Want to know what Apple is doing? Here's what a little (Angry) Bird told me | Cypress Semiconductor
Want to know what Apple is doing? Here's what a little (Angry) Bird told me
The touchscreen market is still a wild west, and a major land grab continues where each manufacturer and even each project team is trying to one-up the other. At the same time, each wants a stable product they can take to market fast and with little risk, because you can't meet a competitor at high noon if your new weapon is still on the engineer's bench.
So what, you say? Well as a leader in the touchscreen component and solution we try very hard to both watch what others in the industry are doing and how manufacturers are using touchscreen technology. Bus this isn't easy to do. Teardowns can provide some information about the technology being employed, but how do you decipher the actual impact of one solution with an accuracy of 0.4mm versus 0.5mm?
As you can tell, that was a rhetorical question, since in the end, it doesn't matter (what?!) . What really matters is how this techno-phenalia is actually being put into action. This issue is not a "touchscreen" phenomenon but true of all products. How do you really tell how your latest technological advances are being used and therefore learn how to improve them? Follow the users, or in mobile application space, follow the birds, the Angry Birds.
For anyone who doesn't know, Angry Birds is the widely successful game from Rovio, a Finnish game developer. Over 50 million downloads worldwide, including yours truly. The best 99 cents I ever spent. Birds with various sizes and properties are loaded into a slingshot, the player pulls the slingshot back and aims it, and for most birds an additional touch is required to activate the bird's "special" power. It all works very nicely, intuitively on a touchscreen enable device (iPhones and Android, probably others, plus a version was launched for the Mac on the new App Store, but I don't know how well that works, yet). If you haven't tried this game yet, I highly recommend it. there are free LITE versions available.
So can you actually learn from Angry Birds? One thing I learned, by watching it happen, is that Angry Birds appears to put my iPhone in a very "active" state while the application is running, seriously draining my battery. What I can infer from this is that Angry Birds is keeping the touchscreen in a high-intensity active mode (the highest power mode) since the birds need an extra touch to explode or fragment or speed up (unleash the "special power") after they are released from the slingshot. What this tells me is that an end-device maker may expose certain capabilities right to the 3rd-party application developer that can impair the power profile I planned to have the device maker is use. What else this tells me, is that perhaps one simple "active" mode is not going to be sufficient OR that device makers need to be better trained on what capabilities to expose to applications OR that 3rd-party developers may also need training on how to get the performance they need in their app while preserving the end-user's battery time.
In case you may be inferring from this article that Cypress is the touchscreen controller provider for the iPhone, I must say that we do not release this information without the express permission of the device maker and that neither Apple nor Cypress has ever announced the use of Cypress' products in the iPhone.
The real message to take from this post: if you want to know more about how your technology or products are used, you need to review the popular uses of them, and infer from that experience how your product is or isn't being used, then formulate ways of improving your product in that environment or determine how to better inform your customers ways your product can be used for peak performance. Providing the best bag of tricks is only helpful if the user/device maker can and does take advantage of them.
So follow the birds, whichever/however they appear in your customer's products.
Methods and Madness, Jan 8, 2011 (Happy New Year!)