Saturday, March 20, 2010

Perception is everything

Mix10 was a great event. There was plenty of activity around the new announcements, Windows Phone 7 Series, IE9, Microsoft Translator, Silverlight 4 and Blend 4.
It is interesting to watch how the masses now say it is all about Silverlight and Windows Phone 7 series and nothing else matters. Again and again I hear how touch is the new interface for everything. This perception is clearly not correct and yet it is the perception of developers coming away from an event like Mix.
There were also some missing players from the conversation. One of them close to my heart was Microsoft Surface. I think when a Microsoft Product Group with high profile decides not to attend a big Microsoft event such as Mix it sends the wrong message to the developers and the geek community. Engadget recently published this article, which almost predicts the end of Surface as a product.
This is clearly not the truth. I have been busy training partners over the last 15 months, and these partners are busy building solutions for real customers buying Surface units.
New products like Surface take a long time to roll out. This is not helped by the fact that most Surface applications are still failing to meet the basic criteria of what it takes to be a great Surface application. A very quick litmus test to determine if an application is a good Surface application can be achieved by deciding if the application does anything that cannot be done on a vertical touch screen. If an application would work just as well on a vertical touch screen then it does nothing to take advantage of running on a Surface unit and is therefore not a great Surface software citizen.
If developers and designers can evolve their thinking to understand what makes a great Surface application, I expect Surface solutions to get better and more companies to want to buy them. Until then it will be a long slow process before Surface proliferates into the world.

No comments: