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Category: TouchXPRT results

Lots of things happening!

If you’re interested in the interface formerly known as Metro (IFKaM), it’s an exciting time.  A lot has happened in the last couple of weeks.

Perhaps the most exciting news is that the first Windows 8 tablets using the Intel Atom (Clover Trail) processor have started hitting the shelves, with many more coming in the next few weeks.

Nor are things are boring in the Windows RT space.

  • The first Windows RT tablet with LTE capabilities will be available this week from AT&T. You’ll find the press release here.
  • Microsoft released new firmware for Windows RT devices.  Anecdotal evidence suggests that the firmware update improves performance.  This is something we will be investigating in the near future.
  • Microsoft added Windows RT to its Compatibility Center. You can go there to find a comprehensive list of devices that are compatible with Windows RT.  Because TouchXPRT’s scenarios focus on media creation and manipulation, we were particularly interested in cameras, media players, and TV devices.

With so much news, TouchXPRT needs some news of its own. When we released the community preview, we gave permission to publish results – the first time that’s happened for a benchmark that was not final. Now we are going to be creating an online database of results from the community preview. Look for it to go live next week.

With so many new devices and updated old ones, there’s a lot out there to test.  We hope that you’ll share the results of your testing, and submit them to the database. The more results we get, the more valuable the database will be.

One final note: Microsoft released its first security patches for Windows 8 on Tuesday. If you are running Windows 8, whether on a touch device or not, check them out.


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TouchXPRT in the fast lane

I titled last week’s blog “Putting the TouchXPRT pedal to the metal.” The metaphor still applies. On Monday, we released TouchXPRT 2013 Community Preview 1 (CP1).  Members can download it here.

CP1 contains five scenarios based on our research and community feedback. The scenarios are Beautify Photo Album, Prepare Photos for Sharing, Convert Videos for Sharing, Export Podcast to MP3, and Create Slideshow from Photos.

Each scenario gives two types of results. There’s a rate, which allows for simple “bigger is better” comparisons. CP1 also gives the elapsed time for each scenario, which is easier to grasp intuitively. Each approach has its advantages. We’d like to get your feedback on whether you’d like us to pick one of those metrics for the final version of TouchXPRT 2013 or whether it makes more sense to include both. You’ll find a fuller description of the scenarios and the results in the TouchXPRT 2013 Community Preview 1 Design overview.

While you’re looking at CP1, we’re getting the source ready to release.  To check out the source, you’ll need a system running Windows 8, with Visual Studio 2012 installed. We hope to release it on Friday. Keep your eye the TouchXPRT forums for more details.

Post your feedback to the TouchXPRT forum, or e-mail it to  Do you want more scenarios? Different metrics? A new UI feature? Let us know! Make TouchXPRT the benchmark you want it to be.

As I explained last week, we released CP1 without any restrictions on publishing results. It seems that AnandTech was the first to take advantage of that. Read AnandTech’s Microsoft Surface Review to see TouchXPRT in action.

We are hoping that other folks take advantage of CP1’s capability to act as a cross-platform benchmark on the new class of Windows 8 devices. Come join us in the fast lane!


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Putting the TouchXPRT pedal to the metal

Since we announced TouchXPRT early this year, we’ve been following a typical benchmark development path. We started with the most important question—“What are people likely to do with a touch-based Windows 8 device?”—and built from there. We looked at what people are doing now with iOS- and Android-based devices. We worked with early Windows 8 units. We studied app stores. We spoke with members of the development community. And so on. When we were done studying, we moved to coding.

We’re making great progress, but something has been nagging at us: When Windows 8 tablets and other devices ship next week, there just won’t be much in the way of tools for measuring their performance when running Windows 8 apps. Sure, you may be able use standard benchmarks to assess the performance of typical desktop applications, but that won’t tell you how the devices will perform with tablet apps.

So, we’ve decided to put the pedal to the metal and provide everyone in our development community with a special treat. Sometime next week, before Windows 8 ships, we plan to release a sneak preview of TouchXPRT, the TouchXPRT 2013 Community Preview 1 (CP1).

CP1, as its name makes clear, is not the final TouchXPRT release. It is, though, a useful tool for beginning to measure Windows 8 device performance. It is also a great way for everyone in the community to see the current state of our thinking and to provide us feedback—rather than read a design spec, you can actually run this version of the tool and see what you think! (If you would like to read the informal design spec, check out .)

To make the tool easier to evaluate and more useful to all of us, we’re also taking two more unusual steps:

1.            We’re not putting any publication restrictions on this preview release. Test at will, and publish your findings.

2.            We’re releasing the source code to all community members. If you’re curious about not just what we’re doing but how we’re doing it, you can find out.

We hope these steps will speed acceptance of TouchXPRT 2013 and foster more and faster feedback. Releasing a preview version is more work, because we have to do much of the work of a software release and on less-than-final code, but we believe the value to our community justifies the effort.

Next week, when we release CP1, I’ll go over more details, the known limitations, and how you can get us your feedback—feedback we very much want.

Between now and then, we’ll be readying CP1 for your use.


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