Men are silhouetted against a video screen as they pose with Samsung Galaxy S3, Nokia Lumia 820 and iPhone 4 smartphones (L-R) in this photo illustration taken in the central Bosnian town of Zenica.
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"Those are just so much more natural and intuitive than it is to move a mouse around and click on specific objects," said Youngmoo Kim.
Kim, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Drexel University, is directing a new venture he hopes will foster a collaboration that will help build innovative mobile apps.
"The stats are out there," he said. "There are a lot of people who don't have a desktop computer or a laptop computer, don't have Internet access that way. Their only access is through their phone."
Kim is head of the new Application Development Laboratory at Drexel which offers space and resources for students to design and produce apps. The lab, the result of a donation from Bentley Systems, opened on Monday.
The goal, Kim said, is to build apps that serve a distinct purpose and offer a unique experience.
"You can certainly control a desktop website from a smartphone or a tablet," he said, "but those websites weren't designed to be driven through touch."