A frequently asked question around these parts is, what’s next for JazzMutant’s Lemur? The dedicated multi-touch hardware showed that touch could be a powerful means of interacting with music and visuals, years before “iPhone” and “iPad” became household words. But now, make no mistake about it, new, cheap hardware is moving in on the Lemur’s turf.

I’m in regular touch with JazzMutant, so I can assure you, when they’re ready to talk, we’ll have some information. Right now, they aren’t sharing anything publicly. But I can tell you they’re in active development mode, and that many artists continue to use the devices in performance. One advantage of this being standalone hardware is that it does promise a certain amount of longevity. Glitch Mob have worked out an amazing performance with a set of Lemurs, all plugged into one machine running Ableton Live – hope to talk to them about that, so let us know if you have questions.

What I can share is this video by Dusty Kid, which shows tighter integration and clip launching capabilities with Ableton Live. Our friend Michael Chenetz of the awesome max4live.info is all over this one. Clip launching on Live isn’t new, but the integration here is more seamless and usable than what we’ve seen in the past. I’ll let you Live gurus analyze this video to work out what’s going on, as that’s the extent of what I can say.

It’s an unofficial video, not one from JazzMutant, but it’s a decent teaser. For the record, on the Mutants’ own site, they describe “the secret project Jazzmutant have been working on… the next level of integration with Ableton Live.”

I know many readers here now have their eyes on the iPad, because it’s at a price more people can easily afford. But it’ll nonetheless be interesting to watch these different rivals. There’s no reason, for instance, a Lemur programmer can’t learn from what iPhone developers are doing, and visa versa. And I suspect the Lemur and iPad/iPhone alone won’t be the only candidates.

From reader Clockwise Carter, here’s a (different) Live clip launcher, for more ideas for how this software-hardware combination could work.