Summary as of April 26, 2005, Updated September 2, 2005

Facts, rumors, speculations about the past, present and future of FingerWorks.

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Summary as of April 26, 2005, Updated September 2, 2005

Postby nomaded » 27 Apr 2005, 05:31

Updated September 2, 2005 - see below

I want to try to summarize what we know so far. Feel free to add/correct me.

-> Around the middle of February 2005, it was noticed that FingerWorks Support was not returning email messages/support requests in a timely manner. Inquiries were made to the Official Forums, with no responses from anyone from FingerWorks.

-> Around the beginning of March 2005, users started posting to the Official Forums that many retailers were no longer stocking FingerWorks products (both TouchStreams and iGesturePads). They were being told that the products were discontinued, or that it would take several weeks to reorder items.

-> At the same time, some resellers were inflating the price of the products they had in stock. On March 9, 2005, a user reported that Human Solutions was charging $419 for the TouchStream LP (it normally retails for $339). 5 days later Human Solutions raised the price to $449. The last reported price, as of April 19, 2005, was $480, with no stock.

-> By the end of March 2005/beginning of April 2005, rumors were rampant about the demise of FingerWorks. fingerworks, the Administrative user, reported that they were in the process of moving facilities. He also mentioned in one of his posts:
"Things are still up in the air. The full support team should be rehired this week though."
Interestingly enough, it seems that that post was edited at a later point to read:
"Things are still up in the air. The full support team should be working this week though."
Luckily, the following post in the thread does show the original unedited quote.

-> On April 21, 2005, user "tubaman" posted some interesting info:
Check out what Coates Analytics Group, a company that provides financial analysis services, has to say about their newest advisor, the *former* CEO and chairman of Fingerworks, Inc. (he was still the CEO during the 2005 International CES):

"Jeffrey White was most recently the CEO and Chairman of FingerWorks, Inc. a privately held producer of Computer Software and Hardware targeted at the input systems market. In this capacity, he successfully transformed a fledging startup into a leading edge provider of input technologies, which was ultimately acquired by a multi-billion dollar supplier of IT software and hardware for a price equal to 25 times revenue. "

Quoted from the following web page:

http://www.outsearchinc.com/about.aspx

The way the business has been run recently, maybe they were just bought for the technology?
It has been speculated that the company that bought the technology could be Apple or Wacom.

-> Additionally, right around April 19, 2005, it seems that the Official Forums went into a strange state where new posts could be added, but the forums wouldn't show that they were added, at least on the front page. Any replies to existing posts were accepted, but the timestamps on the posts were not updating to reflect the new replies. It's almost as if some parts of the Official Forums were put into a "read-only" mode. Because of this, user routb decided to create a Yahoo Group discussion, to make sure the little FingerWorks Community survives. From discussions about the undesirableness of Yahoo Groups, user TorbenGB created the current wiki/forums at http://fingerfans.dreamhosters.com.

And we are now here.

-----
Updated June 13, 2005

-> On April 28, 2005, -jeffB made a post about the official forums being restored to a working state... though that doesn't last long.

-> On June 7, 2005, gregvr noted that noted a "ghost" admin had gone through and removed all the drop-down menu/tabs on the FingerWorks homepage, except the drop-down for "Customer Service".

-> A few hours later the same day, drew posted that the official Fingerworks Support Forums is now dead (put into "read-only" mode).

-> Later that week, on June 11, 2005, daniel1113 let's us know that FingerWorks has finally made official what we had all knew already: "FingerWorks has ceased operations as a business."

-> On June 13, 2005, a curious user, barbara, sent email to Wayne Westerman asking:
Have you sold the company and will your product line be taken up and continued by another business?
and his reply:
I wish manufacturing had continued or shutdown had gone smoother, but if we all cross our fingers, maybe the basic technology will not disappear forever :-)


-> One thing I found noteworthy, barbara points out that FingerWorks was awarded the 2005 CES Best of Innovations for the "WinPad", which looks to be an evolution of the iGesture Pad.

-----

Updated September 2, 2005

-> On August 31, 2005, mrpeanut posted a link to another forum that states "Apple just hired these two guys full time to design the next Apple trackpad."

-> On September 2, 2005, mrpeanut chimes in again saying that it's "common knowledge" that both Wayne Westerman and John Elias are now working for Apple Computer.

-> Also on September 2, 2005, nomaded says that his source (a friend who wants to remain anonymous) has confirmed that Westerman currently works for Apple Computer, and that he seems to work remotely.
Last edited by nomaded on 02 Sep 2005, 22:08, edited 2 times in total.
@nomaded

TouchStream Mini - February 26, 2002 - Sold
TouchStream Stealth - March 18, 2002 - Windows 7 Ultimate (home)
TouchStream MacNTouch (white) - July 23, 2003 - Retired
TouchStream LP - March 31, 2004 - In storage
TouchStream MacNTouch (silver) - December 1, 2004 - In storage
Stenovations Digitouch (dvorak) - 2007 - Windows 7 Ultimate (work)
Stenovations Digitouch (dvorak) - 2007 - In storage
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more news...

Postby aegis » 27 Apr 2005, 07:44

A colleague of mine just phoned a local reseller here in London, http://www.thebackstore.co.uk/. They said that they had contacted Fingerworks and were expecting more stock in two to three weeks.

Daniel.
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Postby Shawn_Milo » 27 Apr 2005, 19:55

So, does no one know who has acquired them, and what their plans are for the company and (more importantly) product line?
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Postby TorbenGB » 27 Apr 2005, 21:21

No, that's still not revealed, but you can be sure it will be posted here as soon as clues are given.
TorbenGB - webmaster & forum admin
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Support still out there

Postby Chopstick » 28 Apr 2005, 13:39

I've sent my broken touchstream to support yesterday, after a dialogue with them.
Last communication with them: 26/04/2005.

Conclusion: FW is still alive.
Chopstick
 

Compaq

Postby John » 29 Apr 2005, 03:54

Wasn't there a request by the fingerworks developers for happy experiences pairing COMPAQ with touchstreams to use in an upcoming negotiation?
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Postby Guest » 29 Apr 2005, 13:08

Yes,there was actually. they were looking for people who used HP with their kybrds.
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Re: Summary as of April 26, 2005

Postby phill » 30 Apr 2005, 12:09

nomaded wrote: It has been speculated that the company that bought the technology could be Apple or Wacom.


I seriously doubt that Apple or Wacom has bought them. First Apple is first a hardware and second a software company. Also, they don't seem to have any interest in technology that is harder to use. Second Wacom is not a software company at all.

I'll put money on Microsoft. They are the more likely suspects. Being a Software company first and a Hardware company last, it fits the bill. They have keyboards and mice in their line up already.

Say goodbye to a great product if MS has them.
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Postby Guest » 02 May 2005, 05:46

This is somewhat tongue in cheek but some will come true:

If MS has Fingerworks, we can expect:

"keyboard activation". When plugging in the keyboard you have to supply a "keyboard key"

Activate the keyboard within 14 days.

Also, your firmware will be automatically updated for you with no choice which also happen to mysteriously overwrite some of your user settings.

Future versions will not work on a Mac/Linux/whatever anymore. :)

And of course, Fingerworks forum to be replaced and rolled into MSDN and tech support by the greatest tech support team on earth: Microsoft's...
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Postby TorbenGB » 02 May 2005, 07:49

As an ex-microsofter, I should resent that comment, but strangely enough, I don't.
I thought of a different multi-billion dollar supplier of IT software and hardware = IBM. Thoughts, anyone?
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Postby bradheintz » 02 May 2005, 15:48

My thoughts on the "who" of it were MS, Apple, HP, and IBM. There just aren't that many firms that fit the multi-billion dollar HW/SW vendor profile. And I don't know why such a company would acquire FW - which is a small niche hardware provider - unless they had a specific, medium-to-large vertical market application where they thought the technology would give them a specific edge.

What worries me about that is that they'd have no need to continue what must be a pretty small retail business with the consumer-oriented products. If I'm right that they'd be targeting enterprise sales tied to a particular vertical app, then low-volume consumer sales would just be an albatross around the neck of the more lucrative business.

Then again, maybe they want to make the TouchStream (or its successor) an option on every HP/Compaq desktop or laptop they sell from this day forward. I really hope I'm wrong about the vertical enterprise sales being the enemy of - well, us. But be ready for it, either way.

My $.02,
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Postby ken gray » 02 May 2005, 16:35

TorbenGB wrote:As an ex-microsofter, I should resent that comment, but strangely enough, I don't.
I thought of a different multi-billion dollar supplier of IT software and hardware = IBM. Thoughts, anyone?


I would have thought so too except they just rolled off their PC division to Lenovo. makes me thing they are getting away from the smaller profit-margin area of the tech...but then they are patent whores....so...
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Re: fingerworks story

Postby bradheintz » 10 May 2005, 16:51

guest wrote:Fingerworks was sold to Apple and there will be no more products. Also there will be no more support for any existing customers with warranties. Apple bought the technology. You will see the gesture recognition on the G5 notebooks probably.


Cite a reliable source for this "information", or be written off as a scare-mongering, trouble-making adolescent.
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Apple touchpad

Postby Guest » 11 May 2005, 01:45

http://www.macobserver.com/article/2005/05/10.18.shtml

Hmm.. I wonder if the patent mentions e-field sensing...
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Postby mboeing » 13 May 2005, 13:15

I did not check the patent application but the cited article does not mention FW-like technology. Apple should have a lot of technology applicaple for a tablet computer back from the Newton days.

Cheers,
/Markus.
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Re: Apple touchpad

Postby guest » 14 May 2005, 02:33

Anonymous wrote:http://www.macobserver.com/article/2005/05/10.18.shtml

Hmm.. I wonder if the patent mentions e-field sensing...


This patent just covers design, that is shape and form factor. And this patent was requested last year. So no actual time correlation.

Now, if we want to find correlation between Apple and FW, let's just look at the latest addition to their PowerBook's ergonomics...

...2-fingers scrolling. Well, that sounds quite interesting. And appeared on the latest revision of the machines, that is at the beginning of the year.
Wonder if there are patented ideas on the use of multiple fingers on a sensitive area (only in the US can anything be patented, we fear that it might come to Europe, alas).
Well, this could be a tell-tale sign.

Interestingly, FW also used to make the macNtouch, replacement keyboard for PowerBook. They never made replacement keyboards for other laptops, as far as I can recall... (I actually wanted to buy one today, and that is how I discovered the company seems to have gone in thin air)

If Apple acquired the technology, this could be an interesting twist, that is, they might shape it and format it to make it easy, intuitive and accessible for more. But that might go with Apple's (and any other company for that matter) usual careless attitude, which would deprive any other users (non-mac using ones) from the benefit of the technology...
The guest poster was not totally wrong in his harsh description of what would happen if it were indeed Apple that acquired FW.
Of course, no source or justification for his main argument, but the consequences are not too farfetched.

This might also give Apple a good way to make a USABLE tablet-shaped computer.

Disclosure: I am a Mac user, enjoy every minute of my computing life on Mac OS X and away from Windows in its current incarnation, which I hope never to touch again now that no job requires me to do so anymore.
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This is an email i received from fingerworks

Postby Tim H » 16 May 2005, 19:40

FYI I asked if i should wait until a new release of the keyboard was available, or if this is a lost cause.

Their response.

From : FingerWorks Sales <sales@fingerworks.com>
Sent : Monday, May 16, 2005 2:13 PM
To : timothy*****************
Subject : Re: Product Information Request from Timothy *****y


Hi Timothy,

Unfortunately it looks like the TouchStream will not go into production. Good luck finding another solution!

Product Information Request from Timothy ******y

Sorry I wanted to keep my private information private.
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This is an email i received from fingerworks

Postby Tim H » 16 May 2005, 22:44

Ok nevermind. Kinda stinks that we can't get this keyboard. I definately know where everyone is coming from. I have RIS and tendonitis in both forearms. PT said that my job is only going to make it worse too.

Well good luck everyone and thanks for the support thus far. I think I'm going to try to just make one of the keyboards for myself. LOL

Tim
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Postby nomaded » 13 Jun 2005, 22:26

Looks like I need to update my post...
@nomaded

TouchStream Mini - February 26, 2002 - Sold
TouchStream Stealth - March 18, 2002 - Windows 7 Ultimate (home)
TouchStream MacNTouch (white) - July 23, 2003 - Retired
TouchStream LP - March 31, 2004 - In storage
TouchStream MacNTouch (silver) - December 1, 2004 - In storage
Stenovations Digitouch (dvorak) - 2007 - Windows 7 Ultimate (work)
Stenovations Digitouch (dvorak) - 2007 - In storage
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Postby ken gray » 17 Aug 2005, 20:04

Nice catch!!!
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Postby Rqyteqto » 17 Aug 2005, 21:16

Orphans perhaps, but definitely left for bastards.

Assuming the UofD had a 50% interest, the boys have done well by themselves.

I don't necessarily agree with the notion this means TouchStreams have no future as a retail product, but right now there's certainly no silver lining I can find on our particular cloud.

I am still looking at the Mitsubishi Electronics Research Lab's (MERL) DiamondTouch system as the buyers. Its virtually identical with the exception they are using a front projection system (primarily because of the MultiTouch sensors aren't transparent so its the only way to incorporate video directly on the board) and they've added MultiUser to the mix. The latter is simple a matter of using different capacitance ranges for each of the four user circuits.

Unfortunately, a DiamondTouch set up runs about $10K. However, they are expecting to go commercial within a year. If I had a spare $10K lying about, I'd definitely buy one.

The real trick will be combining an OLED or SmartPaper display with the MultiTouch sensors, I believe such a display might be thin enough to allow the Multi-touch to work through it. The result would be absolutely stunning.
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Postby ken gray » 17 Aug 2005, 21:50

but right now there's certainly no silver lining I can find on our particular cloud.


the only one i see is that we are all using one :wink:

let's face it though, when we look into the kb market were holding the betamax of kbs.... :cry:
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Postby nomaded » 18 Aug 2005, 00:01

ken gray wrote:let's face it though, when we look into the kb market were holding the betamax of kbs.... :cry:


More like Discovision than BetaMax. :roll:
@nomaded

TouchStream Mini - February 26, 2002 - Sold
TouchStream Stealth - March 18, 2002 - Windows 7 Ultimate (home)
TouchStream MacNTouch (white) - July 23, 2003 - Retired
TouchStream LP - March 31, 2004 - In storage
TouchStream MacNTouch (silver) - December 1, 2004 - In storage
Stenovations Digitouch (dvorak) - 2007 - Windows 7 Ultimate (work)
Stenovations Digitouch (dvorak) - 2007 - In storage
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Postby ken gray » 18 Aug 2005, 13:11

no, beta cuz even though it's got a better picture the market goes with bigger clunkier and poorer quality....
:wink:
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