Surface Pro 7

Discussion in 'Microsoft' started by dstrauss, Jun 25, 2019.

  1. Steve S

    Steve S Pen Pro - Senior Member Super Moderator

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    <<...If they go this route...>>

    +1 to what @desertlap just said with a couple of additional comments:
    • If I understand Microsoft's recent reorganization correctly, and I'm not necessarily claiming that I do, the implication to me is that tablet /pen and touch features have become an add-on or accessory to the Windows core. That means that the evolution of the kernel itself is unencumbered so long as its interfaces are maintained; which would seem like a logical thing to expect. Note that new capabilities can be added to the interfaces so long as existing interface elements are maintained; it's an open system architecture approach.
    • To @b52hbuff , who worries about sustainment of unique Centaurus software features, notice that I said "more in control of the Surface Team," not "created by the Surface Team." Modern companies typically practice a disciplined product development process that involves systems engineering. In that approach, requirements are developed that dictate what the product (or in this case software) is supposed to do. In my earlier comments, I was suggesting that the Surface Team would have control of the software requirements (because they are developing the host hardware). The actual software development, and its sustainment over the life of Centaurus would be the responsibility of the part of Microsoft that currently owns tablet / pen and touch features, which would be no change to the way Microsoft is currently handling Windows.
    • Again, not saying that this is what's really going on. Just saying that this is a possibility, given that I'm eternally optimistic that the Surface Team will someday give us the tablet device that we all dream about...
     
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  2. dstrauss

    dstrauss Comic Relief Senior Member

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    Do you work for Microsoft?
     
  3. Steve S

    Steve S Pen Pro - Senior Member Super Moderator

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    <<...Do you work for Microsoft?...>>

    ...Yes, but you're not allowed to use my company discount. (JK)
     
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  4. dstrauss

    dstrauss Comic Relief Senior Member

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    Ha ha ha...good insights though. So is it true that Microsoft is going to buy Apple? :p
     
  5. desertlap

    desertlap Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    I think your first bullet point is the most important and potentially the most valuable long term, by in a sense "unbundling " things like pen touch from the core OS it should allow faster development of newer and possibly better technology to be added to windows at the pace that its ready instead of being tied to a biannual feature pack like they are doing now.

    The same for 5G/networking which is actually a bit further ahead especially on the ARM side of things. The potential downside is that it puts more on the 3rd party vendors who may or may not be up to the task <cough, Qualcomm wifi issues with 1903, cough> but time will tell
     
  6. Marty

    Marty Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Ok, ok, HOLD ON ppl...

    This flies in the face of both software and hardware developments that MS have made in recent years. A little bit of history:

    First there is the DirectInk API, introduced at Build 2015 (which I discussed in detail here). Specifically the API leverages low-level process integrated with the kernel:

    (MSDN)
    "Low Latency, Low Memory: DirectInk uses a high-priority background thread and input prediction to ensure ink is always immediate and responsive to users, and it manages resources effectively to keep your app’s overhead low."

    As Subramanian detailed @19:00 of the linked presentation, DirectInk reduces the end-to-end latency of UWP inking from 80-100ms down to ~50ms, which is comprised mostly of the hardware latency of the pen and digitizer (in yellow):

    [​IMG]

    Now to tackle the hardware latency portion, MS made generational advancements to the PixelSense digitizer (discussed here and here):

    First debuting as the "G5 chip" in the SP4:

    (Anandtech)
    "Other new features include a custom display chipset which Microsoft is branding the G5. The use of G5 allowed Microsoft to integrate touch and pen support, with Microsoft utilizing a custom solution to help drive down both the pen and touch input latency. They are also leveraging the GPU to accelerate touch and pen input to further drive down latency."

    And later refined in the SP5 and Surface Studio:

    (The Verge)
    “What’s so cool about the hardware ink stuff is that our touch controller, that’s custom to us, talks to our new custom silicon, the display accelerator, and sends the pen data ahead of the operating system,” explains Bathiche. “We actually write directly onto the screen from the pen. Windows now has an API that will talk to our piece of silicon and that will tell our piece of silicon what color and what font to write.”

    All of that work pushed the end-to-end latency down to 21ms (the latest quote spec from MS); and all that software/hardware optimization achieved through low-level integration with the Windows core.

    If they "unbundled" it, they would essentially be throwing years of R&D down the toilet. (How is that even remotely "optimistic"?! :confused:)

    It only makes sense for "Centaurus OS" to be built on the DirectInk and PixelSense foundation—kernel-level touch/pen integration for the most responsive UX possible. Apple figured out this years ago, I really hope MS doesn't take a step back.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
  7. JoeS

    JoeS I'm all ears Senior Member

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    My Galaxy Book2 says hi.. :hi:

    :vbmad:
     
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  8. Steve S

    Steve S Pen Pro - Senior Member Super Moderator

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    <<...This flies in the face of both software and hardware developments that MS have made in recent years...>>

    ...No it doesn't. I'm not talking about the fundamental process of putting ink on the screen; I'm talking about higher level features that leverage the basic processes to produce new UX effects or capabilities. That's why I don't say "inking."
     
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  9. desertlap

    desertlap Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Exactly!. What we are talking about is higher level abstraction of functionality and with that being the benefit. And it doesn't keep MS (or any Windows OEM for that matter.) from making a superior hardware digitizer or for that matter something totally new like thought control gestures :) If anything it makes it easier.

    It gets back to the whole idea of why HAL was created to begin with; to provide a standard interface for different functionality and to protect the OS from a security standpoint and to make it easier to update without breaking everything.

    Otherwise we are back in the days of MSDOS or windows 2x
     
  10. dstrauss

    dstrauss Comic Relief Senior Member

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