Just got done with updating the case study on mobile advertising for the Newspaper Association of America — I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised that market conditions had changed so very much since mid-2008.  You always hear that “Internet years are like dog years,” but man, did that ever hold true.

Just a few examples:

  1. One of the big segments I wrote lumped Alternate Reality and Apps into the same category. This was obviously before Apple’s App store completely blew up
  2. QR codes were this crazy technology that strange Japanese advertisers were using. Seemed like Sea-urchin sushi. Something that would never really catch on here. Guess again, eh?

  • 3.And the biggest one of all – mobile is now an actual line-item in marketing and advertising budgets, not just a throw-in with “digital media.”

So here’s something that I just couldn’t figure out what to do with – the touchscreen guys just pinged me last week and showed me some stuff about multitouch displays that allow you to use all ten fingers to manipulate & add things.

Now, I’m not sure – yet – if this really represents some kind of massive leap forward in getting the damn central processors to recognize input from the user … or if it’s like the ridiculous razor-blade wars, where Schick & Gillette seem locked in a strange battle to cram more blades onto a razor than you see in The Bride’s big samurai-sword fight scene in Kill Bill Vol. 1.

Anyway – 3M has a 22-inch monitor that can recognize all ten of your grubby digits, and a whole gallery of videos showing how the Microsoft Surface-type tech is making its way into your pocket.  Wish I could show them to you here directly, but 3M has not provided any sort of embedding functionality. I’ve played with this kind of cool stuff at Flash conventions, where artists have custom-wired motion-sensitive controllers to track all kinds of kinetic input (i.e. dancers painting via moving their feet, swaying their hips, arching their backs, etc.). 

I’m not sure how much of an impact it’ll have on the cellphone market, but I can certainly see a day when having enhanced touch for iPad-like devices really makes working with photos, video or database navigation that much more intuitive.  Get me my mirrorshades!