40 million copies of Windows 8 sold? Don’t believe it

Pay no attention to those impressive sales figures coming out of Redmond. If Microsoft did indeedsell 40 million copies of Windows 8 in its first month, then the people who bought it aren’t accessing the Internet nearly as much as early adopters of Windows 7. Just do the math.

40 million copies of Windows 8 sold? Don't believe itOn Nov. 27, Tami Reller, current CFO of Microsoft’s Windows and Windows Live Division, told the guests at the Credit Suisse Annual Technology Conference, “I am pleased to announce today that we have sold 40 million Windows 8 licenses so far. So, the journey is just beginning, but so far 40 million Windows 8 licenses to date.”

Shortly after, Brandon LeBlanc on the official Blogging Windows site said, “As we pass the one-month anniversary of the general availability of Windows 8, we are pleased to announce that to date Microsoft has sold 40 million Windows 8 licenses.” Not to be outscooped, Steve Ballmer, speaking at the annual Microsoft Shareholder’s Meeting the next day, also repeated the 40 million number.

Fair enough — as I said last week, Microsoft has many innovative ways to fudge Windows 8 sales figures.

Here’s what gets me. According to those numbers, Windows 8 adoption is actually outpacing Windows 7 by a wide margin, although Reller was careful to say that “[I]t’s always tempting to want to compare to Windows 7, even I compare to Windows 7 when I talked about upgrades being even faster momentum than Windows 7 with Windows 8. The 40 million is roughly in line with Windows 7.” At the time Windows 7 was released, Microsoft claimed that it sold 60 million copies of Win7 in the first two months.

Here’s where the numbers don’t add up. On Nov. 10, 2009 — 19 days after Windows 7 went on sale — Ina Fried reported that “adoption of Windows 7 continues to grow, with the weeks-old operating system accounting for 4 percent of PCs accessing the Web over the past weekend, according to Net Applications.”

Now look at the analogous numbers for Windows 8. For the first few days of this week — 30 days after Windows 8 reached general availability — Net Applications reports that Windows 8 has hit a 1.18 percent market share.

Maybe it’s true that Microsoft is selling more copies of Windows 8 than it did Windows 7. But if so, I guess the people who bought Windows 8 aren’t as interested in using the Web as their Windows 7 cohorts — by a factor of four.

It’s all smoke and mirrors. We won’t really know much about Windows 8 sales until the hardware figures come in for the holiday season and Microsoft is forced to work through all the deferred income from Windows 7 sales, in February of next year.

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Microsoft ‘Scroogle’ Campaign; 40M Windows 8 Sales; Galaxy Note II Hits Verizon

The search rivalry between Google and Microsoft topped tech headlines on Wednesday. Microsoft’s Bing team launched a website, dubbed Scroogled, that takes Google to task for turning its shopping results into a commercial endeavor.

“Google Shopping is nothing more than a list of targeted ads that unsuspecting customers assume are search results,” the Bing team said. In response, Google defended its service, saying “Google Shopping makes it easier for shoppers to quickly find what they’re looking for.”

Meanwhile, Google kept busy further expanding its Street View program in the Canadian Arctic and a number of ski resorts around the world. In addition, the Web giant confirmed it has acquired retail couponing firm Incentive Targeting for an undisclosed sum.

Not to be outdone, Microsoft announced that it has sold 40 million Windows 8 licenses since the system’s release last month. But while Microsoft claims Windows 8 licenses are selling like hotcakes, some Asian computer makers are saying demand is not that good. But as fresh new copies of Windows 8 are shipped and downloaded, Microsoft is reportedly already deep in the development cycle for the next version of Windows.

In mobile news, more than a month after Verizon Wireless began accepting pre-orders for Samsung’s Galaxy Note II, the phablet is finally reaching customers. The smartphone/tablet hybrid is now available for purchase online and in Verizon stores.

Windows 8 is here

Have you seen all the commercials on TV and wondering what Windows 8 is all about?  Stop by Rockett Computer and see for yourself!

Try out the all new interface that makes Windows 8 great for laptops, desktops and now tablets.  Live tiles keep you up-to-date without having to launch the app.  And speaking of Apps the all new Windows Store makes it easy to find and install all the Apps you’ll ever need.  Windows 8 is fast, easy and smart on any PC!

Does all this sound great but you’re not ready to buy a new PC?  We can upgrade your computer for just $100 and that includes your Windows 8 license.  Or if it is time for an upgrade we’ll go to work putting together the perfect machine to suit your needs.  Plus one year of LOCAL service and support with any computer purchase.

Give us a call at (207) 812-6132 or stop by our shop at 73 Main Street in Downtown Ellsworth.  We are open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturday from noon to 5 p.m.

Sony’s Windows 8 hybrid has eyes on business users

There is another Windows 8 hybrid device in town. Sony India’s PC- VAIO Duo 11 can transform from a smart, intuitive touchscreen tablet to an ultrabook when needed. The Surf Slider design means the transformation needs just one action.

The VAIO Duo 11 puts touch and handwriting right at the heart of your Windows 8 computing experience, letting users write and interact with media and applications on the responsive, touch capable, super-bright Full HD OptiContrast Panel. The panel reduced the space between the touchscreen and the LCD and thus is more accurate, so that you can do precision work on the screen.

Then banking on the ultrabook side of the device, there is Quick Boot that gets you up and running in seconds. Despite its slim size, VAIO Duo 11 is ready for business with a full complement of ports and interfaces including Bluetooth Smart Ready, USB 3.0, USB Sleep Charge to charge your USB charging devices like mobiles or music players on the go; even when the PC power is off.

It is also a good entertainment device, coming packed with Dolby Home Theatre and a digital noise cancelling headphone in the box. Sony has also packed in a new music application augmented by xLoud and ClearPhase technologies. Then there is the new Album app with calendar functions. The apps even lets you ‘throw’ or stream photos, video and music content to a DLNA compatible large screen TV or audio systems.

Can supermodel minx Heidi Klum SAVE Windows 8? NOT SO FAST

This year’s MTV European Music Awards had everything: slinky supermodel presenter Heidi Klum, swathes of preposterous pop stars, and, er, an enormous Windows 8-powered video wall. Keen to suck up any excess stardust, Microsoft provided the screen to show what was happening backstage.

The operating system’s appearance at the event this month is part of a glitzy marketing campaign featuring Aussie songbird Lenka and a string of gloss-coated ads revealing gorgeous Americans doing amazing things with Redmond’s new software.

But as for the distribution channel here in Blighty? Well, we got a bus.

For the next few months UK distributor Westcoast will send a black double-decker decorated with Microsoft Windows 8 tiles hurtling around the English countryside to educate and enlighten resellers about the benefits of Windows 8.

With Microsoft focussing on consumers, not to mention efforts to capture cloud computing and sell software as a service, some dealers fear they could be shoved to the back of the bus or simply thrown under it.

One of the double-decker’s first stops was Bechtle Direct, a reseller based in Chippenham, Wiltshire. To say it was greeted by wildly cheering, confetti-throwing sales people would be a bit of an overstatement. But it was certainly welcomed.

The bus is loaded with desktop, convertible computers and tablet hardware from vendors such as HP, Samsung and Toshiba, all running Windows 8. Richard Gibbons, Bechtle’s software sales manager, said it was a “hugely useful” visit because it provided the company’s sales team with hands-on experience of Microsoft’s new operating system.

Heidi KlumCould this woman save Windows 8?

As a Microsoft reseller house Bechtle has a clear interest in seeing Windows 8 take off.

“I’m a big fan from a user perspective,” said Gibbons, adding, “Every single business customer I have shown it to is impressed. I think enterprise sales will be quite significant and in the long-term the number of adopters are going to be quite impressive.”

Culture change versus Windows XP loyalists

Part of the pitch to those adopters is that Windows 8 represents a cultural change – a move towards touchscreen computing, which those familiar with iPads and such tablets will embrace readily. Using this logic, and with 80 million iPads shipping a year according to industry analysts Freefrom Dynamics, Windows 8 could enjoy a warm reception.

However, there is also a large installed base of Windows XP, an operating system that is 11 years old and stable. And many companies are still upgrading to Windows 7.

Funded mainly by Microsoft, the Westcoast double-decker team tacitly acknowledged this by dishing up comparative business and sales guides. These are designed to help resellers prise open the doors of clients still running XP, and explain how to sell Windows 8 as a mobile OS to clients happily running Windows 7 on desktops.

But it’s the mobile element of Windows 8 that many in the channel are relying on to drive sales, particularly business-ready tablets. Zak Verdi, director at Software One, boldly stated: “There is a lot of pent-up demand. People are holding back on hardware refreshes because they want Windows 8.”

Microsoft has been emphasising the mobile side of its new operating system in a raft of webinars, seminars, in fact all sorts of “ars”, all designed to showcase its benefits. There’s an air of optimism that Microsoft may become a realistic player in the mobile space, which in turn is going to generate new revenue streams for the channel.

However, this may be based on hope rather than hard-nosed business expectation.

<p“There may be a general air of optimism because the channel is seeing a huge interest in tablet touch devices,” said Alastair Edwards, principal analyst at Canalys, “but enterprises are very cost conscious these days and will be reluctant to move to a new operating system too quickly.

“Windows 8 is a radical shift, it’s not just a question of embracing it as part of a natural upgrade cycle. There will be significant training costs. It will take time for it to penetrate and many companies will hang back to see what the experience of early adopters is.”

Beyond sharing basic technical knowledge, certification and competency programmes, for now Microsoft is not offering the channel much to work with.

“There’s a huge amount of consumer advertising but Microsoft has a bit more communication to do with the channel,” said Andy Buss, service director at Freeform Dynamics. “There is some support to help resellers identify opportunities on a case-by-case basis but at the moment most of the marketing bucks seem to be going towards the OEMs [original equipment makers] to ensure that they are developing a better class of device for Windows 8.”

Certainly, computer makers are expecting accelerated Windows 8 hardware sales – next year. Michael Keegan, managing director of Fujitsu Technology Solutions, pointed out that the company already has a number of Windows 8 computers that are essentially new, light and more powerful form factors. He expected these to bolster what have generally been “weak sales in the channel in the last three to six months”.

He attributed that to customers holding back on technology refreshes but believes Windows 8 will help accelerate sales: “Microsoft is no longer a monopoly but… with the launch of Windows 8 it is in a much stronger position. It needed to be in the mobile form factor space and the new operating system places it firmly there.”

‘Microsoft will get it right by the third version and I’m sure they will. By the third version.’

To date, selling mobile devices to businesses is the preserve of specialists who focus solely on gadgets and software, and little else beyond that. Windows 8 provides a traditional reseller with an opportunity to carve out new opportunities: if customers pick up a few Windows 8 tablets and warm to the mobile-friendly OS, a door to future deals on Redmond-powered smartphones is thrown open.

As a result, some believe Microsoft’s upcoming Surface Pro laptop-cum-tablet will be sold purely through the distribution channel, and thus could be an opportunity for dealers to bolster revenue streams, particularly as the hardware will run applications users are familiar with. This contrasts Microsoft’s decision to sell the Surface RT itself right now.

So far existing tablets haven’t cut the mustard at the enterprise level. Many users thought they could do away with their clunky laptop and just use an iPad when out and about. However, in terms of business functionality, the Apple fondleslabs are lacking and users have found themselves carrying both an iPad and a laptop.

In terms of the actual Windows 8 launch there’s a perception that it’s the “same old, same old” from Microsoft.

“As usual, Microsoft is concentrating on pulling in revenues first. There’ll be lots of problems with Windows 8 for sure, but it will go back and deal with the issues after they arise,” said one reseller. Another added: “There’s the old saying that they’ll get it right by the third version and I’m sure they will. By the third version.”

This view informs an understandable reservation by some channel partners. For example, Gordon Davies, chief executive, Adepteq is guarded: “There’ll be a lot of adoption on paper from existing licence customers simply because when other OS licenses are renewed Windows 8 will be part of the deal. However, in terms of actual hard adoption that will come later when hardware refreshes take place. We’re expecting this later in 2013, towards the end of the year.”

By placing emphasis on consumer marketing, and ensuring the hardware meets its requirements, Microsoft aims to capitalise on the rush to new mobile form factors.

However, putting the mobile element of Windows 8 to one side, there is discontent in the channel towards Microsoft that has arguably been exacerbated by Windows 8, in part because the OS is an innovation too far.

Touch tablets are too big to swallow

One reseller pointed out that for some time it’s been crystal clear that while Microsoft is saying all the right things about the importance of partners, its actions are taking it in the opposite direction. Windows 8 could actually drive an even bigger wedge between partners and the software behemoth, particularly in the small-to-medium biz market.

“You fire up Windows 7 and can quickly find your way around it. Do the same with Windows 8 and you spend two days wrestling with it in order to understand it,” said one resller. “If I send some new computers to one of my SMB clients with Windows 8 pre-loaded I know they’re going to return it to me. They want a computer to work with. They don’t want to spend days trying to figure out how it works. It’s a disastrous product and is a really good excuse to get rid of customers.”

Resellers think it may be too optimistic to assume Windows XP users will leap to Windows 8 when XP’s 2014 end-of-life deadline approaches. Microsoft appears to be pushing this line at the moment, as evidenced by its sales and business “case-by-case” advice to the channel to persuade clients to move to Windows 8.

Freeform’s Buss is in the “not sure” camp on this point: “It’s a big jump from XP to Windows 8. Some people will make the leap if there is a real need but many will simply move to Windows 7. Based on past experience we would expect a slow take up of the new operating system and for a few years we’d expect adoption to be modest with many companies hanging back.”

Despite Microsoft’s soothing noises to the channel, the Redmond giant is also promoting a scaled down version of Windows 8 for direct download via the cloud, underlining its aim to become a “devices and services company”. This, of course, means eating into resellers’ revenues. While resellers who operate at the enterprise level may adjust to these shifting winds, those who concentrate on the much larger SMB sector are troubled and concerned.

Direct downloads sidestepping partners

One reseller said: “This is part of a larger shift away from partners. Microsoft has been removing products that we used to sell for some time. Offering Windows 8 as a direct download is just one more step in the direction it wants to go. Of course, Windows 8 offers opportunities in mobile computing, but the company is still moving away from partners.”

However, Microsoft’s success in the cloud to date is relatively modest. Canalys’ Edwards pointed out there has only been a small uptake of Microsoft Office 365 via the cloud and this is symptomatic of slow uptake across the industry. SAP, for example, has attributed only two percent of sales to the cloud.

Edwards said: “The adoption of cloud-based services is around business processes such as HR and payroll and individual users accessing consumer type apps. Businesses want to leverage the benefits of the cloud but they also want users to have access to the same apps when they’re not connected to the web. There’s certainly not going to be 90 percent uptake in the next five years. It will be much slower than that.”

For now, the channel is aligning itself with Windows 8 due to the new mobile opportunities it promises next year and beyond. However, there’s also the understanding that Microsoft, while still a big and powerful company, is no longer the sole king of the hill.

Its relationship with the channel is best summed up by the comment of a SMB reseller: “Microsoft is clearly moving towards a service model. However, so is everyone else. As it begins selling more products directly resellers will have no choice to turn to alternative products which are becoming increasingly popular. Windows 8 will keep us interested for now, but Microsoft’s actions are undermining its partners which means that ultimately it will undermine itself as we go elsewhere.”

So if you do see that black double-decker bus careering along some mist-shrouded lane you may want to whip out your smart phone and take a picture for posterity – although you’d probably prefer a picture of Heidi Klum.

How to pick the best desktop display for Windows 8

Windows 8 doesn’t require a touch-sensitive display, but once you begin using a monitor that supports all those groovy new touch gestures, you’ll find that the OS offers a completely different (and more engaging) experience.

This fact presents challenges for desktop PC users who’ve just upgraded to Windows 8. Should you stick with your current nontouch display, or move to a new one that offers touch support? Which features are important in a touch-capable display? As for other multitouch-friendly hardware options, can they deliver the same cutting-edge touch features that new Ultrabooks, hybrids and tablets possess?

Follow along as we answer all of these essential upgrading questions. (If you just want to know which desktop touch displays are available now, jump past the next section.)

Windows 8 has gone touch crazy

Windows 8 integrates touch support as no previous version of Windows has done. In the new Windows Start screen and in various Windows Store applications, you’ll be able to use scads of touch gestures, many of them involving full, ten-point multitouch interaction; that is, the display will recognize the unique input from all ten fingers on your hands.

Even in the standard Windows desktop, touch works better than it did in Windows 7. In fact, some new Windows 8 devices come with pressure-sensitive styluses that let you draw or paint digitally with predictable precision.

Many traditional desktop PC users may feel that touch support is unnecessary for Windows 8. And if you work primarily in traditional desktop applications—such as Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop, and various PC games—that’s probably true. But as you start to use more Windows Store apps, you’ll find yourself reaching out to touch your screen more and more often, and you may start to regret that your display doesn’t support touch.

The good news is that numerous multitouch displays that fully support Windows 8 are on the horizon. You just need to choose the one that best suits your needs and your budget.

Windows 8 certified displays are already here

At this writing, Windows 8 isn’t yet a month old, so touch-ready desktop displays constitute a very immature product category. And for the same reason, the current crop of touch-enabled monitors is fairly expensive.

The 23-inch Acer T232HL retails for $499, while its larger 27-inch sibling will sell for $700. The Acer uses an extremely simple, springloaded stand that’s essentially a large, bent piece of metal, albeit a good-looking bent piece of metal.

The Dell S2340T costs $650—expensive for a 23-inch, 1080p display—but it ships with a cool stand that can tilt completely flat, along with additional USB 3.0 ports, a webcam, and an array microphone. The Dell and Acer monitors are full IPS displays, so the panel technology is high quality.

Planar has introduced its Helium 8 (aka the PCT2785), a 27-inch, full HD panel that looks to sell for $899. Meanwhile, LG has announced the ET83 Touch 10, but that model’s pricing and availability are unknown as yet.

The first rule of monitor shopping is, Don’t skimp on image quality! Even if your budget is tight, try to find the best-quality display you can afford. You can work around awkward pedestals and poorly located cable connectors. But you’ll be staring at your screen day in and day out, so it’s not the place to economize.

Luckily, current-generation touch displays, though expensive, seem to be using high-quality components. Most boast IPS (in-plane switching) technology, which offers a wide range of satisfactory viewing angles plus good color fidelity.

You won’t find multitouch desktop displays with resolutions higher than 1920 by 1080 (also known as “full HD”). Even 27-inch touch displays are limited to 1080p; and no 2560-by-1440-resolution displays with capacitive touch are yet available for discrete, stand-alone monitors. Fortunately, display quality is great at 1080p on many touch displays.

Five-point versus ten-point touch

Microsoft’s certification requirements for Windows 8 devices are fairly stringent. To be Windows 8 certified, a monitor must be able to to react to five simultaneous touch points. This excludes touch technologies based on side-mounted infrared sensors, for example, as they often can’t detect occluded finger touches. The solution of choice for current-generation displays is ten-point capacitive touch sensor arrays, similar to those used in smartphones and tablets. These sensors are pricey, which clearly contributes to the fairly high price tags on Windows 8-ready desktop displays.

Microsoft also established fairly strict guidelines governing how displays should integrate side bezels. Various Windows 8 gestures involve swiping inward from the edge of a bezel, which demands a new approach to display design. All of the Windows 8 touch displays I’ve seen add a thin layer of glass that covers both the LCD panel surface and the bezel in a continuous sheet. This sheet typically incorporates the capacitive touch sensor as well.

DELL
Note the smooth glass extending across the bezel in the Dell S2340T.

Another key requirement addresses how the touch interface should communicate with system hardware. Microsoft specifies that the touch interface must connect via either USB or the i2C bus. Because i2C is a circuit-to-circuit connection that’s unavailable when you attach an external monitor, USB is the only practical option as a connection path under those conditions. Bottom line: If you want to attach an external touch display, you’ll need an open USB port on your PC. Microsoft doesn’t specify a particular version of USB, so USB 2.0 is probably good enough.

I’ve been using a 23-inch Acer T232HL panel. It’s already available at retail, and it comes with a USB 3.0 connection and cable. Whether I connect it to a USB 3.0 or USB 2.0 port doesn’t seem to matter: The touch features work fine either way.

ACER
Acer’s T232HL is a 23-inch IPS display with touch support.

Other requirements in the certification document involve things that aren’t listed in product specs and that you can’t check for when comparison-shopping. But if the display you’re considering is Windows 8 certified, it does support those features. Two of them, in particular, are quite interesting:

First, a display must be firmware-upgradable by the user. I once had a firmware problem with an older, nontouch display, and the only fix was to ship it back to the manufacturer. Ensuring that users can upgrade firmware is a major advantage.

Second, the display’s touch digitizer must be HID compliant. HID (human interface device) is the standard for USB input devices. An HID-compliant device won’t require a separate driver—so once you connect the USB interface, touch should work, with no further device driver installation required.

Various other certification requirements address touch latency, touch separation detection, and more. The only technology that covers all of these bases today is capacitive touch. Other technologies, including infrared sensors, seem promising, but no manufacturer yet ships a display that meets Windows 8 certification while using sensors other than capacitive touch.

Connections and ergonomics


In addition to having USB connections, you’ll need display connectors. Most displays ship with DVI and even VGA connectors, but they also typically include HDMI connectors. And some monitors, such as Dell’s aforementioned 23-inch S2340T, include DisplayPort connectors.

Product designers are also doing interesting things with stands and ergonomics. The Acer T232HL (shown above) uses a single, curved bar attached via a ratcheted spring mechanism to enable the display to tilt at various angles, depending on how you want to use the hardware.

Dell’s S2340T, meanwhile, offers an impressively flexible stand that you can tilt easily at various angles, including completely flat (see below). The USB 3.0 ports are on the base and are easy to reach. The Dell also includes a webcam and an array microphone, which make its $650 price a bit more palatable.

DELL
Dell’s display brings new meaning to the term “flat panel.”

What about support for multiple displays? Well, you probably don’t need two or three touch displays, as most of your touch opportunities will occur in single-screen-only Windows 8 apps and in the Windows 8 Start screen. Of course, you can use touch on the Windows 8 desktop, but there it’s useful primarily for basic system navigation—such as for calling up the Charms bar.

I’ve already mentioned the dearth of high-resolution touch displays, but integrating multitouch in high-resolution monitors is certainly possible. Case in point: Dell already sells a 27-inch all-in-one—the XPS One—that features a native 2560 by 1440 resolution. Whether future touch displays take this direction will depend largely on consumer demand and on how much consumers are willing to pay. The prices of 27-inch, 2560 by 1440 panels are starting to drop, so I hope that we’ll see some high-resolution models with multitouch support by early 2013.

In lieu of a new display

If you’re already heavily invested in a high-quality monitor, you can take advantage of the new touch interface in other ways. Microsoft and Logitech offer a line of multitouch-enabled mice, for example. And perhaps even more useful is Logitech’s T650 wireless touchpad, which fully supports Windows 8 gestures. As a desktop user, you may not want to give up your mouse for a touchpad, but the T650 makes for an interesting secondary input device.

LOGITECH
The Logitech T650 is a 5-inch touchpad with multitouch support.

Bottom line

During conversations with various display manufacturers, I learned that capacitive touch sensors add about $100 to the price of a display. This premium will likely decrease over time. For now, though, if you want a touch-enabled Windows 8 experience on your desktop, you’ll have to pay a price premium to get it. Nevertheless, once you start using those new touch gestures, you’ll have a hard time going back.

Ideum’s GestureWorks Platform Will Let Developers Create Complex Gestures For Ultrabook Apps

Ideum has built a platform for developers to create complex gestures for apps that can run on 100-inch table top displays or the small screens of Ultrabooks running Windows 8.

Ideum’s GestureWorks platform shows how developers will increasingly have the freedom to think beyond developing apps that are limited to those that require a keyboard or a mouse. The platform makes it easier to develop for the new Intel-based Ultrabooks that have the multitouch capabilities that come with Windows 8.

Here’s a video of the GestureWorks platform that I shot at theBlur conference this week. It’s significant because it demonstrates the new kinds of developer platforms that we can expect to emerge as complex gestures become a standard aspect of application development in the post-PC age.

PC manufacturers such as Samsung, Sony and Asus have made touch a primary feature of its Ultrabook offerings. But until recently the capability has gone relatively unexplored. Part of it may be due to the usability issues that can make touch less than optimal. When the hardware lags behind the software, the touch aspect becomes a broken experience, which turns off users.

Ideum Founder Jim Spadaccini said that the company worked with Intel to make its processors more optimized for gesture-based apps. You can see the responsiveness in the demos. The Google Earth apps he showed had no lag at all on the Ulrabook. For instance, you can use your fingers to touch, zoom in or zoom out on the Google Earth app.

Ideum created GestureWorks as an ActionScript SDK for multitouch development starting in 2009. The latest version of the platform supports more rhan 300 gestures. As part of the platform, Ideum has also developed its own markup language called “Gesture ML” for developing multitouch apps that come with an open-source “gesture library.”

With GestureWorks, Ideum has programmed the capability for Ultrabook users to create their own gestures so they may use the touch capabilities that run on Windows 8. At Blur, Spadaccini showed me how someone on an Ultrabook machine can use their “GestureKey” to attach mapped gestures to Google Earth.

The Blur conference explored the “blur” between real and physical worlds, robots and thought control technologies that harness brain waves to turn down the lights or play a game that allows the player to use their brain to drive a car. These new technologies show how standard, keyboard and mouse apps will increasingly blend with technologies that allow people to touch a screen more so than type a command. These new apps also go beyond the single-touch methods that have become the norm with mobile devices. (I’ll explore these emerging technologies in a later post.)

I think of it this way: Look at the tables and walls in any room. Then correlate how these physical things will soon embed the compute capabilities that come with the increasing density of microprocessors. These new kinds of tables will have thousands of sensors someday with the capability to brush our hands across a screen or draw with a stylus.

At any cofee shop, people sit at tables with their laptops perched on top to do their work and interact online. More than ever before, people now bring tablets to read or do their work. They are smaller and less noticeable but still are separate hardware devices. In the future, the laptops will become part of the table, the hardware itself entirely abstracted, controlled by any variety of complex gestures to co-exist in real and virtual worlds.