I strangely don’t have a lot to say about the already well–blogged offer from Microsoft, Microsoft Surface. It’s obviously pretty and nice and I’d like one of course. Sort of. In any case it would be remiss of me not to blog about it.
It’s pretty much like every other multi-touch interface plus some object recognition (actually visual code tags are attached to the objects in the demo, apparently) built-in. If it’s as smooth as it looks in the very slick videos and has no lag at all then I expect it’ll make a splash rather like plasma screens – first in expensive retail and hotel spaces (plus a few ad agency lobbies) before gradually making it’s way into homes. How much would I pay for one? Not the $5k-10k they’re asking at the moment (though kudos to them for getting an actual product released). Maybe if it could also be my media centre with some kind of wi-fi streaming to the TV (I’m sure they’ve thought of this) it’s a less ugly way to have a computer in the living room. Apart from the fact that the ‘coffee table’ looks like a Star-Trek prop.
I found some of the ideas in the demo pretty interesting, and this still from Engadget’s hands-on (is it really that hard to work out a tip? Still, the little slider is nice). It’s much more Apple-style digital lifestyle than I’m used to seeing from Microsoft and it seems to hook into the whole vista vibe in the sense that they really seem to be much more focussed on the experience and not just tool-like functionality. For me, of course, it’s great to see all of this become more playful and I have no doubt that the physical movements one makes when using it have a lot to do with it. More on that theme in a little while – I’m writing a PhD chapter on it.