Science fiction has always taught us to think about the possibilities of technology far into the future. In fact, many technological developments have been heavily inspired by what we see in movies, often making that a reality is a a timely and very costly exercise. For consumers, its a frustrating wait to go from where we are today, to what we know will be reality in the years to come.
We’ve all been teased by concept videos, but here at Tech.Ed, Microsoft are demonstrates a working application that integrates a Windows Phone, Microsoft Surface and Windows Slate to form a futuristic experience. By placing a WP7 device on the Surface, the user interface is expanded beyond the device to the table below.
Smart phones are great, but the current trend in screen size is certainly up. From 3”, to 3.5” to 4” and even 4.3” and beyond, it shows that more screen real estate is needed. By transferring the content from your small portable device, to a large, interactive display, it solves 2 problems. First of all you don’t need to try and fit a surface in your pocket, second of all you can keep the portability of a mobile phone while accessing a larger display.
So while the concept works, and even extends to tablets or ‘slates’, there are a couple of issues with it going from a neat demo to a reality in your home. The first is the price and availability of the Surface table. You’ll notice in the video that the Surface being used is still a version 1 (i.e. a big freakin table). Version 2 Surfaces are yet to make it to Australia, after being shown off at CES in January.
The second issue is the technology being used for the devices to communicate with one another. Right now devices that interact with the Surface, namely WP7 and Slates require a special tag to be placed on the back. This seriously needs to be NFC. Given this is a technology demo, this part of the problem is really up to developers and hardware manufacturers to solve.