Google Buys BumpTop -- But Why?

Last Updated May 3, 2010 1:19 PM EDT

Remember BumpTop, the 3D desktop that made its debut right around a year ago? A few days ago I received notice that the software would no longer be for sale. Were the developers pulling the plug? Quite the opposite: They'd been acquired by Google.

Technically, BumpTop is now an end-of-life product. No additional updates will be released, and if you purchased BumpTop Pro, support ends on June 1. You can find out more -- and download the latest version to keep for future use -- at the BumpTop Pro page.

The big question is what Google plans to do with the code. Downsize it for use on Android phones? Modify it for use with Android-powered tablets? Watching the BumpTop demo video, one can't help but salivate at the prospect of using the software on a touchscreen. Take a look:

Just imagine being able to do all that with a fingertip. Of course, it might be the case that Google plans to integrated BumpTop with the "Chrome OS" that's been rumored for many moons. Thus we might see it running on all manner of devices: netbooks, tablets, and who knows what else?

What do you think of all this? Would BumpTop make a worthy addition to Android? Would it be fun (and practical) to use on a tablet? Let's hear your thoughts.

In the meantime, in case you have any lingering curiosity, you can still download the free version of BumpTop -- but only until the end of this week.

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    Rick Broida, a technology writer for more than 20 years, is the author of more than a dozen books. In addition to writing CNET's The Cheapskate blog, he contributes to CNET's iPhone Atlas.