Microsoft delivered a new software development kit for its Surface computer. The company estimates that the touch-enabled Surface computer will have a multibillion-dollar ecosystem by 2013. And, with the new SDK, Microsoft is hoping to attract more developers to create Surface applications.
LOS ANGELES-Microsoft has delivered a new software development kit for its
At the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference here, Brad Carpenter,
general manager of Microsoft's Surface team, told eWEEK the Surface SDK is
available for developers to begin to use. Microsoft is hoping to expand its
base of developers who create applications for the Surface computers, according
to Carpenter, who leads the software platform development efforts for Microsoft
Surface, including the development of the subsystem, shell and SDK.
Moreover, the Surface SDK aligns with the multitouch developer road map for
Windows 7 and Microsoft's WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation), Carpenter
"We see this as a multibillion-dollar ecosystem by 2013,"
Carpenter said. "All of this investment by Microsoft requires great
applications for this technology to really take off. And we expect more
developers to take advantage of the new capabilities with the SDK."
The Surface provides a natural user interface for users through simple
touch. Microsoft Surface computing uses sensing and display technology to
deliver digital content to everyday surfaces. The Surface platform supports
direct interaction, multitouch and object recognition, and is a multiuser system.
Carpenter said the Surface is being used today in five major vertical
markets: automotive, financial services, health care, leisure and entertainment,
The Surface software development environment includes custom versions of WPF
controls and custom controls for the Surface-specific user experience,
Microsoft officials said. For instance, the new ScatterView control enables
360-degree multiuser applications. And the TagVisualizer control simplifies
common scenarios involving tagged objects.
Meanwhile, Microsoft is creating a unified API
for touch. And the company has made it easy to port WPF and XNA applications to
Microsoft delivered the new Surface SDK to 1,200 PDC
attendees, according to Carpenter. In addition, Microsoft is offering a 10 percent
discount on the price of a Surface computer, which the company estimated to
cost between $5,000 and $10,000, depending on the type of unit.
However, "the SDK has in it a simulator so developers can run it on a
PC," Carpenter said.
Along with the new Surface SDK, developers, according to Microsoft
officials, can use the following Microsoft technologies to develop applications
for the Surface computer: WPF, the Microsoft XNA development platform,
Microsoft Visual C# 2008 Express Edition, Microsoft Visual Studio 2008,
Microsoft Expression Studio 2 and Microsoft Expression Blend 2.
Also at the PDC, during the keynote of
Rick Rashid, Microsoft's senior vice president of research, Microsoft
researchers showed off a new Surface prototype application called
The researchers from Microsoft's research lab in Cambridge, England, showed
off SecondLight's capabilities, including the ability to project an entirely
different image onto a second surface atop the Surface computer, such as onto a
piece of paper or a scroll. The demo showed how a piece of paper held over an
image on the Surface could display a new image with information about the image
The SecondLight experiment demonstrates how Microsoft can move the user experience
more in line with real-world situations, the researchers said.
at PC Magazine
has a good post on SecondLight. Said Hachman:
"The experimental SecondLight technology adds a second dimension to
Surface, allowing users to slide 'magic lenses' over the display to provide a
second surface that can be linked to the first. In one example, Microsoft
researchers projected a picture of a car on the Surface display. But add
separate, portable pieces of glass that can be moved across the display, and
presto! the glasses are transformed into 'X-ray specs' allowing a wireframe
model to be viewed."