Every few years the computer industry discovers a technology that dramatically improves our computing experience. Here’s a few technologies that have fundamentally changed the way you and I work with our computers. Add your own candidates in the comments.
- Graphics User Interface
- Mouse input
- Laptop form factor
- LCD Flat Screens
Here is my pick for the next big thing in computers. Multi-touch.
One thing stands out here at PDC 2008. Everywhere you look there are multi- touch displays and applications. The Microsoft Surface team has deployed Surface machines throughout the convention center. Every Surface is surrounded by throngs of attendees playing with the units.
There is a 42-inch plasma touch screen on display in the vendor area. Impressive!
Windows Mobile 7 has multi-touch devices.
Windows 7 will have full support for multi-touch. Microsoft spent five minutes during the keynote showing off the Windows 7 multi-touch capabilities of the next OS.
The Surface SDK talk yesterday was standing room only.
There are more talks on the agenda this week expanding on these topics.
Other companies and multi-touch
Apple iPhones are a superb example of a small device that implements a multi-touch interface. HP is producing multi-touch monitors. Autodesk is adding multi-touch support for some of their modeling tools.
Try using one of the multi-touch devices. It’s seductive. It feels natural and it is fun to use. You instantly view your current laptop as a broken boring brick. Try it yourself. You’ll see.