N-Trig is Frustrated With Microsoft, Thankful for Apple

I posted up our N-Trig interview on Thursday and wanted to pass along my own thoughts on what N-Trig’s Mr. Lenny Englehardt had to say. Since I had the opportunity to speak with Mr.  Englehardt, I had the benefit of hearing repeated comments, voice inflection, and coming away with an overall impression. I think the question / answer summary I posted captures the essence of the interview quite well. Overall, I came away with the impression that N-Trig is very frustrated with Microsoft in terms of marketing ( or lack thereof ) and not talking about its superior multi-touch solutions ( (N-Trig’s ), palm rejection technology as implemented in Vista, is not that impressed with Vista, and is quite thankful that Apple is generating and talking about their great multi touch products. N-Trig has become quite the beneficiary of Apple’s successes.

More detail:


  • I think it is a good sign that N-Trig sees a market need for capacitive touch and pen in the 7 – 8.9″ small form factor. He knows a lot about what OEMs are doing, and his statement is a good sign
  • A focus on the 7″ to 17″ market for laptops has huge implications for bringing ink and multi-touch to more folks.
  • When asked about Vista and the iPhone, I found Mr. Englehardt’s replies quite telling and wonder how common his feelings are with other manufactures building Microsoft-based solutions – Redmond marketing nowhere to be seen, wishing Microsoft would do more to point out that what Apple is doing on the touchpad, N-Trig and Microsoft is doing to the screen; and thanking Apple for generating great multi-touch products ( notice he didn’t thank Microsoft ):
    • Great steps for pen and touch, not enough traction in their own software apps like Outlook, PowerPoint etc.. Vista as an OS is not a very user friendly product, way too many crashes, hangs etc. They don’t seem to be keen to scrub it and flush out all the issues. If they would push ink in their own apps and to ISV’s it would be great. The average consumer and enterprise user still doesn’t  know that Microsoft has touch and ink capabilities built into Vista, while everyone knows how the iPhone and MacBook Air work. Redmond marketing is nowhere to be seen.


      As mentioned above, we thank Apple for the efforts in generating great multi touch products. We wish Microsoft would do more and point out that what Apple is doing on the touch pad, we are doing on the screen.

  • I also found his above statements on Vista to be quite the indictment, especially for a company working so closely with the inner workings of Vista.
  • Mr. Englehardt is quite frustrated with Microsoft and their palm rejection technology in Vista, saying “Our expectation was that Microsoft would do more with handling dual-mode, and basically ignore all inputs when writing” and “We will work to improve palm rejection in dual-mode regardless of what Microsoft has in store for future versions of Windows.  We are enhancing palm rejection on our own, independent of Microsoft. Improvements will be ready sooner than one might expect..stay tuned.”  Wow…..
  • As someone working closely with human interaction technologies, he doesn’t see the market need for a UMPC, especially when someone has a good phone and a Tablet PC. I’ve seen the same thing in my own experience: a Tablet PC plus the iPhone is providing me with everything I need. If I only had a desktop, though, the UMPC would be a good solution. As more people are moving to mobile computers, is the UMPC getting squeezed out? Is this where we will see the phone technology ( like the iPhone ) continue to improve, thus negate the real need for UMPC? The iPhone, for me, has the been the Origami device originally described by Microsoft – a device that I go back in to the house to get.
  • Pen only or touch only solutions is not their playing field. It is the combination of pen and touch that N-Trig is focusing on, and that is a good thing for the Tablet PC space.