MEX Notes: Chips for multi-platform; Ageing digital content; Windows strategy; Tablet future

  • Texas Instruments Debuts 1.8GHz OMAP 4 Chip – 3 displays, simultaneously, at resolutions up to 2048 x 1536. That's a recipe for some seriously interesting multi-platform experiences.
  • Photo Rage for iOS – I stumbled across this application in the The Guardian's Apps column and it reminded me of one of themes explored during the May 2011 MEX working session on Pathway #8. The group, challenged with finding new forms of creative expression using mobile devices, started thinking about how the elegant ageing process of traditional photos, film and books could manifest in the digital environment. This app seeks to bridge the gap between the way we interact with photos in the physical world – where they can be torn, cut-up or even burnt – and the more sanitised world of digital interactions, where users airbrush, copy and paste.
  • D9 Video: Microsoft's Steven Sinofsky on Windows 8 – A week after an investor called for major leadership change at Microsoft and said Ballmer was 'stuck in the past', this video is about the next version of Windows. However, several small moments in the clip provide insight into what drives the company's strategy and why it finds it hard to be inventive. Quotes such as 'modern, like an iPad', 'develop for Windows just like you do on the Internet' and 'this replaces the Start menu' paint a picture of a company led by competitive response, where the web remains a 'feature' and constrained by legacy conventions. As ever with Microsoft, there is also the assumption their '90 – 95% market share' will never change. Numbers can be misleading: if you look at internet experiences from a customer perspective, you could argue the majority are already happening through mobile devices and other connected appliances where Windows is noticeably absent. It is the classic mistake of an established monopoly to measure 'market share' in terms which flatter their existing position, while the market itself moves elsewhere…
  • Not So Fast, Tablets: New Reports Say Long Road Ahead – This is an example of how consumer surveys can only take you so far… That 14% of iPad owners said they didn't abandon purchasing a PC in favour of an iPad is not surprising. However, it is more revealing to observe the behaviour of new users when they try an iPad for the first time. It is difficult to conceive of how a tablet device could replace or compliment a PC until you've experienced one hands-on, but the realisation comes quickly and most users I've observed are hooked within a matter of minutes. Percentage answers to user surveys have their uses, but they are no substitute for getting intimately acquainted with what drives user behaviour. Make no mistake, the majority of mainstream digital experiences will migrate to the tablet form factor in time. Keyboard-driven PCs and laptops will be a small part of the market.

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