[CES] Toshiba Adopts New UI for UMPC

Jan 11, 2008
Yasushi Uchida, Nikkei Electronics
The launcher appears when a finger is slid across the screen.
The launcher appears when a finger is slid across the screen.
[Click to enlarge image]

The 410g ultra-mobile PC (UMPC) that Toshiba Corp premiered at the 2008 International CES features the company's proprietary user interface (UI) dubbed "eMotion Feel."

Toshiba said it developed the UI based on its concept of "realizing convenience optimized for human gestures and motions."

"Our challenge was to see how far we could increase the convenience of Windows, while striving to reduce the number of buttons as much as possible," Toshiba said.

Generally, ultra small PCs like UMPCs use a small LCD panel of about 5 to 7 inches in size. Accordingly, operation buttons for applications are displayed in extremely small shapes, which often results in inconvenience for users. Even without using a pen or other peripherals, eMotion Feel can display a launcher, a software keyboard, etc, only by touching the screen and sliding your finger.

If you slide your finger from left to right on the Windows desktop screen, for example, a launcher will appear, whereas it will close if you slide your finger in reverse from right to left. The launcher's content varies in line with whatever application software is running.

A software keyboard will pop up if you slide your finger from the bottom to the top and it will close with the reverse motion. This represents the human gesture of pulling out and pushing back the keyboard, Toshiba said.

"We had considered mounting a small keyboard on the UMPC, but decided to employ a software keyboard because the typing speed was equivalent to that of using an external keyboard," the company said.

eMotion Feel was developed by engineers engaged not only with PCs, but also with mobile phones and portable audio players, Toshiba said.

"(Therefore,) starting with the UMPC, we will apply this UI to mobile phones and portable audio players in the future," the company said.

2008 International CES Special Site