Yesterday I had a had an online Q&A with Geoff Walker, Product Marketing Manager, NextWindow. NextWindow makes touch screens, and are used by numerous computer manufacturers. I reviewed his company here yesterday(see below). Today, I’m presenting the results of the Q&A.
1. Has Windows7 been easy to work with? Have obstacles that your technology faced overcome using Windows 7 or did it not make a difference?
[GW] Windows 7 is very easy to work with. From the touch-screen manufacturer’s point of view, writing a Win-7 touch driver is straightforward. Passing the Win-7 Logo touch certification was challenging, but NextWindow was the first touch-screen manufacturer to achieve the Logo. From a touch application programmer’s perspective, Win-7 touch is very easy. The operating system abstracts the touch hardware so that the programmer doesn’t need to know what touch technology is being used. The application program can make two simple API (applications programming interface) calls to retrieve user touch-gestures from the operating system so that it can handle its own custom-defined gestures.
2. Typically how long does your product take to develop?
[GW] If an OEM or ODM customer requests a new size of touch-screen, one that we haven’t manufactured before, it takes us only about four to six weeks until we are in full production for that customer. Developing an entirely new generation of optical touch product (hardware & software) is the same creating any other new high-technology product — it typically takes six months to a year. However, this cycle time is becoming shorter as everything moves faster and becomes more efficient.
3. Are you receiving more orders from other computer manufacturers for touch screens?
[GW] Absolutely. We shipped more than a half-million optical touch-screens in 2009. Our current PC-OEM customers (in alphabetical order) include Asus, Dell (3 models), HP (3 models), Lenovo, Medion, NEC, Samsung (2 models) and Sony. There are an additional three or four OEMs with products under development that we can’t talk about yet. We are very bullish about the growth rate of touch on the consumer desktop, especially on all-in-one computers.
4. Do you work with Microsoft at all on this technology?
[GW] Yes. We worked very closely with Microsoft in helping them develop the Windows 7 Logo test. We are currently working with them on a large-format (>30 inch screen) logo test specification. We work with Microsoft on a wide variety of applications, particularly in the large-format area. And we continue to interface with Microsoft as they begin the development of Windows 8.
5. How do you envision your company working with touch in the future?
[GW] Our vision is “bringing an intuitive user experience to every home, desktop and wall”. This means that we are focused on making the PC user experience more intuitive, not just shipping millions of touchscreens (which we definitely do also). We focus on touch and “virtual touch” using our core expertise of capturing, analyzing and interpreting data from sensors (especially optical sensors). “Home, desktop and wall” refers to our markets — the consumer home PC, the desktop PC in enterprise (once touch starts to penetrate there), and large-format displays in interactive-information applications and education.
Microsoft and Touch Technology
Microsoft has spent considerable time to make their touch technology available through Windows7. Other aspects of Windows 7 as I have written here before show that hardware constraints are being overcome on a frequent basis. There is touch technology that uses muscle implants with wireless to connect to the screen. There are applications that allow safety collaboration and coordination that work with touch. To say that we are entering Star Trek territory would be an understatement.
See additional posts on this topic.
Multitouch Demo – HP Touchsmart TX2 Tablet – Windows 7