It’s easy to lose track of some of the amazing new Windows 7 PCs that seems to come out every other week, which is what makes this Microsoft “Merry Go Round” video so much fun to watch.
This ad-like 3-minute video takes a whirlwind tour of some neat Windows 7 features on at least a dozen gorgeous Windows 7 laptops and desktops from HP, Toshiba, ASUS, Samsung, Dell, Lenovo, Acer and Sony. Intel’s WiDi wireless display technology, HTC HD2 Windows phone and the upcoming HP Slate (with emulated UI) also make brief appearances. You’d be hard pressed to find a better video showing off the current Windows hardware ecosystem.
Apparently students from the University of Technology Sydney and Sydney TAFE are more tempted by street-side packaged software than one could possibly imagine. Microsoft Australia catches them in the act. Of course one can’t assume all of them were trying to “steal” software, at the same time that doesn’t make their reactions any less enjoyable.
The project which spans across XBOX 360 and Windows Phone 7 leverages users’ personalized 3D avatars to create virtual scenes that reflect their current status through graphics rather than text. For example, in the video there are avatars seen golfing, DJing, dancing, rocking out and riding an airplane (quite literally) with a cityscape background to indicate what they’re doing and where.
Although it’s not entirely clear how it integrates to Twitter and Facebook or the scope of activities, I think this is a neat idea to make status updates more personal and easier at the same time. Considering the XBOX Live integration in Windows Phone 7 and Microsoft’s direct involvement in this project, we could very well see this idea in fruition very soon.
Pen and touch computing have long-thought to be mutually exclusive methods of human-computer interaction, but as the Microsoft Research project “Manual Deskterity” shows, the two intuitively combined makes for a much powerful input method than each of them might ever be on their own.
If you’re short on time, the real soul of the demo – a custom application for the Microsoft Surface with a special infrared pen – starts at the 1 minute mark and shows off capabilities that either wouldn’t be practical or possible at all by either pen or touch alone. Bear in mind however this is a research project so the application is quite limited in scope.
Having seen Bill Buxton briefly explore the combination of pen and touch only weeks ago in a Microsoft Research video, it came as no surprise to me that he’s very much involved with this project. To quote him, “everything is best for something and worst for something else” sums up the pen and touch debate perfectly. Combining the best attributes of each just makes sense.
As straightforward as it might be, this logo actually comes at somewhat of a surprise to me since it contrasts with current text-based “Wave 3″ Windows Live branding with a Windows logo, the name “Windows Live” and the name of the service affixed to the end wordmark.
This new branding not only puts more emphasis on Hotmail (and less on Windows Live) but also an unusually vibrant orange envelope icon, similar however not the same as the current Mail desktop client icon. As the Live branding up and until now has always been predominantly blue, this certainly stands out.