Most people have seen the BumpTop videos on YouTube and TED by now. (If you haven’t, I’ve embedded their current demo vid below. Take a look!) The official desktop replacement has been in private beta (for Windows only) for a little while now, and I’ve had the pleasure of playing along at home. The OS X release is pending, and after what I’ve seen on Windows, I’m interested to use it on my computer of choice.
Immediately, you get the cool vibe when using it. As a geek, I must say it’s just as slick as the video presentations we’ve seen. Though probably much better suited for the multi-touch interface it was designed for, at face value the features seem pretty useful. (Or at least a good alternative to the native Desktop.) But is BumpTop going to be worthy of daily use in place of the vanilla desktop we’re all used to? Right now I think its focus is a little too narrow for that. Here’s why.
BumpTop is first and foremost an application that runs in place of your computer operating system’s desktop interface. It’s neat, but it’s the Desktop, which is usually covered-up by the applications you’re actually using 90 plus percent of the time. In many cases, one of the applications being used quite regularly is probably a file browser, like Finder. This is the space into which I think BumpTop could become a great fit because honestly, who keeps the majority of their files right on the desktop?
Personally, I just don’t focus on my desktop all that much. Some of the craftier among us have begun making their desktops pretty interactive (by using widgets and GeekTool, for instance — see Lifehacker for some of the cool stuff I’m talking about), so they may have room to disagree. For now though, they’re in the minority. But I submit that many of us spend more time in the likes of Finder, looking for files to work with. If BumpTop can come up with a more file-browser-centric strategy, I think it will gain more longevity. Otherwise, I think its cool factor will wear off after a short honeymoon period and fall by the wayside for many users.
You can sign up to get updates on the availability of the Mac version by entering your email address at BumpTop’s web site. If you have a Windows machine, that version is currently available to the public, so you can download and enjoy it for yourself.