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Microsoft Drops 'Smart Displays'

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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13,194
According to ET Times, Microsoft will be dropping support for their 'Smart Displays':
Last week, Microsoft sent a letter to a part of smart display developers including Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics notifying them that it would immediately abandon the development of 'Smart Display' OS 2.0, according to industry sources on Monday.
These Smart Displays went by the codename of 'Mira', and the concept was introduced in March 2002.

The Mira was described as follows:
Unlike many other Web tablets, Mira actually doesn't function as an independent computer. Instead, it effectively relays data and commands back and forth from a PC via an 802.11 wireless network and Windows CE.Net, the latest version of CE. Letting the PC do most of the heavy lifting saves on battery life.
 

whfsdude

macrumors 6502a
Jan 20, 2002
562
3
Washington DC
I think the whole idea of smart displays was kind of silly. Maybe I am wrong here but wireless in it's current state (802.11b/g) would not have the throughput needed for certain things. For streaming TV it would require 8mbits. That's the only reason I see to use smart displays. Without a keyboard it is for the most part useless for normal computing tasks.

A good smart display would have to be able to handle all types of media for viewing.

Didn't Steve say that people didn't want to watch media (TV, Movies…) on their computer. So why would Apple make a tablet/smart display?
 
Comment

arn

macrumors god
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
15,650
4,460
Originally posted by dho
Good new or bad news?

More interesting news.

I guess Microsoft feels it is not a big market. Also gives pause to those who think Apple should create a similar device.

arn
 
Comment

SeaFox

macrumors 68030
Jul 22, 2003
2,563
841
Somewhere Else
Good news I say. Just an example of Microsoft dropping a bad idea. Really, who needs a smart clipboard when there's a computer within 100 feet anyway. :rolleyes:

Now the M$ worshippers can shut up about how Apple is missing out on some 'innovative' M$ idea and folks here can quit talking about the Apple Tablet PC "about to be released".

This is just the first nail in the coffin of the will be techno flop of Tablet Computing.
 
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Hawthorne

macrumors regular
Jul 1, 2002
198
0
In front of my Mac
Considering how the Tablet PC has gone over like a lead balloon, this doesn't come as a surprise.

Microsoft, with Smart Displays and Media PC's seems to think that people will spend all of their time in front of a PC in one form or another in future. TV's will be PC's with large displays, in essence.

I sit less than a yard away from my PC at all times. And always sit more than a yard away from my TV. That usage difference alone should clue Microsoft that they're two different experiences. TV did not replace radio, it created a whole new market. And the Internet will not supplant TV, it is a media distinct on it's own.

Let's make a list of all the "interactive TV" success stories out there, shall we?
-
-
-
-
-
That was fun, wasn't it? :D

Okay, if we stretch the definition, we can add TiVo into the mix, and maybe the latest incarnations of the xBox and Playstation that allow for online gaming. But MicroSoft's vision of the future, where people are tied to there computers throughtout the day, is not one I want to participate.
 
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whfsdude

macrumors 6502a
Jan 20, 2002
562
3
Washington DC
Originally posted by Hawthorne
MicroSoft's vision of the future, where people are tied to there computers throughtout the day, is not one I want to participate.

But in reality that is what is going to happen. You don't think that each house is going to have an xserve in the basement running most everything in your house? Your TiVo would be contained in that. You TV would come into your house via FTTH. You could bring up your calendar on any screen in the house. Your VoIP server would be in this xserve. Everything in your house would have a ethernet port. Even your lights. The server could have timed lighting controls. Is this a bad thing? I don't think so. Technology isn't bad when you don't notice it. You will be working off your own personal computer but it might not be in the form we use it today. Microsoft fails to realize that using the computer doesn’t have to be in front of a blue screen.
 
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rainman::|:|

macrumors 603
Feb 2, 2002
5,438
2
iowa
Originally posted by whfsdude
But in reality that is what is going to happen. You don't think that each house is going to have an xserve in the basement running most everything in your house? Your TiVo would be contained in that. You TV would come into your house via FTTH. You could bring up your calendar on any screen in the house. Your VoIP server would be in this xserve. Everything in your house would have a ethernet port. Even your lights. The server could have timed lighting controls. Is this a bad thing? I don't think so. Technology isn't bad when you don't notice it. You will be working off your own personal computer but it might not be in the form we use it today. Microsoft fails to realize that using the computer doesn’t have to be in front of a blue screen.

I agree, we have the technologies and hardware to make this a reality, but it hasn't taken off yet... two reason for this: first, there's no software company willing to take the lead, form a consortium, and establish standards. standards will need to be enacted before different companies are willing to work together to create this type of network. The second problem is interface. It's the reason that tablets fail, i think... there's no good way to control and input information on your TV... i mean who cares if your coffee maker can check your email, it's a novelty. Once speech recognition really takes a solid hold, and they figure out a cursor for the interface, it'll start to become a recognized industry. Personally i think gyroscopic remotes will fill the needs of controlling the system, but even speech recognition falls somewhat short in surfing the web, emailing from your living room or bathroom display... so you need a keyboard. which is the main obstacle.

paul
 
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Originally posted by whfsdude
But in reality that is what is going to happen. You don't think that each house is going to have an xserve in the basement running most everything in your house? Your TiVo would be contained in that. You TV would come into your house via FTTH. You could bring up your calendar on any screen in the house. Your VoIP server would be in this xserve. Everything in your house would have a ethernet port. Even your lights. The server could have timed lighting controls. Is this a bad thing? I don't think so. Technology isn't bad when you don't notice it. You will be working off your own personal computer but it might not be in the form we use it today. Microsoft fails to realize that using the computer doesn’t have to be in front of a blue screen.


i agree, and the idea of having basically a wireless screen to scess this central server isint a bad one, but i think it isint really useful until you have a hous-wide system like this. lets say this wireless screen would cost $1000 (reasonable for a new technology) and you'd still have to buy a desktop to tye into with this screen. that brings your total up to at least $2000 more likely closer to $3000. now thats alot to pay for the ability to walk 100 feet away from your computer. personally i would just buy a laptop, you have the same portability around the house and you can take the whole computere with you! all for around $1500 - $2500!!

now id be interested in a smart display if i had a house where i could control everything fron the display, kinda like a remote control for your house, but until then, its kinda useless
 
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beg_ne

macrumors 6502
Jul 3, 2003
452
0
Originally posted by whfsdude
Is this a bad thing? I don't think so.

Well it could be, the server would have to be much more stable on the software and hardware side before I would trust having my entire house run though a server.

The rare system freeze/crash could be livable, but in the case of a hardware failure it would really suck to have your TV, Computer, Refrigerator, Security System, Heating, A/C, Shower, Lights etc. all go down with it. :)
 
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bensisko

macrumors 65816
Jul 24, 2002
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Not the Tablet PC

They didn't say they are discontinuing the Tablet PC, just the smart displays.

When I first saw these things, I wasn't impressed. I wondered why someone would buy that when they could get a tablet.

Now, however, I think it could be a really good idea. Imagine you own several computers around the house. You could, in theory if this was done right, have a bunch of cheap computers around the house controling different things. With the flip of a on-screen menu you could switch between different computers. Imagine controlling your stero from anywhere in the house (assuming your stero is based on a computer), and all the other things you could do with it.

The major problems, which make the product infeasable for most consumers, are:
1) the wireless bandwidth isn't there
2) the display technology is too expensive ($350 -500 would be more like it).
3) most consumers would only think of it to surf the web (which isn't nessessarily a bad thing, but a laptop would probably be a better thing.

If you can develop the technology, make it cheaper and, in general, get it ready for prime time, it could be a really cool thing.

As for Tablet PCs, the ONLY reason they aren't doing better is because they are twice the price of a notebook of equal specifications. If Dell could offer a Tablet PC for $899, with similar specs to a laptop for that price, they would fly off the shelf.
 
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Ktulu

macrumors member
Jul 23, 2002
99
0
Brownstown, MI
Just a thought about the input/interface problems. Sony, as well as some other manufacturers, have had for some time now programmable, touch screen remotes for your TV/VCR/DVD/Stereo/etc. This could be used as an all pourpose remote for the previously listed items as well as your fridge/coffee maker/AC/Lights/ etc. The cost was not that unreasonable-(for what it did and allowed you to do/customize) about $200.00, and that was about 4-5 years ago. The biggest problem, as stated before, is not neccesarily the cost of the individual items-(we all have them in some form or another, TV/VCR/DVD/etc.) but in the hardware that controls them all. Before it can be used wide spread in homes you would need 2-3 failsafe mechanisms so that you don't lose lights/security system/AC/Heat/etc. That is where the problem comes into play with a possible monopoly. They won't let one company corner the market on this, however how can you control the quality when several different companies are doing the same thing, i.e. Apple and Microsoft. 2 companies with 2 very different levels of quality in their products.

OK, this went on a bit longer than I had planned, I will end it here. Thanx for listening.
 
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SeaFox

macrumors 68030
Jul 22, 2003
2,563
841
Somewhere Else
Originally posted by paulwhannel
I agree, we have the technologies and hardware to make this a reality, but it hasn't taken off yet... two reason for this: first, there's no software company willing to take the lead, form a consortium, and establish standards. standards will need to be enacted before different companies are willing to work together to create this type of network. The second problem is interface. It's the reason that tablets fail, i think... there's no good way to control and input information on your TV... i mean who cares if your coffee maker can check your email, it's a novelty. Once speech recognition really takes a solid hold, and they figure out a cursor for the interface, it'll start to become a recognized industry. Personally i think gyroscopic remotes will fill the needs of controlling the system, but even speech recognition falls somewhat short in surfing the web, emailing from your living room or bathroom display... so you need a keyboard. which is the main obstacle.

paul


I agree as well. The key is standards. Companies have looked at how huge the web has become and they're all kicking themselves saying "I wish we'd figure out how to own that back in 1989." But they don't recognize that the reason the net has flourished is because it is standrds based and open to access by anyone.

So now it's starting again. The PC is branching out to become a central home automation/control device and base for all entertainment. But instead of establishing interface standards the respective tech innovators (Apple, M$ - yes Microsoft, HP, TiVo and others) are all trying to push their own proprietary solutions to potentially gain control over the digital living room.

But the public isn't buying, yet. The execution of the ideas has been poor (M$'s Media Center PC), or DRM too restrictive (most online music stores, and Media Center again), or the cost too high. Plus continued security issues are making the public wary of proprietary systems and homogenous solutions. The burst of the tech bubble has also made people leery of new technology. Nobody wants to buy a new device to have the company go belly up and have no one else to turn to because the device was built on corporate owned protocols.

Until there is an understanding among companies that someties it's better to share there will be no next big leap or "killer app" for the PC.
 
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lind0834

macrumors regular
Oct 21, 2003
197
0
Hopefully Apple has noticed the current sales figures on tablets, and don't have plans to release anything tablet like for a few years.
 
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Les Kern

macrumors 68040
Apr 26, 2002
3,063
76
Alabama
Re: Not the Tablet PC

Originally posted by bensisko
If Dell could offer a Tablet PC for $899, with similar specs to a laptop for that price, they would fly off the shelf.

Maybe maybe not, and I don't know what I really think. One thing is for sure, I bought a decked HP Tablet for just over 1800 bills. I used it and I had lots of various people use it, and everyone initially thought "cool", but that switched later to "so what?" Nobody wants to use it except me... to play pinball. Whatever you hear about using the handwriting feature, think worse. Oh, it translated fine. You just can't easily use it for anything. Being in educationmyself, only a fool tech director would buy them at any price. Except maybe free. (For a number of reasons too long to list)
With this in my mind, I PRAY Apple doesn't come out with a tablet unless it has some earth-shaking, cutting-edge feature like wireless live video, a third processor planted in your frontal lobe, it hovers just in front of you at chest level, or some such rot as discussed in the forums.
My opinion, and there may be doubters. E-mail me and scream back if you want. I'm ready for you. :)
 
Comment

Swift

macrumors 68000
Feb 18, 2003
1,763
922
Los Angeles
This is for dorks

There is no reason on God's green earth to use a system like this. Handwriting recognition sucks. Tablets suck. This was invented by the same people who think a little cartoon paper-clip is a great way to show people how to use a software program that sucks.

UPS guys and doctors writing prescriptions. Uh, if I think for a while longer, I might come up with somebody else who wants to use a tablet. Oh, wait. Cops in progressive, wealthy towns. All the better to write your ticket on and make sure the court has a copy.

This whole idea sucks in the same way that MSN commercials suck, or the word "innovation" does when Gates says it.
 
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clairiun

macrumors newbie
Jul 19, 2002
7
0
"This was invented by the same people who think a little cartoon paper-clip is a great way to show people how to use a software program that sucks."

Um, MS Office does not suck on either Windows or Mac. It's a good office suite. Excel is one of the best programs out there.

No, I only have to use a PC at work.

Thanks!
P
 
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dongmin

macrumors 68000
Jan 3, 2002
1,708
0
Originally posted by clairiun
Um, MS Office does not suck on either Windows or Mac. It's a good office suite. Excel is one of the best programs out there.
Excel is pretty useful. But Word is a bloated mess. And PowerPoint is fast but retarded as a design tool. Entourage is cool but I prefer the Mail-Addressbook-iCal combo.

MS doesn't have a clue about innovation. The TabletPC and wireless Remote Terminal concept has been around for a while. But all the PC companies realize these ideas in the most dumb, uninspired ways. They have no clue about how people interact with computers.

I think some of the ideas are promising but it'll take a while for these ideas to develop unless we have someone like Apple to jump in. Really, in the post-dot-com era, is anyone innovating outside of Apple? (Yeah I'm bordering on fanboy-ism, but really, can you name one company out there innovating on a consistent basis? IBM is a distant second...)
 
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bensisko

macrumors 65816
Jul 24, 2002
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Re: Re: Not the Tablet PC

Originally posted by Les Kern
Maybe maybe not, and I don't know what I really think.... Being in educationmyself, only a fool tech director would buy them at any price. Except maybe free....My opinion, and there may be doubters. E-mail me and scream back if you want. I'm ready for you. :)

I was actually thinking more about vertical markets. As was mentioned (although negitively) before, such as doctors and police, there are industries that would love them. I think that many designers would LOVE tablets. Your average consumer probably wouldn't buy them, and I doubt alot of office types would use them (which is where MS is REALLY bombing. They are thinking office people would replace their Pocket PCs with Tablets, but it's not happening).

Education (except for MAYBE college level and higher) would be a terrible place for tablets I agree. Schools should keep their iBooks.

And, again, the negitive comment about geeks is, again, somewhat correct. The consumers who buy tablets would probably be the geekier types, however if Dell was the only one selling an $899 tablet, they could make quite a nice chunk of niche change.

BTW - I agree COMPLETELY that Apple making a tablet would be a waste of time and resources. BUT adding that functionality to a powerbook might have an audiance, epseically among designers.
 
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Sabenth

macrumors 6502a
Jan 24, 2003
887
3
UK
the concept is great the idea would be great if it had been developed to a point were it was cost effective.

We have all this sort of stuff with laptops now.
 
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bensisko

macrumors 65816
Jul 24, 2002
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Originally posted by dongmin
I think some of the ideas are promising but it'll take a while for these ideas to develop unless we have someone like Apple to jump in. Really, in the post-dot-com era, is anyone innovating outside of Apple? (Yeah I'm bordering on fanboy-ism, but really, can you name one company out there innovating on a consistent basis? IBM is a distant second...)

Not to get you TOO down, but what 'innovation' (besides iTMS) has Apple done? I hate to say it, and even though I love Apple, Everything they have done since Steve's been back has been a rehack of something that's been done, Apple just did it better.

IBM innovates on a consistant basis, but we, as consumers, don't see most of what they do mostly because they may be good ideas, just not marketable.
 
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Hawthorne

macrumors regular
Jul 1, 2002
198
0
In front of my Mac
Originally posted by bensisko
Not to get you TOO down, but what 'innovation' (besides iTMS) has Apple done? I hate to say it, and even though I love Apple, Everything they have done since Steve's been back has been a rehack of something that's been done, Apple just did it better.

IBM innovates on a consistant basis, but we, as consumers, don't see most of what they do mostly because they may be good ideas, just not marketable.

People were building cars before Henry Ford, too. Sometimes doing it the right way is innovation enough.

But since you asked:

Negotiating the DRM that made the iTunes Music Store (and every other copy of it since) possible (remember Pressplay? I don't). Expose, widescreen in a laptop and the first computers available with 802.11g.

And that's just this year.
 
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bensisko

macrumors 65816
Jul 24, 2002
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Originally posted by Hawthorne
People were building cars before Henry Ford, too. Sometimes doing it the right way is innovation enough.

You are very right. I usually think of innovation as coming up with something new, but sometimes reinventing the wheel can more innovative than the wheel.
 
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