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Microsoft Research Shows off Pen and Touch Together



Steve Jobs may say that a stylus is a no no and any device that requires one fails, but the folks at Microsoft Research are the ones thinking different. Check out this video from Microsoft Research using pen and touch together on a Surface table. At the beginning of the video it looks very familiar to the dual digitizer devices we see now, but keep watching, there are some unique uses of both pen and touch as the video plays out. Now, if we can only get this on a small screen.

Via SlashGear and istartedsomething



  1. Grey

    04/09/2010 at 11:06 am

    Awesome! Now release this Courier thing we are all drooling over and destroy the iPad!! :)

  2. Rodfather

    04/09/2010 at 11:42 am

    I love it.

  3. Feralboy

    04/09/2010 at 12:08 pm

    Now that’s a MAGICAL device!

  4. Mickey Segal

    04/09/2010 at 12:18 pm

    This is brilliant. Lots of us have said how it is optimal to have the choice of pen or touch, but the insight shown here by Microsoft is that there are terrific capabilities combining pen and touch.

    This will be a “must have” feature, and if Apple sticks to the finger only approach it will regret the decision.

    Companies in China are already offering computers in the iPad form factor with non-Apple operating systems. And Microsoft is focusing on Surface, which is not likely to become a mainstream product. Both are close to what is needed, but I’m with Warner – the future lies in pen + touch in screens smaller than a piece of furniture.

  5. GoodThings2Life

    04/09/2010 at 3:05 pm

    Yep, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… Microsoft is far more innovative and cool than most give it credit for… but they (and their OEM’s) need to learn how to actually move beyond Research, and how to market things to consumers again, because that’s where they’re lacking. So slow to execute and deliver, and marketing is practically non-existent.

    This stuff proves just how cool Microsoft can be though… when they want to be.

    • ChrisRS

      04/09/2010 at 4:32 pm

      Yes! Cool! I can rqally see thsi as usfull for cadd, etc..

      Now, how about a demo of MS Office? Oh…..! You say you cold get anyone form the Office group to come to the demo? What a surprize…

      Get this on the Tablet PC and get the MS productivity apps on board and you will have something. Until then .. YES! COOL! BUT, we will have to wait for Apple to change their mind about pens and become a threat. Then MS will come up with meaningful marketing and apps.

    • Mickey Segal

      04/10/2010 at 7:35 am

      Harvard Business School professor and innovation expert Clay Christensen has described how vertical control is sometimes helpful in making jumps over chasms between old and new approaches. When software and hardware changes are part of the jump over the chasm, the company that can make both happen together will have an advantage.

      Microsoft tried to do this after many of us made the case to them for Tablet PCs that were more portable. The result was the Origami series, which was not what we had in mind; we wanted a Motion LS800 that was thinner and cheaper. But Microsoft didn’t have much control over the hardware folks, making change less coherent. And when it came to getting Microsoft to talk with clothing manufacturing companies about sport jackets with bigger pockets, both sides endorsed the vision but wanted the other to move first across the chasm.

      Christensen’s view is that once one company jumps the chasm, others get the idea and follow, and the vertical control breaks up again to yield a more competitive marketplace again.

      This week could be seen as the beginning of that phase because of two important developments. One is the brilliant pen + touch synergy demonstrated by Microsoft, and the other is Apple’s Flash to Objective C cross compiler ban, which has the feel of over-reach that will boomerang against Apple.

  6. Nameless

    04/09/2010 at 3:38 pm

    When I first watched the Courier concept videos, I knew Microsoft was on to something when they leveraged touch AND pen.

    This just confirms it-anyone who does NOT leverage the power of the pen is doing it wrong!

  7. Ken Hinckley

    04/09/2010 at 9:57 pm

    Guys, this is my research so y’know I’m thinking about tablet pc’s and slates.

    This cannot be done on any current tablet pc so that’s why we did the research on the Surface.

    check out AlpineInker blog for. a little more disscussion on it.

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