Taiwan pushes IT sector to target user experience

Taiwan's government plans to boost research into cloud computing and user interface technology

Officials in Taiwan said on Wednesday they would work with the island's hardware-intensive IT sector over the next three years to design new ways for users to interact with PCs, e-readers and digital television.

The government-funded Industrial Technology Research Institute told a developer conference it would spend about T$3.5 billion (US$119 million) on 10 projects that would lead to eventual product development.

The projects, financed in part by the economics ministry, will encourage developers to work with outside partners such as Internet service providers or libraries to come up with systems linking hardware, software and information storage, leaders from the institute said.

By the project's end in 2014, users should have new ways to enlarge the type on their e-readers, which could promote reading among the elderly, or to download books from public libraries, an advantage to students.

Schools will be able to get more programs via digital TV, while devices in people's homes would be better equipped for remote sensing.

The institute hopes its projects will ultimately reach 5 million people.

Taiwanese consumers will be the pilot user group, but successful project results could extend offshore -- especially to China because it shares a language with Taiwan, making it easy for users to understand applications. Taiwanese developers are keen to capture a share of the massive market.

Three developers on each of the 10 projects will work on user interface systems, advances in cloud computing and software for applications, areas where the government says Taiwan lags other countries.

"Members of the industry in Taiwan are also looking at this process, because they could use the support," said Chi Chao-yin, deputy director of the Institute's electronics division.

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