Thursday, December 15, 2011

Getting started with Microsoft Surface 2.0

Microsoft is about to start manufacturing and releasing to the market the highly expected Surface 2.0 Samsung SUR40 units. The new hardware is sleek and will provide a more engaging experience than its predecessor. The price is still steep for most mortal consumers, but cheaper than its previous version. It will be around $7,600.
A couple of years ago I was able to be part of the development team in several Surface 1.0 projects. They involved really cool interactions between the table, external screens, mobile phones and the use of web services, blue tooth and wireless networks. The work was intended to explore the next generation Surface user interfaces and potential applications.
Back then, the Surface 1.0 table was arguably the most advance multi-touch and multi-user experience out there. Although I have seen really cool experiments with TuIO and out of home experiences, Surface multi-touch contact point and gestures detection was far advanced.
With recent advancements in touch surfaces and underlying technologies, devices like tablets, slates and smartphones have taken the experience far ahead.
Surface 2.0 provides a promising platform for developing multi-touch, multi-user graphic intensive applications. The good news is that the new software development platform is far more aligned with the current state of the Microsoft ecosystem. Surface 2.0 development is based on the .NET Framework 4.0 and uses WPF 4.0 and XAML/C#. It also runs on top of the Windows 7 native touch runtime.
Now is a good time to take out some rust and dust from the Surface arena, and refresh SDK, development tools and development references. Here are some useful bits:surface-2.0-2011-01-06-600
You will need Visual Studio 2010 (Express version should work) and Expression Blend if you have it, which is the best user interface development tool in the market, no matter what other platforms say. Believe me, I have worked with iOS, Catalyst and Android UI development tools and Blend is far ahead, easier to use and more powerful.

Surface 2.0 is seen with interest by the industry and the progress made from the previous version will make it a very attractive development platform. Remember that if you are already a WPF or Silverlight development, you are virtually a Surface developer too !
What are you waiting for?

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