As talk continues swirling around the death of PCs, Hewlett-Packard has reached agreement with Leap Motion to bring its innovative 3D motion controller to HP devices. Kicking off the relationship, HP will bundle the Leap Motion Controller with select products. Eventually, plans are to embed Leap Motion technology into HP devices.
Leap Motion has developed precision touch-free 3D motion-control and motion-sensing technology. Invented by co-founder David Holz, the company's tech can track the movement of both hands and all 10 fingers with up to 1/100th millimeter accuracy and no visible latency. It usually sells in the form of a small USB device that costs about $80.
"Our focus at Leap Motion is to fundamentally improve how people interact with their devices, and offer as many ways as possible to achieve that vision," said Leap Motion co-founder and CEO Michael Buckwald. He noted that "the possibilities for innovation are incredible."
Inside the HP Deal
Although Microsoft's Windows 8, with its touchscreen interface, has not done well for that company so far, Leap would offer a different experience. HP is the second to announce a bundle. Asus announced a similar deal in January.
Leap motion-enabled HP devices will come pre-loaded with Airspace. Airspace is the motion-sensing technology company's application store. Inside Airspace, users can find software across gaming, music, education, art, productivity and more.
"Customers want to go to the next level when creating and interacting with digital content," said Ron Coughlin, senior vice president and general manager, Consumer PCs at HP. "Leap Motion's groundbreaking 3-D motion control combined with HP technology and amazing developer apps will create incredible user experiences."
One Big Leap
We asked Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, about the significance of HP's deal with Leap. He told us Leap has been ahead of the curve but processors will roll out later in the year to support perceptual computing technologies.
"Some of those perceptual computing features include vector control like Leap offers, but also integrated voice recognition and facial recognition. It's still a work in progress but what it really comes down to, is the way people react with computing is devices going through a fundamental evolution right now," King said.
"It's not just happening in the PC world. Touch-enablement is one of the major drivers for the adoption of smartphones and tablets. For the last few weeks we've heard rumors about Apple and other vendor creating watches that will act as interface devices for smartphones and tablets."
King noted that one of the reasons Leap can offer the device to HP and Asus is because PCs have enough processing horsepower on board to actually run it. He doesn't expect Leap to become available for a smartphones or tablets any time soon because these devices don't have the processing performance required to add Leap.
"As perceptual computing capability becomes more common I expect to see other developers coming out with some interesting interface devices that will be increasingly common on traditional PCs and laptops," King said.