A team at Microsoft Research's Mobile Computing Research Center shows off a demostration of a Windows Phone app to be presented at the MobiSys 2012 conference in June, dubbed "FALCON," which is part of a broader Microsoft Research project called "Context Data OS (ConDOS)" which aims to enhance mobile operating systems by integrating and responding to context.
"Falcon is one example of this, integrating location and time context to algorithmically anticipate which app the user might want to launch where and when respectively."
"We've designed and built Falcon to remedy slow app launch. Falcon uses context such as user location and temporal access patterns to predict app launches before they occur. Falcon then provides apps systems support for effective app-specific pre-launching, which can dramatically reduce perceived delay. We use novel features derived through extensive data analysis, and a novel cost-benefit learning algorithm that has strong predictive performance and low runtime overhead. Analysis shows that the user can save up to 35 seconds on a single app launch, resulting in significantly improved user experience. Falcon is implemented as an OS modification to Windows Phone," Microsoft stated.
The video also demonstrates context from WiFi networks. One of the researchers, Tingxin Yan, describe it as,
"A context-aware mobile app preloading component for mobile OS. Based on intensive data analysis of app usage across multiple mobile users, FALCON presents a decision engine which exploits temporal and spacial characters of user behaviour to pre-load apps ahead of time, thereby improves the responsiveness of smartphones," said Yan.
Also, Microsoft has revealed a new patent application that they're bringing real-time hand-gesturing to tablets, tabletops and beyond. According to the patent application’s summary, there's "a need to provide simple, accurate, fast and computationally inexpensive methods of object and hand pose recognition for many applications."
"For example, to enable a user to make use of his or her hands to drive an application either displayed on a tablet screen or projected onto a table top," Microsoft explains (via).A second aspect of this project relates to a pico-like projector system that is so secret that Microsoft openly confesses that they'll only talk about it as a concept and reveal the details about it at a later date. Whether this technology is being designed for Intel's 2013 Haswell processor based Ultrabooks is unknown at this time – but it sure would add a little excitement to their next generation hybrid notebook-tablets. And if they want to steal a little of Apple's magical thunder, then it's going to take these types of features to do it.