Razorfone: a conceptual Windows 7 & WPF-powered multi-touch phone retail experience

If there’s one company that knows how to build great multi-touch experiences, it has to be Razorfish. Over the course of a year now, these guys have been showing off a bunch of groundbreaking interactive retail experiences built on top of multi-touch technologies, prominently but not limited to the Microsoft Surface.

Their latest work, dubbed Razorfone, is a conceptual retail experience for consumers looking to purchase mobile phones, but what makes this stand out from the rest is that it’s actually built on top of Windows 7′s multi-touch support and Windows Presentation Foundation. Although not the first time this combination has been used before but it’s certainly one of the best implementations I’ve seen so far.

Those familiar with multi-touch retail experiences might recall some similarities between this and the AT&T Surface application – especially in the side-by-side comparison demo, but before you call their lawyers, that’s because Razorfish was responsible for that too.

They ought to get these in the Microsoft Stores, minus the iPhone of course.

19 insightful thoughts

  1. nice… only problem is that my experience with developing touch screen kiosks for retail is that customers rather:

    a) talk to a real person

    b) hold and play with the real product

    or

    c) have usually done their homework and already know what they want.

    For the remaining 10 people I guess this sort of thing is nice eye candy…

  2. What RazorFish have done here is awesome, I think they have demonstrated how to program for some great technologies i.e Windows 7 and WPF. Microsoft needs more guys/startups like this, absolute quality RazorFish Kudos.

    @Tom – I am the kind of guy that would use Razorfone in store 100%

    a) I dont want to talk to Saturday staff who 95%of the time dont know sh!t about their products. I find this happens in most electronic / Mobile stores.

    b) Yes of course i’d want to feel the product but first I need to distinguish out of several handsets which 1-2 I want ! Razorfone looks like It could do this for me by helping to narrow down my choices.

    c) I agree 100% for us Geeks but the average Jo?

  3. Meh. These slow-to-response touch interfaces are getting old. I mean look how sluggish the dragging is. It’s like the 1998 all over again.
    World needs snappy interfaces, not sluggish windows-vista-with-256mb-ram stuff.

    Maybe if this company sticks with it they can create something better – but unlikely. I think breakthrough is going to come from someone like Google.

  4. Drozzy,

    How exactly does the interfacace look slow to you? Maybe you should watch the video with the HD option (to the right of the video) set to off. Also this (http://vimeo.com/4669189) Razorfashion video highlights better just how snappy is the interface.

    Tom,

    At most retail stores, salespeople barely know about the products in the store. So you are better off looking at and comparing products yourself – which the above application allows you to do very well. Also the application allows you to see user reviews, which are invaluable in making good purchasing decisions. Also the vast majority of consumers do NOT do their homework before coming to stores. So the above software will be an invaluable resource to them. As for holding and playing with the real product, the above software doesn’t prevent this from happening: it just guides customers to the product most theoretically suitable for them. After playing with the product, customers can make their final decision.

    I think the product is great. My only criticism is that I think the majority of these displays should be angled at 45 degrees or less (like drafting boards) in stores, to allow customers to use them in a prolonged fashion, and not have their arms become tired. Having the displays fully horizontal is the most comfortable position for customers. However angling them a bit allows the displays to also attract customers from afar, and act in some kind of promotion capacity.

  5. Sorry I’ll have to bite on this…

    @Fred: “…much richer and snappier frameworks available.”
    Please DO tell me which richer frameworks are those?

    I hope you don’t say stuff like flash – which is also written in javascript :-) Also you do realize that technology has nothing to do with it – it’s the programming?

    @P. Douglas: In that video it does look a little snappier.

  6. I’m more curious as for who the track in the background is by. Wonderful, quirky little song.

    As for the experience itself, it looks fantastic, and is almost on a natural level, in that anyone can just come by, without instructions, and know just how to use it. At most, tactile response could be improved, but otherwise, just fantastic!

  7. @drozzy “”Please DO tell me which richer frameworks are those?”"

    silverlight and WPF are really great for web applications. Yes, even WPF.
    javascript, html5, and CSS3 really suck in term of features and performance when you compare them to silverlight or WPF. (yes I know Silverlight is not a web standard, but being a web standard doesn’t make html/css/jscript suck less!)

    I’m using WPF to build a web application that allows a user to explore his Windows Mobile device content from his web browser:

    http://www.julien-manici.com/windows_mobile_wifi_remote_access/

    So far, users really like this kind of hardware accelerated 3d user interface! This really changes from the boring html pages. And for people who can’t use WPF, there is still a classic html interface.

  8. I’d rather use this awesome screen, then talk to a salesperson. With these screen I can experience a part of the product experience without – in most cases – overly motivated and annoying salesmen. And yeah, i’m a fan of god designed interface, and this my friends is a good designed interface, not mindblowing, yet very well-designed.

  9. I’m more curious as for who the track in the background is by. Wonderful, quirky little song.

    As for the experience itself, it looks fantastic, and is almost on a natural level, in that anyone can just come by, without instructions, and know just how to use it. At most, tactile response could be improved, but otherwise, just fantastic!

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