Microsoft Working On Self-Cleaning Touch Screens

Ultra Violet (UV) rays have magical powers. At the right wavelength they can be used to disinfect surfaces. During a startup event in Syracuse, I saw a demo of the concept being used to cleanse door handles. It seemed cool and somehow I forgot about it till I came across a patent application filed by Microsoft.

If you thought finger smudges were the only issue when it came to touch screen computers, there is the cleanliness aspect as well. Knowing people who would spend 20 minutes wiping the keyboard and mouse in my school’s computer lab, I believe there are people who would love to have self-cleaning touch screen devices. Then there are hospitals and public systems like the automated teller machines. Microsoft’s patent application uses UV rays to sterilize the touch screens.

UV rays at a particular frequency can kill germs and the concept is known as Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation  (UVGI). Quoting parts of the Wikipedia article on the topic:

 UVGI is a highly effective method of destroying microorganisms.  It is used in a variety of applications, such as food, air and water purification.  UVGI utilises the short wavelength of UV that is harmful to microorganisms. It is effective in destroying the  nucleic acids  in these organisms so that their  DNA  is disrupted by the UV radiation. This removes their reproductive capabilities and kills them.

According to the patent  application, the concept is fairly simple. In addition to the backlight LEDs, the devices will now have UV LEDs too. The system will make use of proximity sensors to determine if a user is close to the system and deactivate the sterilization process. If not, the UV rays would be activated. The idea is simple and from the demo I saw on the concept, public touch screen based computing systems should use it. Image from the patent:

If Microsoft plans to let its OEM partners leverage Microsoft’s IP to make such self-cleaning tablet devices for hospitals, it’d be a great USP over the iPad and get Windows 8 based tablets through the door in enterprise.

Patent Application

Microsoft’s Cloud OS To Streamline Experience Across Your Phone, Desktop & TV

I decided to skip writing about these patents because gesture patents don’t really excite me since I don’t think they should be granted. However, now that Tom at Winrumors has taken the trouble of sharing the information, I thought I’d share some details.

cloud-os

Gesture patents having cloud in their descriptions get my attention. Last time around, I came across a patent that explained custom Kinect gestures as roaming profiles (it is as cool as it sounds). Reading through patents I found the relevant cloud part that explains some very intriguing possibilities. Microsoft is rumored to be working towards a one-codebase across the Xbox, Windows Phone and Desktop/Tablet after Windows 8 and these patent applications fit in that vision. (I wouldn’t be surprised if 4 years from now I tell someone that I knew about this feature.)

The engineers try to explain how Natural User Interfaces are now being used to interact with the television (Xbox Kinect), touch phones and tablets. These screens have different user interaction experiences and so does the desktop. Microsoft hopes to have all your devices connected to a cloud server farm. This server farm will push out gesture profiles based on the device you are using (or something like that).

the central computing device is a “cloud” server farm […] this interconnection architecture enables functionality to be delivered across multiple devices to provide a common and seamless experience to the user […] Each of the multiple devices may have different physical requirements and capabilities, and the central computing device uses a platform to enable the delivery of an experience to the device that is both tailored to the device and yet common to all devices.

The cloud is illustrated as including a platform for web services. The platform abstracts underlying functionality of hardware (e.g., servers) and software resources of the cloud and thus may act as a “cloud operating system.”

For example, the platform may abstract resources to connect the computing device with other computing devices.

Accordingly, in an interconnected device embodiment, implementation of functionality of the gesture module may be distributed throughout the system. For example, the gesture module may be implemented in part on the computing device as well as via the platform that abstracts the functionality of the cloud.

As I said, the possibilities described are exciting. Nilay Patel wrote about the one Windows for all screens and the patent explains the benefits of the concept – load balancing, malware protection and performance scalability.

Microsoft’s patent also explains how they plan to implement stylus and finger touch working together in their multi-touch products. Based on the spread-size of the object touching, the system will be able to distinguish between the stylus and the fingers.

Patent Application

BlackBerry OS6 WebKit Browser Video Preview And Benchmarks

BlackBerry, like Nokia have been unable to catch up with the touchevolution in mobile phones. The BlackBerry Storm and the Storm 2 were a major failure, thanks to the out-dated BlackBerry OS. Now all the BlackBerry fans have pinned their hopes on the next generation BlackBerry OS, and it looks like they won’t be disappointed. Salomondrin have posted a video of the new browser in the upcoming BlackBerry OS in action.

The new browser on the BlackBerry OS 6 is based on the same webkit code used by Apple’s Safari web-browser and the Android web-browser. In the Acid3 benchmark, the new BlackBerry browser outperformed both the iPhone 4 and HTC Incredible. However, users should keep in mind that the HTC Incredible was running on Android 2.1, and not on Android 2.2 (Froyo).

Here is the video I am talking about :

The HTML5 score of the webkit browser is impressive as well. Looks like RIM has been working hard behind the scene to make sure BlackBerry OS 6 and its future devices meet the expectations of the general public. Kudos to RIM for this!

Swype Beta for Android released for download

An updated version of Swype Beta for Android is now available for download. Earlier Swype was available only on mobile touchscreen devices which came pre-installed with it. The previous Beta version of Swype was also made also made available for a short duration of time last year. After that timed beta, this is the first time Swype beta for Android is being released for public download.

As reported earlier, an updated version of the Swype beta was slated for release today. The Android application has just been released at their website. To download visit here. One just needs to register with his email address and they will send a link for the download.

Swype is an very innovative application which allows text entry into mobile touchscreen devices in an entirely new method. The letters of the words you want to enter are swiped and then the application’s predictive text algorithm chooses the words you wanted to enter. According to the company officials the Swype predictive text algorithm boasts of an accuracy greater than 95%.

Swype Beta to be available for download

According to latest news, the wildly successfull and popular Swype software will be made available for download in its beta version in a few hours. Swype is a Ttouchscreen mobile application that allows text entry faster than any other method.

Untill now Swype was not available freely and only came pre-installed with few mobile devices. After the first release, the application had become highly popular and they had released a beta for a timed period last year. Within a few hours this is set to change as a beta version of the Android application will be available for download at the Swype website.

This application has totally revolutionised typing methods in mobile touchscreen devices. Recently a Swype user Franklin Page set a Guiness Book World record for fastest text entry on a mobile touchscreen device with a time of 35.54 seconds. The text was The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human,.

Source : TechCrunch

Soon be available for download here : Swype

Samsung Wave 2

Samsung unleashes the second wave of its propriety Bada OS with two new smartphones – the Samsung S5250 Wave 2 and the Samsung S5330 Wave 2 Pro. As reported earlier, the Samsung S8500 Wave was the flagship model of its Bada OS line projected to hit the Indian market next week.

The Wave 2models inspite of the name are not successors of the S8500 in the features they carry. Both the models sport 3.2″ TFT screens with WQVGA resolution which are far from the league of the high resolution Super AMOLED screen hosted by the first Wave.The remaining specs are also lower than those of the S8500 Wave.

Both are 2G models also supporting Wifi 802.11n and 3MP cameras. The only notable difference between them is that the Promodel has a slide-out QWERTY keyboard.

Samsung is looking to lower the price bar on its Bada OS line of smartphones with these models and thereby make an impact on the lower price range markets. They should be hitting the market by August.

Source : Gsmarena

Acer to release two new Android devices

Android is certainly hot and happening these days with Acer launching two products – the beTouch E120 and beTouch E130. Both the smartphones surprisingly are based on the older Android 1.6 Donut rather than the latest Android 2.1.

The noteworthy difference between these models is that while Acer beTouch E120 has a 2.8-inch QVGA touchscreen, the Acer beTouch E130 has a 2.6-inch QVGA touchscreen and a QWERTY keybaord. Both have a 3.2- MP camera and the usual dualband 3G, WiFi and Bluetooth and a not very powerful 416 Mhz processor.

The beTouch E120 slated for release in mid-July, followed by the beTouch E130 in August. The availability of many other Android 2.1 smart-phones till then is sure to cause a few problems in sales. The main advantage of these phones however is that sporting Android 1.6, they come with numerous useful applications and further Android has a huge application database.

The Acer beTouch line has a slew of Google applications for all purposes Android browser,Google Maps with Latitude, YouTube support, Facebook, Twidroid and more.

Source : Android Community

Samsung S8500 Wave Spec-Sheet and More

The Samsung S8500 Wave, soon to hit the Indian markets, is a beauty to behold. Samsung is launching its own brand new OS the Bada OS with the S8500 Wave as its next flagship model. How will it fare against heavyweights such as Android, Windows Phone 7 and Symbian? Only time will tell.

The mammoth Super AMOLED touchscreen is the heart of this beauty giving it stunning image quality. Its powered by an ARM Cortex A8 based 1GHz CPU, so it is hardly lacking in horsepower. Its greatest disadvantage is that having a new OS, there are not many applications available – unlike the numerous applications for Android or Symbian.

Features :-

  • 3.3″ 16M-color Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen
  • ARM Cortex A8 based 1GHz CPU
  • The new Bada OS with Samsung Apps
  • Built-in GPS receiver
  • Samsung Mobile Navigator
  • 720p HD Video Recording
  • 802.11n Wi-Fi
  • TouchWiz 3.0 UI
  • 5.0 MP camera

With the S8500 Wave, Samsung has taken first steps in a new direction. As its application base grows, the successors of S8500 might have a greater chance of success. Thus it might be safe to say that its Android based cousin the Samsung Galaxy S has a far greater probability of being a hit. It is already being touted as the best Android phone yet, but the future being fluid and dynamic the Samsung S8500 Wave might just surprise us all.

To get a better look at this phone, go here.

Lenovo Unveils The IdeaCenre A700 All-In-One Computer With Touch Screen

Lenovo has just unveiled the Lenovo IdeaCentre A700 all-in-computer with a 23LED full HD touch screen display. Seems like every computer manufacture is jumping into the new all-in-one computer with touch screen display bandwagon. WayLenovo A700 back in December, Dell had also launched its all-in-one Inspiron One 19 PC with a 19touch screen display. The multi-touch display on the A700 is optional and is sadly not available in all regions of the world.

According to Lenovo, the A700 uses the Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) touch screen technology which is used in medical applications. This technology arguably improves the touch screen response. The Lenovo A700 is at its thickest point a mere 2.5 inch thick, and a mere 0.88 inch thick at its slimmest point. This all-in-one computer will definitely turn some eye-balls when it will be launched. The Lenovo A700 is also wall mountable, making for a perfect living room PC.

Users can select any processor up to the Intel Core i7 processor. The device also has a HDMI in and a HDMI out port. The device can be loaded with up to 8Gb of DDR3 RAM and 2TB of storage space. The Lenovo A700 will come with an ATI Dx 11 based graphics card. The device also features 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and a 6-in-1 card reader.

The Lenovo A700 will be available since June-end onwards and the base model of the device will cost $699.

Apple Not To Use Intel Atom Processors In “iSlate”?

It seems that Apple has ditched the popular Intel Atom processor for their upcoming but still unannounced iSlatetouchscreen tablet device. The folks over at pocket-lint.com had a conversation with the Apple’s design manufactureapple-logo partners, and they have indicated that Apple won’t be using an Intel Atom processor to power the iSlate.

Apple instead seems to have used a processor made by a firm which they had acquired 2 years ago, named P A Semi. The report from pocket-lint.com says that Apple will not be using the Intel Atom processors, which contradicts the leaked specs of the iSlate , we had reported to our readers a few days ago. The leaked specifications of the iSlatestated that the device will be using an Intel Core 2 Duo low voltage processor. The leaked specification do look over the top to me as fitting all the above said stuff in such a small form factor seems impossible right now, with the available technology. The iSlatewill hopefully be announced on 26th January at the Yerba Buena Center For The Arts as we had reported earlier. Even though Apple has not mentioned anything about a touchscreen tablet device, the whole of the internet is currently abuzz with Apple’s iSlatedevice. Whether these are just plain rumors or whether these rumors are true to a certain extent, can only be found out at the upcoming BigApple event. These rumors have definitely helped Apple though, as the value of there shares are soaring right now.