Microsoft betting big on in-air gesture control for Windows Phone?

So far, interacting with your smartphone by waving around your hands in the air hasn’t really caught on as a killer feature. Samsung’s been doing it for a while now, but not in a way that has found much acclaim. And Amazon appears to be considering sometime very similar for its own smartphone, expected to launch in just a couple weeks. We’ve also heard talk about Nokia’s interest in this kind of tech, with rumors that a phone codenamed Goldfinger could introduce us to the company’s 3D Touch system. Goldfinger itself may never see the light of day, but upcoming devices are still tipped to pick up its abilities, and Microsoft may end up making these gesture a big part of how users interact with Windows Phone in the future.

Supposedly Goldfinger will remain an in-house engineering device – a platform for devs to experiment with gesture controls as commercial hardware is developed. The McLaren flagship we heard about last week is tipped to be the first of these models to launch, and it should do so later this year.

The key to 3D Touch may be the sensor pack supported handsets use, and by the sound of things, that could extend far beyond cameras, as we’re expecting Amazon’s implementation to work. Proximity sensors could now cover the sides of a phone in addition to its face, letting the handset better detect how you’re interacting with it and matching its behavior to the situation. We could also see touch-sensitive sides used to interact with apps, offering linear slider controls.

Software would reportedly take advantage of gesture controls to support things like new hover effects, letting Live Tiles expand to show related apps when your finger rests over them. The key to whether 3D Touch arrives as a game-changer or quickly becomes forgotten like Air Touch will likely depend on how seamless it feels to use, and how natural of an extension it becomes to existing touch-based controls. Microsoft’s got a lot of proving to do there, but the scope of its ambitions has us hopeful that it just might deliver air gestures done right.

Source: The Verge

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About The Author
Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits Read more about Stephen Schenck!