You may be aware of Walter Isaacson quoting Steve Jobs in his biography : “‘I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use, It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud. It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.’”
We think one of the keys to the Smart TV’s success is the “user interface” or remote control. There are already apps for both Google and Apple to download for your phone or tablet with voice control figuring for both. Whilst these will no doubt be useful there will we think in the foreseeable future always be the remote.
Now Sony have come out with their two sided remote with on one side a touch pad with your (sort of) standard qwerty keyboard with about 60 buttons and a more traditional remote on the front with circa 20 buttons. Sky & other remotes seem to have 30+ buttons. Keyboards have over 100 keys.
Apple TV’s remotes white (plastic) or aluminium have 6 or 7.
Some rumours concerning the Apple TV have indicated that it may incorporate a motion detector iPad like remote.
Now with all these “smart” covers around for both iPad’s and even the new Microsoft Surface tablet we wondered whether a single hand held remote, smartphone size ish, with a cover that slides from front to back revealing a limited (maximum 10 say) button set for basic controls switching to a touch screen on the reverse (with say 30-40 keys) is possibly the answer. The cover would be sort of rounded to give the friendly feel of the reverse of both the button pad and the touch screen.
Size wise it needs to be, we think, (following some personal research) definitely smaller than a 7 inch tablet but in landscape mode it could afford to be slightly longer than many smartphones.
Certainly Sony’s double sided remote, although over complex, looks, to us, like a move in the right direction.
Sony’s promotional pages are available here and Microsoft’s promotional video for the Surface follows.
Incidentally we have to admit to having got our mock up of the Surface totally wrong in that there is absolutely no mention of Microsoft anywhere on their Surface simply the Windows logo!
It’s had a mixed reception and for the anti brigade here is one of the most damning articles we’ve come across – “Top 10 reasons Microsoft Surface is DOA” - “ouch” x 10!