2 new Zune HD video walkthrough

The fruit loving boys at Gizmodo have just posted two videos of the Zune HD in actions. In the first one you can see the UI in action while the player is hooked to an HDTV :

The second video is a basic UI walkthrough:

I don’t want to say more—this is not a review, and I won’t be the reviewer when we do pass judgment—but let me say that, as someone who’s never been terribly excited by past Zunes, this one took me pleasantly by surprise.

Source: Gizmodo

Microsoft’s Research into Interface Technology

Here’s an interesting presentation made Microsoft’s newly hired Johnny “Wiimote Master” Chung Lee during the Thinking Digital conference last May.

Venturebeat is also running a series of articles called Conversations on Innovation sponsored by Microsoft:

We’ll be publishing the pieces over the next few weeks. Beginning Wednesday, we’ll tackle our first theme: natural human interface technology. Here, touch technology and motion recognition are combining to allow impressively intelligent applications — many of which will soon be in your car, your home and mobile device. The apps span from new ways to use multiplayer games to services that can use cameras and projectors to tell you all about someone, even if they’re a stranger.

We’ll be posting pieces by our own writers as well as by independent experts. Microsoft, as a sponsor, will also contribute pieces. These pieces will all be marked as “Conversations on Innovation.”

Other themes we’ll explore in these Conversations include the cloud (where we’ll ask what needs to come together, such as policy standards and programming models, to reach our true potential with the cloud), electronic health care (the promise is ever present, and there’s political and financial momentum, so now what?), web applications-meet-the-enterprise, extreme computing (multi-core, massive data centers, utility and cloud computing are combining to allow “extreme impact,” but where?) and smart power (technology will be needed to save the planet, but where can it best be used?).

HTC Leo renders supposedly leaked again

I’m still having doubts about all these HTC Leo specs and render leaks. But anyway I’ll just let you judge by yourself.

Update: Looks like they are real

Source: ai.rs via: WMPowersuer

Let’s talk about Touch on Windows Mobile 6.5

Marcus Perryman’s just posted part 2 of his Windows Mobile 6.5 Touch API article. This time he goes a little bit deeper into how the physics engine handles users interaction and updates the framerate and talks about the new WAGI (Windows Auto Gesture Interface).

WindowAutoGesture Interface (WAGI) provides configurable gesture handling for individual windows taking away the complexity of dealing directly with the gesture messages and the physics engine. WAGI is implemented as part of the window manager and handles the pan and scroll gestures on the windows behalf, creating and driving the Physics Engine as appropriate. WAGI then instructs the application where to draw content through custom animation messages.

The window remains responsible for drawing its content and updating its scrollbar in response to animation commands from WAGI. The WAGI API was originally designed to go the extra step and take control of content drawing and scrollbars as well but there wasn’t time in the schedule to implement this for 6.5.

Reading all this made me think about the Zune HD UI and give me the feeling that the Zune team may have implemented their own Gesture APIs given how far along they are compared to the Window Mobile Team. The Zune HD which support scrolling/pan/tap gestures, multi-touch pinch/zoom etc is basically finished while the WinMo Team is still getting around the WM6.5 SDK/DTK. The question is: Who is the biggest contributor to Windows Mobile 7, the Zune team or Windows Mobile Team ? Will applications developed using the WinMo 6.5 Gesture API work on Windows Mobile 7? Is there three Gestures API, one for Windows 7/Surface, one for Zune and one for Windows Mobile? Lots of unanswered questions unfortunately.

You can read part 1here and part 2 here

6 minutes long Zune HD video tour

TechFlash got a chance to sit down with Microsoft’s Brian Seitz from the Zune team who gave them a 6 minutes long demo of the ZuneHD. Lots of features are shown, like the browser, Pins menu, history, media controls etc.

Source: TechFlash

HTC patents magnetic stylus for use on capacitive screens

Looks like HTC is hard at work lately. They just filed a patent for what looks like a magnetic stylus which should be able to interact with a capacitive touch panel. It’s kind of ironic givin’ that Microsoft is doing their best to make Windows Mobile 6.5 and Windows Mobile 7 stylus-free. HTC found a solution to the problem by adding a magnetic head to a conductive stylus this enables the stylus the affect the current on the capacitive panel. Here’s the abstract :

An electronic device including a device body and a stylus is provided. The device body has a capacitive touch panel. The stylus has a handle and a head. The head is magnetic. The capacitive touch panel is controlled by the stylus through magnetism of the head.
To sum up, the head of the stylus of the present application is magnetic. Therefore, when a relative speed exists between the head and the capacitive touch panel, an inducting current is generated on the capacitive touch panel. Then, the capacitive touch panel calculates a position where the inducting current is generated according to the inducting current. Thus, the stylus can control the capacitive touch panel.

HTC stylus

It’s still remains to be seen if this actualy really works..

Head over here to read the whole thing.

Source: WMPoweruser

Official Zune HD specs released

Microsoft has just released the official specs of the Zune HD. The battery life is rated at 33 hours when playing music with wireless off and 8.5 hours of video. Here’s the list of the Audio & video formats supported:

Windows Media® Audio Standard
(WMA) (.wma): Up to 384 Kbps;
constant bit rate (CBR) and variable bit rate (VBR) up to 48-kHz sample
rate. WMA Pro 2-channel up to 768 Kbps; CBR and VBR up to 48-kHz.
WMA Lossless: 2 channel up to 768 kbps and 48 kHz.
Advanced Audio Coding (AAC-LC) (.mp4, .m4a, .m4b ) – .m4a and
.m4b files without FairPlay DRM up to 320 Kbps; CBR and VBR up to
MP3(.mp3) – Up to 320 Kbps; CBR and VBR up to 48-kHz.
Windows Media Video (WMV) (wmv). – Main and Simple Profile, CBR
or VBR, up to 10.0 Mbps peak video bit rate; 720 pixels x 480 pixels up
to 30 frames per second (or 720 pixels x 576 pixels up to 25 frames per
second). Advanced Profile up to L2, 1280×720 up to 30 frames per
second, CBR or VBR, up to 14.0 Mbps peak video bitrate. Zune
software will transcode HD WMV files above stated capabilities at
device sync.
MPEG-4 (MP4/M4V) (.mp4)
– Simple Profile up to 4.0
Mbps peak video bit rate; 720 pixels x 480 pixels up to 30 frames per
second (or 720 pixels x 576 pixels up to 25 frames per second). Zune
software will transcode HD MPEG-4 files at device sync.
H.264 video
– Baseline Profile + bframes, up to 10 Mbps peak video
bit rate; 720 pixels x 480 pixels up to 30 frames per second (or 720
pixels x 576 pixels up to 25 frames per second). 1280×720 up to 30
frames per second, up to Level 3.1 and 14.0 Mbps peak video bitrate.
Zune software will transcode HD WMV files above stated capabilities at
device sync.
– Zune software will transcode at time of sync.

Download the full specs here

Source: Engadget