This is not my usual kind of topic, but I just came across an exciting new development. Sony has introduced the Xperia Sola with what they call floating touch capability. The screen on the device detects the presence of a finger up to 20mm away allowing for mouse-like hovering behaviors. What this means for me is that it would be an easy matter to create a velocity sensitive touch keyboard or set of pads on a device with this feature. Simply measure the time between entering the field and actually touching the device and then apply the number to the amplitude, or any other attribute of the sound. There is a significant amount of potential for expression with this technology. I would love to see this on a tablet and develop an instrument it. How would you like to see floating touch (or something like it) used for music applications?
I realize that I am running the risk of turning AudioCookbook into AudioSlateBook with all my tablet articles of late. However, I just have to say that based on the video from this article the Notion Ink Adam is pretty amazing. Notion Ink, based in Hyderabad, India, have designed the device with a 10″ transflective LCD that only uses 200 milliwatts allowing for up to 24 hours of battery life, or more than 10 hours of HD video playback. Another cool feature is a backside trackpad, apparently a first on any device. I like this idea for control when you don’t want to obscure the screen. I find it exciting that new technology is starting to respond to humans in more human ways, like Google’s voice to text in Android OS, and multitouch and accelerometers for gestural input on mobile devices.
Gizmodo has a couple of interesting articles illustrating how the race to release a multi-touch slate device is heating up. First up is Slate Showdown. In this article specs from a broad collection of upcoming slates have been compiled and compared. Devices running Android and Windows 7 will be the most prevalent competitors to Apple’s iPad.
Another impressive development are new details regarding Notion Ink’s Adam Tablet. Reportedly the Android device will output 1080p video via an HDMI output, has a 10.1″ capacitive touchscreen capable of recognizing six simultaneous points of contact, and supports Flash.
Love or hate the iPad, it has certainly stirred up the pot. Most of these devices were under development long before Apple’s announcement, so what we’re seeing is not necessarily a “jump on the bandwagon” effect, but more of a “hey look, over here, we’re already working on that!” reaction.
The alleged fear of litigation over Apple’s supposed multi-touch patents has seemed to evaporate as more and more devices are announced. And let’s not forget Jazzmutant’s beloved Lemur. Take a look at Peter Kirn’s article What’s Next For Lemur for a lively discussion about the controller, it’s future, and competitive products.
With all the Android devices appearing recently, I’ve decided it is time to upgrade my four year old Sony Ericsson K800i to a Google Nexus One smart phone (I think I’ll hold off on calling it a super phone for now) and perhaps consider using it as a controller as I have been with the iPod Touch. Another consideration is attempting to do some music software development on the Android platform. Perhaps porting the GMS, developed in Processing.org, may even be possible with the Nexus One’s 1 GHz Snapdragon (Qualcomm QSD 8250) processor and the built in video camera.
I currently have the phone in hand and will write about my impressions once I’ve had time to familiarize myself with it. It’s definitely going to take some getting used to, but so far I can say that the display is gorgeous and for the most part the functionality is wicked fast.
Music applications for Android under development include TouchOSC, and I’ve read several articles on CDM highlighting others that are available or in progress. I’m curious about Android music or sound based projects and applications that are either currently available or under development. Please comment if you’ve encountered articles or examples on this topic. After doing some research, perhaps I can start experimenting with some of the apps and writing about them here on ACB. Thanks!