Size Matters

Today’s post written by Steve Yatson, Sr. Director, Productivity & Graphics, Consumer Division

Almost weekly, I receive news in my inbox of yet another new handheld device — A tablet or a phone maybe. Things are moving and changing faster than ever.  The demand, the buzz, and the questions continue to grow around these devices, while the desktop machine and the laptop are portrayed in the media as antiquated.   As a maker of creative tools designed to be used on desktop machines, I’m constantly thinking about ways keep up and to adapt to this trend.

New devices aren’t yet powerful enough to offer that robust 3D creation and animation experience Poser and Anime Studio users have come to expect. There are many “creativity oriented” applications available for these devices but the features and scope tend to be limited when compared to their desktop counterparts. Many new apps I’ve tried that are primarily designed for the iPad may deliver an enjoyable consumer experience, but are not capable of delivering the results a graphics professional might need.  I believe there is an expectation that the same experience and results can and should be delivered.

Combining this massive trend with the fact that software shelf space “Brick and Mortar” type retail is shrinking and we’ve had to adapt quickly. We’re seeing more and more requests for tablet versions of Poser, Anime Studio and Manga Studio. Bloggers, industry press, analysts, and especially customers tend to bring the conversation around to the question, “What’s your plan for tablets?” So how do we as tradition desktop toolmakers adapt to this changing landscape? How do we fit in?

At Smith Micro, we’ve taken the approach of adapting our technology to these new devices in a way that offers a different intended experience than the desktop.  With Anime Studio, instead of attempting to mimic the functionality of that application on a tablet device, we decided to adapt the technology to an entirely different experience still related to animation.  The simpler experience offers the ability to be creative and produce compelling results, but fits inside the current technical and physical confines of that device.

From that approach, Sock Puppets was born. Sock Puppets is a free iOS application based on Anime Studio technology that is a basic animation tool. It’s simple and fun, yet it’s still a creative tool powerful enough to be used to educate children on basic dialogue and basic animation. Our first attempt at adapting to new devices has been a great success and we hope to apply that same philosophy to all of our products moving forward.

As handheld devices get more powerful and better connected, we hope to be able to offer cutting edge products that are not just $1 one-off impulse buys.  As hardware progresses to the point that we can offer Poser and Anime Studio and Manga Studio on these desktops in a manner that mimics the desktop, we certainly will.

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