of tossing our photos willy-nilly in a box and rummaging through them with our hands, we finally have some decent photo filing software and Steve Ballmer thinks the next big thing is to toss your digital photos willy-nilly in a virtual box and rummage through them virtually with your hands? It's pretty impressive to watch, but I have 4000 photos in iPhoto and I, for the life of me, can't imagine how I can organize and search through them by 'virtual rummaging' with multi-touch. And if you say, well for sure the device will allow more conventional sorting methods, then I say so what's the point of multi-touch beyond being an expensive toy for showing off?



    The MS Surface is a nice conversation piece- the coffee table book IS the coffee table. But it won't replace the monitor and keyboard and pointer combo. Nothing will replace the keyboard in the foreseeable future, not multi-touch, not handwriting recognition, not dictation because with a small investment in time and effort to hone your typing skills, there is no faster way to input text into a computer. And you can talk and listen while you're typing.
  • Reply 4 of 57
    deapeajaydeapeajay Posts: 909member
    OK, Surface looks really cool! I would love to see that vision become a reality. However, microsoft is all talk but no substance. Remember that Origami video for the Ultra Mobile PC? It looked cool too. Did it become reality?



    I'm not foolish enough to believe that MS can pull this off in the next decade.



    As far as the Palm Foleo.... what a piece of crap. It's a big accessory to a small mobile device. Even though it's the size of a regular book, I still don't want to cart it around with me everywhere I go. That's not very mobile.
  • Reply 5 of 57
    meelashmeelash Posts: 1,045member
    Hey.... what happened to all those iPhone patents???
  • Reply 6 of 57
    meelashmeelash Posts: 1,045member
    Is there video anywhere of the D- conference, like, especially the joint Bill and Steve interview?
  • Reply 7 of 57
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 18,748member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by walshbj View Post


    This is 2007! It's ridiculous that products are being released that don't work with my Mac and my Windows without having to jump through hoops. But all these companies are releasing half baked products that don't work for the average user. ........We're not even close yet.



    Wonderfully said.



    I also happen to believe -- altho I am preaching to the choir here -- that Apple is the only one that comes close. And even then, it's not perfect.
  • Reply 8 of 57
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 18,748member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by meelash View Post


    Hey.... what happened to all those iPhone patents???



    Great question!



    I think that some patience might be in order.... No one has come out with much of anything multitouch yet. All there is now is a bunch of claims and prototypes (yes, yes, I know that some LG-Prada stuff is out there).
  • Reply 9 of 57
    buzdotsbuzdots Posts: 446member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by meelash View Post


    Is there video anywhere of the D- conference, like, especially the joint Bill and Steve interview?



    I have been looking for it too. Looks like it might be coming here in the next while:

    http://d5.allthingsd.com/20070530/d5...obs-interview/



    John
  • Reply 10 of 57
    aplnubaplnub Posts: 2,582member
    *yawn* get something in my hands...
  • Reply 11 of 57
    s10s10 Posts: 107member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post


    I'm a skeptic on multitouch on large screens. I don't see much advantage to it beyond enhanced powerpoint presentations. Even the demo shown on Mossberg's website leaves me puzzled. After decades of tossing our photos willy-nilly in a box and rummaging through them with our hands, we finally have some decent photo filing software and Steve Ballmer thinks the next big thing is to toss your digital photos willy-nilly in a virtual box and rummage through them virtually with your hands? It's pretty impressive to watch, but I have 4000 photos in iPhoto and I, for the life of me, can't imagine how I can organize and search through them by 'virtual rummaging' with multi-touch. And if you say, well for sure the device will allow more conventional sorting methods, then I say so what's the point of multi-touch beyond being an expensive toy for showing off?



    The MS Surface is a nice conversation piece- the coffee table book IS the coffee table. But it won't replace the monitor and keyboard and pointer combo. Nothing will replace the keyboard in the foreseeable future, not multi-touch, not handwriting recognition, not dictation because with a small investment in time and effort to hone your typing skills, there is no faster way to input text into a computer. And you can talk and listen while you're typing.



    amen!
  • Reply 12 of 57
    avoravor Posts: 44member
    Windows has issues figuring out many day-to-day USB devices on its own without my help, and Microsoft is telling me this table will be able to identify the drink that is set atop it?



    The concept and idea is pretty cool. It looks fairly cluttered and seems impractical now. I doubt these will make it to your local restaurant; a $10,000 table is a grossly large investment.
  • Reply 13 of 57
    crhain88crhain88 Posts: 65member
    Hmm, I'm confused because I thought that Apple has been researching this for a while.



    http://digg.com/apple/VIDEO_of_the_M...earch_-_APPLE_



    Like Jobs said, Apple intends to hold close to their patents. It would make shopping easier, as demonstrated in the video, but I think there is some massive infringement going on.



    And like somebody said, it took nearly six months after Apple showed the iPhone for Microsoft to do anything. Could this not be star trek fluff? Just a pre-made video with actors playing over it, pretending that it works.



    But I will say that it is exciting to think about, and I think that the promises are amazing. But again, I hope Apple's been there first, or buys out somebody else who has...



    And oh yeah, why is it that this video

    http://www.popularmechanics.com/blog...s/4213259.html

    shows surface being a projector while two months later, it's suddenly all in one device sans projector.
  • Reply 14 of 57
    desarcdesarc Posts: 642member
    remember, apple didn't invent multi-touch. i'm sure they have a ton of patents, but they can't claim ownership of all touchscreens because of them. there are probably five patents on the "slide to unlock" feature.



    what about this palm folio?

    who's the genious who said "we all have cell phones and we all have laptops, let's spend 500 bucks on something that's not either of them, and you don't need, but it fits right between them."



    who wants to buy a laptop that they can only type email and term papers with?

    who wants to carry around a keyboard and 10" screen to text message on their phone?
  • Reply 15 of 57
    kisinkisin Posts: 14member
    Foleo was in the limbo even before it hit the market.



    $10,000 bucks for a glorified screen that happens to be the size of a table? get real MS



    If windows can't figure out printers wired to the pc, how can it reliably figure out what item I place on the surface of Surface? gimme a break



    If apple can fit multitouch into a handheld device like the iphone, just imagine what it can do with a 30 inch display, hooked to a mac pro runnig the full version of OS X.x.x.



    I really hope those innovations on pro systems that Steve mentioned in D are about multitouch hardware for leopard and put this Suckface non-sense to rest....
  • Reply 16 of 57
    grayumgrayum Posts: 46member
    As with the G3, the "palm" logo is upside down on the lid......
  • Reply 17 of 57
    splinemodelsplinemodel Posts: 7,311member
    As I posted in another thread, Surface is nothing. Microsoft has piles of cash, so if they can built some enchanting press around a technology demonstrator, that's worth it for them. But if you took this idea, and even the prototype, to a VC, he'd laugh at you. There's so little business case for this technology. The only thing that might have some worth are some derivative patents that may follow.



    And these two things (IP and press), I guarantee, are the only reasons why Surface exists. It will never be made into a [profitable] product.
  • Reply 18 of 57
    digiologydigiology Posts: 29member
    Finally, a scroll-wheel on a laptop, listen up apple!
  • Reply 19 of 57
    vineavinea Posts: 5,585member
    $10K is reasonable given its a finished package that contains a projector, computer and display surface + software of some kind.



    You can build one for cheaper but without software and with lower fit and finish.



    Vinea
  • Reply 20 of 57
    spindriftspindrift Posts: 674member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digiology View Post


    Finally, a scroll-wheel on a laptop, listen up apple!



    What's wrong with sticking 2 fingers on your track pad and moving them up and down?
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