Thursday, April 06, 2006

Position Vacant: thoughtful Software Developer for UMPC

Hi Guys,

I've been chatting to a Software Developer friend of mine this evening (Tablet Specialist, and no not Dr. Neil) about developing for UMPC. He shot me this email which I thought I'd share with you all. I don't know about you, but I believe Software Developers will lead the way in early adoption of these devices; after all it's their apps that will give meaning to something that is somewhat inanimate at this point in time.

FYI here is what he wrote:

Hi Hugo,

I've been continuing to research the question of whether UMPCs support pressure and it looks like they don't. "Resistive" applies to the TFT screen technology rather than the digitiser.

To prove this, I found the following on a UMPC developer article today:

"Another related factor to keep in mind is that the pens for UMPCs are simple pointing devices rather than electromagnetic devices. This means that applications do not receive as much information about pen interactions as they do on a Tablet PC with an electromagnetic digitizer. Make sure that your applications destined for UMPC devices do not rely on the extra information, such as in-air packets or digitizer pressure, in order to function correctly."

Hope this helps...

Remember this, if software developers don't write software that takes into account all the little idiosyncrasies of UMPC then we'll soon feel a backlash of hate from the UMPC buying public. The sad thing is that most of this "buying public" won't even provide intelligible'll only ever hear things like "this sucks!"

If you're thinking of developing for UMPC then you must be prepared to think about the reason for your app, and the purpose it fills. If UMPC is going to have any success at all then focus on UMPC as the Lion and you (the developer) are the Tamer. Master the beast so that we, the buying public, may all enjoy the spectacle! When planning and coding for your App, be the buyer not the vendor - see the UMPC as we will see it; a device that needs to fill a purpose, it's your turn to shine.

  • Are you developing for UMPC?
  • Is there anything the community out there can do to support you?
  • Are you using Microsoft's UMPC Display Emulator?
  • Did you know that Resistive touch and Capacitive Touch are not the same thing?

Capacitive vs. Resistive touchscreens
(from my understanding UMPC will mostly be resistive)

Capacitive: A capacitive touch screen panel is coated with a material that stores electrical charges. When the panel is touched, a small amount of charge is drawn to the point of contact. Circuits located at each corner of the panel measure the charge and send the information to the controller for processing. Capacitive touch screen panels must be touched with a finger unlike resistive and surface wave panels that can use fingers and stylus. Capacitive touch screens are not affected by outside elements and have high clarity.

Resistive: A resistive touch screen panel is coated with a thin metallic electrically conductive and resistive layer that causes a change in the electrical current which is registered as a touch event and sent to the controller for processing. Resistive touch screen panels are generally more affordable but offer only 75% clarity and the layer can be damaged by sharp objects. Resistive touch screen panels are not affected by outside elements such as dust or water.


CTitanic said...

Well, I believe that many of the developers that you are going to see from now one are coming from the PPC world and they are very familiar with resistive screen. So that's not going to be a problem.

In another hand, there is going to be a problem with Tablet PC users trying to use the UMPC applications because they wont find there all those extra possibilities of the electromagnetic display.

Hugo Ortega said...

CTitanic (back again - hello mate)

Don't agree with you whole heartedly. When you consider the percentage of Tablet PC sales that occur vs. notebook sales I think you'll find that most UMPC buyers would never have had a Tablet experience at all.

If you think of Touch vs. Pen it's actually much more intuitive to generate touch - just do it for an hour and you'll find it hard to go back. I’d love UMPC software developers to take into account all parameters that make up UMPC so that their application can be as effective as possible.

Any developers want to have a say?

CTitanic said...

I do not understand you. I'm talking about PPC developers, like in my case. I do not see any difference between what we have in a PPC and what we are going to see in a UMPC. Well, there are some differences from the point of view of text recognition but that's all.

CTitanic said...

Of course, Tablet PC developers will see have to adapt to this new enviroment. I'm really new to Tablet PCs so may be I'm wrong but the impression that I have is that there is a lot less developers working for Tablet PCs that developers working for PPCs. Taking in consideration that many of the new UMPCs owners will come from the PPC world I'm expecting to see a lot of PPC developers starting to code for UMPCs. That's what I'm talking about.

Hugo Ortega said...

If you think PPC developers will come in droves to program for UMPC then great. I think UMPC will attract a clan full of new developers, hence no background of either. Seems we're both talking the same point of view from two angles.

Right, good then! We're all clear...come again soon.

CTitanic said...

The proof of my point you can see in me :D I have been developing for PPC for 4 years ( and the reason why I'm here now is because I see the UMPC as a new market ;)

Hugo Ortega said...

I hope more developers follow in your clever footsteps!

good job

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