Tag Archive | "software development"

Windows 10 – Good or Bad for Touch and Mobility?

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Is it too early to be worrying about Windows 10 and how the changes will affect touch and mobile users? I don’t think so. The test and feedback program starts today (October 1st, see preview.windows.com) and as a touch-focused user that was very happy with the clear split between sandboxed, touch-friendly RT apps with sharing and always-on capability and the desktop as my productive, mains-powered space i’m now looking at a mash-up that could be more confusing than ever. In my eyes Microsoft has re-positioned touch and mobility back down the list of priorities and put a big question-mark over the future of touch-focused apps on Windows PCs.

A summary of the announcements from yesterday can be found in my summary here but in essence, all you need to know is that Microsoft are bringing back the single-desktop environment and allowing the RT apps (to be known as Universal apps) to float into it. Think about this…

Why develop Universal apps?

Skype will have a touch-friendly cut-down application and a desktop application that can run side-by-side on the desktop. One will be sandboxed and allowed to run when a PC is in Connected Standby/InstantGo and the other is the fully featured desktop app. Where will Skype go from here? Facebook will be fun too. You can choose the RT app, the IE desktop web site or the IE Metro web site. Evernote will have an app, a desktop app and a browser app. Not only is this confusing for users but it also brings up the question about future development of Universal apps. Why develop an RT/Universal app that will sit on a desktop and compete with the other app you’ve written?

Microsoft are going to have to promote Universal apps hard if they want the Store to work on Windows 10 PCs. The only place they can really start today is by encouraging developers to make Windows Phone apps (which will also be known as Windows 10) that are Universal apps that can run on the desktop but will those developers bother to consider a 2K screen layout? Microsoft will have to prove to developers that the economy for Windows Universal application development is going to improve drastically before the developers make any moves.

Above: Windows 10 Universal Apps on the Desktop.

Universal apps ready for the desktop limelight?

Will floating RT apps onto the desktop make them more popular? If so, the economy for Universal apps changes for the better but if not, if users discover cut-down versions of their favorite apps and games, they might ignore Universal apps altogether even if they do bring better security, better sharing, better battery life and better touch user interfaces. Universal apps may not be fit for putting in front of desktop users. If they’re not good enough they’ll suffer, regardless of security advantages. In terms of software development for Windows, the financial planning just got a little harder. It’s very possible that Universal apps become 100% reliant on the Windows 10 phone market.

Microsoft’s message to developers today is nothing more than this: “The most important thing you should take from today’s announcements is that the best way to prepare for Windows 10 is to keep building universal Windows apps.” [Source.]

Touch second?

In the launch event yesterday Microsoft spoke primarily about desktop and business users. Microsoft did, however, mention a feature called Continuum. It’s not yet built into the preview version of Windows 10 and all it looks like is an auto-sensing UI feature. If you’ve got touch you’ll get a full-screen start page as you do now. Applications started from that screen will then float onto the desktop where you’ve got keyboard and mouse-focused controls. Is that a continuum, or a hybrid?

Snapping Windows together will definitely become a hybrid. Do I really want an old, non PPI sensing Windows dekstop app floating next to the Skype Universal application?

“We’re not talking about one UI to rule them all – we’re talking about one product family, with a tailored experience for each device.” [Source]

Continuum is where touch users will need to focus over the next 6-8 months but I suspect the first previews won’t really tell us much about the feature.

Windows 10 feedback

My first feedback to Microsoft would be this: Allow me to turn off desktop apps. Allow me to go into a Universal applications mode where the DAM (desktop activity moderator – as found on Windows systems with Connected Standby) hides and pauses all desktop activity leaving me with an efficient, secure, sandboxed, touch-friendly selection of apps. I don’t want a RT-style build with a desktop that is completely disabled though. I think the education market would appreciate this too – Chrome OS owes part of its success to sandboxing.

Respect to Microsoft for listening to customers feedback and offering up a preview program that will steer the final features and user-interface of Windows 10 but I worry that the 2-in-1, tablet and touch users are going to be under-represented. If you’re in that boat I encourage you to download the preview and give your feedback to Microsoft so that we can continue to have touch and mobility as first-class considerations in Windows 10.

Harris Beach Ultrabook Review

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Harris Beach Developer Ultrabook (14)

I’m very lucky to be one of the few people with a Haswell-based Ultrabook. There are even fewer people that have a Connected-Standby capable Haswell Ultrabook and when you add 3G, FullHD, NFC, GPS, HD5000 and a great looking build, you’re talking about leading edge. What a shame this Ultrabook isn’t available to buy. Developers will have access to it (I’m working on getting information as to how developers can get one) but end users will have to wait because this product has been made by Intel as a showcase and developer platform. I’m not a developer so I’m just going to tell you about how good, how well-rounded and complete this Ultrabook is. Let’s hope manufacturers read this and that it influences their decisions in making their Ultrabooks. For others, this is your benchmark for a classic Ultrabook.

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Windows 8 Developers, This is Your Ultrabook. Introducing Harris Beach.

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Harris Beach Developer UltrabookHarris Beach Developer Ultrabook unboxing and first impressions

Harris Beach is the name of the latest developer edition of the Intel Ultrabook. You can’t buy this in the shops because it has been designed by Intel for software developments and experimentation. It contains some of the newest technologies you’ll find in any laptop (or even PC) and is packed with as many features as possible. NGFF SSD, NFC, GNSS, HSPA+ 3G modem (21Mbps), Panel Self Refresh, HD 5000 graphics, Full HD IPS screen and of course a Haswell U-Series processor which is incredibly efficient.

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Winner: Ultimate Coder Challenge Going Perceptual – Puppet in Motion

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UC2award

The winner of the Perceptual Computing competition has just been announced by Intel

The Ultimate Coder Challenge put seven teams together and challenged them to make showcase applications for a Lenovo Yoga 13 Ultrabook and the Creative sensor hardware, in seven weeks. We watched with amazement at how much the teams learnt, wrote, developed and optimised their apps. We found hardware limitations, software limitations and problems with gestures themselves but that’s exactly what we needed. The judges, teams and Intel have put hundreds of hours effort into finding out what works and what doesn’t. It will all help the development of perceptual computing, ‘Percie’ as some are calling it now, solutions for Ultrabooks, AIO and other screens in the future.

The winner was a team that took puppetry and put into other peoples hands…

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Ultimate Coder Challenge – Going Perceptual and Testing the Apps

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2013-04-17-2278(0) Collage

After a few days of setting up and testing I’ve spent a good amount of time with all of the submissions to the Ultimate Coder Challenge where showcase applications are being built for a Lenovo Yoga 13 Ultrabook to demonstrate the Intel Perceptual Computing hardware. It has at times been frustrating but as I write this I do feel a rush of excitement for a new wave of input methods. It will take some years to perfect this technology, software and methods but, without a doubt, there’s something special going on here. Pay attention!

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Software Developers Update from Intel Dev Forum Keynote

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fisherDoug Fisher the General Manager of Intel’s Systems Software Division (Bio) took 45 minutes at IDF Beijing this week to present the latest Intel information for software developers. He talked about operating systems, tools, perceptual computing, HTML5 and 4 myths.

In this post I’ve summarized the 45 minute presentation under the four ‘myth’headings to give you an idea of the highlights of Intel’s software program. Much of it is related to Ultrabooks.  I also recommend you check the presentation out in full here.

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Ultimate Coder Challenge Week 7 – Adding Fireworks to Perceptual Computing Showcases

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sparks

7 teams are competing in the Ultimate Coder Challenge where showcase applications are being built for a Lenovo Yoga 13 Ultrabook to demonstrate the Intel Perceptual Computing hardware. I’m one of the judges and this is the last week of the competition for the competitors. The competition closes on April 12th and that leaves just over 2 days before developers have to hand over their apps to us. My equipment arrives tomorrow so I’ll be setting up the Lenovo Yoga 13 and the perceptual computing kit over the weekend. I’m looking forward to testing.

You can find all our Ultimate Coder posts here

Our Ultrabook software developer resources are here

All our Perceptual Computing posts here

Important note: Intel will be holding their software keynote at 0900 Beijing time tomorrow (11th April) where we expect to hear more about perceptual computing and HTML5 development. Check back tomorrow for an update from Beijing.

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Ultimate Coder Challenge Week 6 – Road Tests Reveal Issues. Competitor Interaction Reveals Tips.

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tongue

7 teams are competing in the Ultimate Coder Challenge where showcase applications are being built for a Lenovo Yoga 13 Ultrabook to demonstrate the Intel Perceptual Computing hardware.

I’m involved with the judging of the Ultimate Coder event and every week you’ll find an update from me as I analyze the teams progress. This is week 6, one week before the competition closes on April 12th and teams have just come back from GDC where they demonstrated their apps to attendees and judges. Foot and tongue tracking features in the posts this week but I’ve checked the dates on the posts and sure enough, there may be a few April Fools going on here! Ben was at GDC for Ultrabooknews last week and his comments and a few videos are included below.

You can find all our Ultimate Coder posts here

Our Ultrabook software developer resources are here

All our Perceptual Computing posts here

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NUIA Imagine with Eye and Gesture Tracking. Case Study, Video Demo.

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4tiitoo-f-1

We covered the Ultimate Coder Ultrabook Challenge last year but that wasn’t the only competition being run by Intel to promote software development on an Ultrabook. The Ultrabook Experience Software Challenge was running too and the winning entry was 4tiitoo’s NUIA Imagine. It includes gesture control, touch control, voice control and true eye-tracking using the Tobii eye-tracking hardware.

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Ultimate Coder Challenge Week 5–GDC Warm-Up

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got_position

7 teams are competing in the Ultimate Coder Challenge where showcase applications are being built for a Lenovo Yoga 13 Ultrabook to demonstrate the Intel Perceptual Computing hardware.

I’m involved with the judging of the Ultimate Coder event and every week you’ll find an update from me as I analyze the teams progress. This is week 5 and after this there’s just days before GDC where teams should be aiming towards having a good demo ready. Our Ben will be at GDC next week and talking to all the teams, seeing the demos and giving us a rundown of the progress he’s seen so stay tuned for that next week and if you’re are GDC, check out the Intel stage where teams will be presenting.

You can find all our Ultimate Coder posts here

Our Ultrabook software developer resources are here

All our Perceptual Computing posts here

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Developers Tip: Detecting Orientation and Usage Mode

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clamshell-figure-2

In our regular Ultrabook software development articles we’ve been bringing you tips, tricks and thoughts about many aspects of touch, sensor and perceptual computing coding for Ultrabooks and Ultrabook convertibles. Today we’ve got a simple tip for developers wanting to read the orientation state and operating mode. If the user has a convertible you really should be paying attention to whether it’s in a slate or clamshell state so here’s a how-to and code sample.

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Ultimate Coder Challenge Week 3 – Battle The Reality of Perceptual

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Lee PCUltrabook_Kiwi_Catapult_Revenge

7 teams are finding out how hard perceptual computing can be in Week3 of the Ultimate Coder Challenge where showcase perceptual computing applications are being built for a Lenovo Yoga 13.

I’m involved with the judging of the Ultimate Coder event and every week you’ll find an update from me as I analyse the teams progress. We’ve also got a video for you and it’s a scorcher – due to the ‘event’ that happens 5 minutes into the video. It’s a must-watch and embedded below.

I’ve read through 7 long posts of detailed information which, this week, are projected from the minds of coders. There’s a ton of code being presented along with a few nice videos and some information about to handle variation and error data being produced by the PC receiver.

You can find all our Ultimate Coder posts here

Our Ultrabook software developer resources are here

All our Perceptual Computing posts here

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