Is this the next Windows 7 Phone?

Artist's concept of a projection-keyboard-equipped Windows 7 Phone (click for larger image)

Artist's concept of a projection-keyboard-equipped Windows 7 Phone (click for larger image)

Today, Microsoft announced that it had purchased 3-D chip maker Canesta for an undisclosed amount. Given Microsoft’s existing investment in movement-recognition for their gaming platform – the Xbox 360 Kinect, it makes sense that they would want to grow their arsenal. But what intrigued me about this particular acquisition is one of the patents that Canesta holds, according to the projection keyboard.

I had read about projection keyboards a few years ago and like many others was impressed by the opportunities inherent in the concept. How long would it be before we saw mobile phones with this technology embedded?

Turns out it hasn’t happened… yet. Although Canesta has licensed their technology to device maker Celluon who has already brought a stand-alone keyboard projection system to market, there has been no all-in-one device.

Now, I realize that Microsoft doesn’t manufacture any mobile phones (their recent foray with the KIN was over almost before it started) so it’s unlikely that we’ll start seeing Microsoft branded phones anytime soon, but perhaps there’s a different strategy.

One of the big challenges Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 7 has ahead of it in its battle with Apple, Android and Blackberry is differentiating itself from the other platforms. They’ve already taken a stab at this by making their home-screen more useful than merely being a collection of icons, so what else can they do to convince you to buy?

Given that they don’t control the hardware for Windows Phone 7, they may try to influence it. What if Microsoft agreed to give a free license for Canesta’s projection keyboard system to any hardware maker who produces a Windows Phone 7 model? What if they further covered the cost of the chip-and-sensor modules that make the keyboard possible?

Having the only projection keyboard-enabled phones on the market might just be the push Redmond needs to see wider adoption of their new mobile OS. Or it might just be another desperate move. Readers, what say you? Would a projection keyboard sway your decision on which smartphone to buy?



  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Will future Windows 7 Phones have projection keyboards? | Sync Blog --
  2. Swizzle

    Very freaky cool, but maybe impractical. Who uses their phone while sitting at a flat surface (for projection keyboard)? I’m not familiar with how this keyboard works exactly, but unless this technology somehow allows the user to activate each key in mid-air, I’m not sure this will be very handy for anyone? When was the last time you texted at a flat surface? One of the lures and successes of texting is that you can do it any time, anywhere, and for some, that you can do it very subtly (although I’ve only seen this skill mastered properly and efficiently on young people that’ve grown up using text) If this new technology doesn’t have these attributes, I’m not sure how popularity will grow at all.


  3. Derek Cheng

    I think it’s a nice effort from Microsoft, but Windows phones have already been left in the dust by Android, Blackberry, and iPhone. It’s gonna be a while before people start noticing Windows phones again.


  4. Pingback: evoMouse Virtual Mouse Lets You Use Your Finger | Sync™ Blog
  5. Pingback: CES: Celluon Magic Cube laser keyboard really works | Sync™ Blog