Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 adds split screen

I think Windows MultiPoint Server is one of the most interesting small product groups at Microsoft right now. They have an innovative solution built on top of Windows Server that does a superb job at reducing the complexities of their technology with potentially huge implications for multiseat computing in the long term.

Exactly a year after their first release, the team just announced their new version, Windows MultiPoint Server 2011, was released to manufacturing today. The new release adds an array of management and collaboration features along with support for LAN-connected and traditional RDP clients, however one particular feature stands out from all the rest, “split screen”.

What split screen enables is the ability to allow an additional user with their own keyboard and mice to share one screen with another user, side-by-side like in a game. Obviously this isn’t an ideal way to use a PC, but it is a great way to make the most of available resources in an environment where the budget never seems to be enough.

Check out the demo of split screen at the BETT education trade show last month.

13 insightful thoughts

  1. Only one question: Why? I don’t see a use case where an additional screen is too expensive and this solution is usable.

    1. Well I’d imagine its useful for peak user scenarios where most of the time the system is used by 10 users, but rarely maybe 14 people may want to use it at one time. It’s probably a waste if you get 4 monitors that aren’t going to be used very often.

    2. I got one for you. actually the split screen was first introduced in another microsoft project a couple of years back for 3rd world countries like africa where you could possibly afford a second keyboard and mouse, but not a second computer, so you plug up 2 mice and 2 keyboards over usb and split the screen for 2 users.

  2. Expensive means different things in different parts of the world. In addition to the cost of the monitor itself, there’s substantial savings in power usage. That cost is significant in various parts of the world.

    There are benefits outside of cost savings, though. In an education scenario, a teacher could project a lesson on one side of every student’s screen while the students follow along on the other side.

  3. That is bad-ass. Think of the capital cost and energy savings from maintaining a single computer that multiple people can log onto and use from any location. All you need is a monitor and some input devices.

  4. Split screen would actually be more useful than 2 separate monitors to teachers/students and demonstrators. This is a really promising product and MS is improving it fast. The Linux equivalent from Userful Corporation is at the moment ahead when looking the features offered in this category, specifically the ability to turn regular Linux distros into multi-user enabled distros, something I doubt Microsoft would ever do with mainstream Windows and simpler licensing vs the MS CAL nonsense. Another interesting feature WMS 2011 adds is connecting thin clients over LAN

  5. Personally i quite like the idea of the split screen function because i see a potential this function can create, maybe in a team/group discussion or during a presentation. And like what many others have commented, by using only one screen and you can share among a few users is really productive and cost-efficient. After all, this product targetted group are small enterprise with low budget capital.

    Now, I wonder whether files can be drag across screen?

  6. hi i want to know if its possible to drag programs(photoshop) between two screens/monitors or click on each other’s desktop if wanted to.

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