updated 10:40 am EDT, Tue October 7, 2008
Surface SDK available soon
Microsoft will release the long-promised Software Development Kit (SDK) for its Surface tabletop computer at its Professional Developer Conference set to begin on October 27. according to a Tuesday report. Apart from distributing the SDK to developers other than current partners AT&T and Starwood hotels, both of whom have been using Surface computers in their retail and hotel locations, the software giant will hold a tutorial on how to take advantage of the new platform when writing Surface applications.
At the same time, Microsoft promises to show the similarities between the Surface SDK and the developer future for Windows 7, which also promises to bring with it multi-touch capabilities. At the session, Microsoft will also detail the Surface's vision-based object recognition and ScatterView controls that let text, photos and other objects to be moved around freely by dragging them across the screen. Both will be included in the SDK.
Microsoft's multi-touch interface is similar, though more advanced, than the interface used by Apple in its iPhone and iPod touch devices, where more than one contact point on the screen is supported. Where users of Apple's hardware can zoom in and out of images by pinching or expanding two fingers, Microsoft's interface allows for more than two contact points, such as multiple users dragging objects on the Surface display.
Apple first released the SDK for the iPhone and iPod touch this spring but has yet to do the same for a full desktop platform like that of Surface.