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Who's Next: William 'whurley' Hurley

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What's disrupting inventing?
  • CNN chats with tech innovator William Hurley at the South by Southwest Interactive festival
  • His mobile-app company created the iPad app for News Corp.'s tablet publication, The Daily
  • Hurley: "We're actually designing the app in our imaginations now"

Austin, Texas (CNN) -- Who: William "whurley" Hurley of Austin, Texas

What's with the nickname: It's an abbreviation of his name and the title of his personal blog.

Why you might know him: He worked in research and development at Apple and IBM, owns a handful of patents and is considered an influential tech thinker. His mobile-app company, Chaotic Moon Studios, built the interactive "Grover and the Monster at the End of the Book" for "Sesame Street" and recently launched the iPad application for News Corp.'s tablet publication, The Daily.

He likes the South by Southwest Interactive festival, where we caught up with him: Chaotic Moon Studios launched last year at SXSW. Hurley, one of its co-founders, has been attending the festival since 1993.

How Chaotic Moon develops products: "We're actually designing the app in our imaginations now and then backing that up and going out to these manufacturers with what we need. We're starting to see things progress at such a fast pace. Literally every year there's a new iPhone, there's a new thing, and that gives us -- with the proper planning -- time to think about the limitations of the device, build out something and know that the devices will eventually catch up. Or possibly we could even influence to catch up to it sooner."

His thoughts on innovation: "If you think about the progress of technology, at what point do we hit that glass ceiling? There are people I know that would have said 3-D is a wall, and now we've broken past that. It's our job as technologists to drive forward past those walls, and that requires something that is close to me, which is better education of people," he said. "That is what prevents us from hitting that wall."

Why he favors an online resource where app developers could access and share information: "Why not take and open source some of that and make it a communal process? Instead of rewriting 80% of the software that is the same on all of those applications, why not focus on the 20% that makes it different and really worthwhile to the user?"

Why he thinks mobile computing will be even bigger in 2012: "When we were here (at SXSW) last year, we heard it was going to be the year of the tablet. You expected to see not just tablets, but customized tablets for verticals, medical and restaurants and all these different things, and that really hasn't happened.

"So next year I think you're going to see yet another increase in mobile, because for computing to become ubiquitous and pervasive, clearly we have to take it with us. And everyone wants to be new and novel by doing mobile stuff, but the reality is that everything will eventually be mobile or at least have a mobile competent."

Hurley also hopes to see more applications that allow you to share information across devices, such as an app for your TV that syncs with your tablet and your phone.


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