Microsoft to acquire multi-touch technology developer

Toronto – Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer pretended to be Walter Kronkite and interrupted the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference half-way through to tell the 16,000 in attendance a special bulletin: Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) just acquired Perceptive Pixel Inc., a developer of large-scale, unlimited multi-touch devices based in New York.

On hand to give the audience a live demo was Perceptive Pixel founder Jeff Han, who started the company in 2007. Some of Perceptive Pixel’s technology was featured during the 2008 U.S. presidential election on CNN.

Han showed one wall size devices about 81-inches in size running the Windows 8 operating system, which will be widely available this October. Han said that this technology in combination with Windows 8 can be an ideal replacement for conference rooms and classrooms. One of Microsoft’s original tablet solutions OneNote was used by Han to take notes on the screen, mark up diagrams and through the touch interface start a new session.

Han also demonstrated mapping and presentations.

Ballmer described the Perceptive Pixel technology as “jaw dropping”. But he added that the challenge is to get the hardware down to a more acceptable level in terms of price and availability. “This device can be in every office and in every classroom, think about it,” Ballmer said.

Current these units cost $85,000. Both Han and Ballmer believe this can be a big opportunity for the channel to create “game changing solutions”.

Ballmer added that this type of technology can be replicated onto other machines and with roam capabilities people can be able to collaborate better in many locations. “This changes the way you work dramatically and the white board is gone,” Ballmer said.He also said that Perceptive Pixel technology with Skype from Microsoft can even eliminate people making copies of presentations or meetings because the notes can be shared on the spot.

One of the first vendors to bring a large multi-touch screen to market is InFocus with its MondoPad. The MondoPad is described by the vendor as a human, natural touch interface. InFocus’, which is a projector display manufacturer predominantly, goal with the MondoPad is to change the way people interact with information, collaborate and connect. But the MondoPad has proprietary software called MondoControl that enables the user to create presentation, annotation and collaboration applications.

You can follow Paolo Del Nibletto on twitter @PaoloCDN during the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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