We’ve heard for a while that attendees of Microsoft’s Professional Developer Conference would be getting quite a substantial swag bag. Every conference-goer will be getting a 160GB hard drive with copies of much of the software that was discussed at the conference. Up to this point, the internet has been abuzz with the news that within this software bundle, Microsoft will also be including a copy of Windows 7, the next iteration of Windows. Naturally, Windows 7 will still very much be in a beta or even pre-beta form.
It’s interesting to read, however, that Microsoft will also be providing development tools for its Surface platform. Up to this point, there hasn’t been a whole lot of information available about Surface. Information like how the software works, when units will really be going out, what kinds of programs can/will be developed with the technology, etc. Even though very limited test systems have gone out to select AT&T stores and Sheraton Hotels, this will really be the first chance developers will have to see how Surface works beneath, well, the surface.
What I wonder, though, is whether developers will be able to use these tools for non-Surface projects. Since Surface was announced, there have been dozens of homebrew versions constructed — some cheap and some not so cheap — but all have been lacking due to a dearth of software. As I’ve said before, software is really what sells technology, and this is no different. It will be interesting to see if programmers can take advantage of the development kits and learn to write useful software so that any geek with some DIY skills can build their own multitouch display and actually use it for something other than displaying photos.