With members of our team heading to San Francisco for BUILD next week, our Think Tank has been in high gear predicting what will happen at this year’s event.
A Developers Utopia
“One Kernel to rule them all, one Kernel to define them, one Kernel to bring them all and in the Cloud bind them. In the Land of Redmond…” You can finish the rest in your head (at least, if you’re cool you can). It is an exciting time to be a Windows developer! BUILD is approaching, Xbox One is announced, Windows “Blue” is leaked, Windows Phone is getting it’s next round of devices, Skydrive and Azure have moved from bumpy awkward teens to handsome adulthood, and Microsoft is LISTENING to developers again!
The time is right for a host of announcements that could mean a Developers Utopia – we are just waiting… this year? Next? Microsoft has surely laid the groundwork for this utopia – where I can sit at my PC and in one Visual Studio project create an entire data architecture, web service, pc app, tablet app, phone app, and TV app – and deploy those projects to a single marketplace that even includes hosting for my service.
In this Utopia, my apps operate independently AND communicate harmoniously when needed. They use sensors and unified logic to serve me timely and contextually relevant data together as team. My apps bring together a world of disparateness and hone it to a laser focus that bores a hole in reality and lets me peer through into the future. My prediction for BUILD is that – at BUILD 2030, I’ll be at hackathon with my friends and say “it all started in 2013…” ~ Vito DiMercurio Director of Execution at Vectorform.
Windows Phone Live Tiles
“Most rumors seem to be talking about Windows 8.1, but I am most excited about what is next for Windows Phone. I’m hoping for more customizations through new controls offered to Live Tiles. It would be great to see Microsoft expand on their current offering so developers could create their own solutions. This way, developers would have the ease of using the current infrastructure but empowered to discover new potential with their tiles. Not only would this benefit the developers, but users would see a much larger variety of tiles, allowing them even greater customization of their phone. Expanding on what makes the Windows Phone special is going to be key for the future of the platform.” ~ Rich Geyer, Interactive Developer at Vectorform
“With Toolbox for Windows 8, we pushed the WinRT library to its limits with our multi-window framework. I am really hoping to see new APIs and functionality added to the WinRT library that allows Modern apps to include even more powerful features that integrate deeper into the operating system to better match the capabilities of desktop applications, ” ~ Kevin Foreman, Director of Product Vision at Vectorform.
More Snap Views
“I’m excited to see the (rumored) 50/50 snap view, and hoping they also release an option for horizontally split snap views.” ~Taylor Hanson, Account Manager at Vectorform.
Expand The Grid
“What I would love to see come from Build 2013 is a rethinking of some of the Windows 8 design restrictions, such as the heavy reliance on horizontal navigation. If Windows 8 were to offer new approaches and layouts that optimize the screen real estate, I would expect to see more innovative implementations of their unique features like semantic zoom, edge UI, and live tiles. Now that Microsoft has aggressively defined the grid it’s time to support breaking it. I want to see more immersive experiences that break from the expected grid layout, yet still leverage the organization, simplicity and gesture focused interactions that have helped redefine what a Microsoft experience is.
To date, the folks in Redmond have spent massive efforts providing developers with tools and options to improve their workflow and create simple yet beautiful apps. I would now like Microsoft to open their arms to UX and UI designers, as they have done for developers, and arm us with tools and support to take the foundation of the modern aesthetic, combined with progressive UX elements, and push experiences to utilize the available space and accurate input mechanisms to their fullest potential. Doing so would undoubtedly continue to excel Microsoft forward to not only have consistency in their visual language but innovation and progression in their marketplace. “ ~ Ken Disbennett, Associate Creative Director at Vectorform
“I’m hoping to see some Enterprise-focused sessions at BUILD this year. With the expansion of the snap view functionality in the upcoming release, the flexibility of running standalone and traditional desktop apps increases. If Enterprise level purchasing and market penetration increases, we can expect watch the business/productivity section of the Marketplace start to build momentum.” ~ Jason Richert, Account Manager at Vectorform
“Personally, I think MS is a step ahead of the competition and no one realizes it right now. What they’ve been attempting with the Launch of Windows 8, Xbox One, and Windows Phone is something that Apple and Google haven’t addressed very well yet.
Consistency across platforms – if I’m familiar with one platform, I can transition effortlessly to another. This is a rather important topic right now with the rise of the “Post PC” world. Computers are no longer the beige boxes that sit on your desk. Nearly everyone has a computer over 100 times more powerful in their pocket than what we used to send guys to the moon. Tablet computers and motion control have given rise to a generation of kids who think keyboards are a baby’s toy (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMy1zO8m8sM anyone?).
So my predictions for BUILD this year are towards more of this consistency, and further integration between the platforms. Whoever is the first to find a way to effortlessly share content between all your devices is going to be the winner of this generation. “ ~ Will Hinchman, Research Engineer at Vectorform.
Bold Competitive Claims
“Most of all, I want to see Microsoft compete. During WWDC, Apple didn’t miss an opportunity to take a dig at its competition. Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, started with statistics around the Mac vs PC business with phrases like “it isn’t even close.” He emphasized satisfaction over size, asserting Windows 8 is “struggling” to even get to 5% on adoption. But it was perhaps Phil Schiller’s defiant language used to introduce the new Mac Pro computer that exemplifies it best, “Can’t innovate anymore, my ass!” Statements like these wrapped with the hyperbole of a conference setting could convince you that Apple’s got it all figured out. But, when you look at the influence Microsoft and Google have had on the new design of iOS 7, you realized that behind these comments, Apple recognizes the innovative thinking Microsoft and others are bringing to the table. And when that happens, we all win.” ~ Trevor Anulewicz, Creative Director at Vectorform
What are your predictions for Build 2013?Jennifer Tonio – May 31, 2013
Toolbox Expands its Tool Depot to 11 Productivity Tools
DETROIT, Feb. 12, 2013 – Vectorform, the global design and technology firm that developed Toolbox for Windows 8, the ultimate multitasking productivity app, has released two new tools, Notes and Stopwatch. Notes and Stopwatch join a lineup of eleven productivity tools within Toolbox’s growing Tool Depot. With Toolbox, users can view and interact with up to six different tools on-screen at once including Facebook, Web, Calculator, Unit Converter, Voice Notes, Notifier, World Clock, Weather and Doodle.
The ability to take notes was one of the most requested utilities for Windows 8 users. The note-taking tool allows users to create notes and manage multiple sets of notes simultaneously. Notes are synced to the user’s Microsoft account, can be accessed across different devices and easily shared to SkyDrive and Mail. In addition to keyboard and touch input, Surface Pro users will be able to utilize the pressure-sensitive pen for a more natural hand-written experience when using Notes. Notes is the first paid tool within Toolbox and is available for purchase from the Toolbox Tool Depot for $1.99.
Stopwatch is an intuitive and easy-to-use free tool that supports split time, pause, resume and more. Users can load up multiple instances of Stopwatch for easy timing of various activities.
Additional Toolbox Features:
- Notes, Stopwatch or any other tool can be viewed simultaneously, or in multiple instances of the same tool.
- Dock Toolbox into Snap View to complement your primary application with all 11 tools at your fingertips.
- Save layout settings across multiple devices and pin customizations into Toolsets for quick and easy access to multiple layouts.
“It usually takes more than one tool to get the job done. On a tablet where space is constrained, productivity doesn’t have to be restricted to one activity,” said Kevin Foreman, director of product development for Vectorform. “Users now have an indispensable app that is able to keep up with the way they think and work in an organized and clutter-free way. Notes is an essential addition to our Tool Depot and adds greater power to accomplish tasks quickly and simultaneously.”
Vectorform will continue to expand the Toolbox Tool Depot with additional premium and free tools to be released this spring.
Toolbox, the ever-evolving platform that launched with nine tools in 2012, has recorded over 460,000 downloads and is currently one of the top five productivity apps available in the Windows Store. Toolbox is designed to bring unparalleled productivity enhancement to the Windows 8 platform. With Toolbox, you can view and interact with up to six different tools at once, giving you the power and flexibility to customize your workspace for maximum productivity. Toolbox is also available to the enterprise market, allowing businesses to use Toolbox and custom tools developed specifically for their needs.
Part Think Tank. Part Lab. Part Studio. Vectorform invents digital products and experiences. As an elite team of artists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and technologists, Vectorform changes the way you experience modern life. In the car. At the hospital. At the store. On the phone. Vectorform partners with premier brands around the world to create the next iconic experience. Vectorform was founded in 1999 and has studios in Seattle, Detroit, New York, Munich and Hyderabad. For more information, visit http://www.vectorform.com/
Click on images below for screenshots of Notes and Stopwatch
G4’s Attack of the Show! ambushed our friends and neighbors at the Microsoft campus, capturing a whirlwind of video highlights and a cameo of Vectorform’s Galactic Alliance HD. The four-player tower defense game made a big splash at CES this year, where it could be experienced on the new Samsung SUR40 for Microsoft Surface. Check out the demo from Director of Research Steven Bathiche, at 3:43.
Not us, but pretty amazing. TechNet reports on use of Kinect to support learning in Lakeside Park Primary in Vryheid, KwaZulu-Natal. Kinect technology has certainly been a game-changer–for Microsoft, for digital experience folk like us, and now for young learners in a small school in South Africa.Administrator – March 17, 2011
Colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer related deaths, but the death rate is impacted by the ability to quickly and efficiently screen for polyps before they can develop. The Virtual Colonoscopy (VC) Viewer is a revolutionary collaboration between Microsoft, Intel, Vectorform and Massachusetts General Hospital, winning top honors at RSNA 2010.
Vectorform’s multi-touch user interface allows physicians to view and manipulate a 3D rendering of a patient’s colon. Using software to translate a series of CT scans into a 3D representation, the VC Viewer provides physicians with life-like imagery and seamless navigation using natural gestures including pan, zoom, pinch, traverse and rotate. This Natural User Interface (NUI) solution was highlighted at TechFest 2011, which brings Microsoft researchers and Microsoft product teams together in Redmond, WA for an event where attendees see the innovative technologies emerging from Microsoft’s research efforts.
“SXSW has been an exciting — albeit busy — time for global design and technology firm Vectorform. Not only did they take home the SXSW Award in Technical Achievement on Tuesday night for their involvement with the AP Timeline Reader, but they’ve also teamed up with some major brand names (think Foursquare, Microsoft, and Fiat’s brand agency, Impatto) to provide users a cutting edge experience.” Renee DeCoskey hits the nail on the head, and goes in-depth on our HTML5 experience, Foursquare Playground, over at Business 2 Community.
Check it out, and while there, we also recommend B2C’s coverage of Foursquare’s growth from six to seven million users, all between January and February of this year. With Foursquare Playground officially open for business, it will be interesting to see what March and April bring.
As for our work with Foursquare, Microsoft and Fiat/Impatto, it is a busy and exciting time. Our next SXSW spotlight hits on a Fiat brand experience, and the continued efforts of the Vectorform squad in Austin, Texas, so stay tuned here.Administrator – March 10, 2011
Vectorform created The AP Timeline Reader in collaboration with The Associated Press and Microsoft. Now the HTML5 site is up for a Technical Achievement Award at South by Southwest, which means our project is one of five recognized as “…re-inventing and re-defining the technical parameters of our online experience.”
How do we go about re-inventing and redefining the technical parameters of online experience? HTML5, CSS3, and pure UX magic. Hear master magician Dominic Espinosa talking about the AP Timeline Reader below, or wander over to Renee DeCoskey’s detailed overview at Business 2 Community. News reading reinvented, and it’s got pictures!
Just recently Vectorform’s Dominic Espinosa gave an interview with Microsoft. Watch the interview from the link below and learn about Dominic’s experience developing an interactive website for the Associated Press, which takes full advantage of the latest web standards and technologies supported in Internet Explorer 9.keep looking »