Microsoft Surface announced – not an iPhone competitor

Microsoft just announced a very cool new multi-touch computing product, called Surface. At first the rumors were this would be an iPhone competitor, but it’s clear now that it’s much larger (30-inch display!) and more of an environmental computer device. Using the product, people can interact with information using touch, natural gestures and physical objects. So no mouse or keyboard is required. From the press release:

“Surface turns an ordinary tabletop into a vibrant, dynamic surface that provides effortless interaction with all forms of digital content through natural gestures, touch and physical objects. Beginning at the end of this year, consumers will be able to interact with Surface in hotels, retail establishments, restaurants and public entertainment venues.”

It’s best seen to be believed, so check out the videos on the Surface website. Here are some screenshots from those videos:

This is the kind of technology Microsoft does best – a hardware/software amalgam, but not requiring the branding and design touches that Apple is so good at. The beauty of Surface is that it will be integrated into the environment (i.e. tables), so it doesn’t need to be a cool accessory for humans (like iPod, Macbook, etc). Microsoft isn’t so good at accessorizing, but it definitely has the technology chops to create impressive hardware/software products like Surface and XBox.

last100 is edited by Steve O'Hear. Aside from founding last100, Steve is co-founder and CEO of Beepl and a freelance journalist who has written for numerous publications, including TechCrunch, The Guardian, ZDNet, ReadWriteWeb and Macworld, and also wrote and directed the Silicon Valley documentary, In Search of the Valley. See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

16 Responses to “Microsoft Surface announced – not an iPhone competitor”

  1. […] Source:last100 Microsoft just announced a very cool new multi-touch computing product, called Surface. At first the rumors were this would be an iPhone competitor, but it’s clear now that it’s much larger (30-inch display!) and more of an environmental computer device. Using the product, people can interact with information using touch, natural gestures and physical objects. […] Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. […]

  2. Daniel says:

    It will be interesting to see if any patent disputes arise because of this. I believe Apple have patents for ‘multi-touch’ touchscreens and research labs associated with them have been working on exactly the same type of interface. The IPhone with it’s two finger zooming of images was just the first example of such a system at a small scale. I wouldn’t be too surprised if they were planning a similar system as Surface for the future.

  3. That looks like genius, and depending on the price point, there are tons of real-world applications. In particular, you can see it being widely used in situations where computing with a more natural interface is required, and would allow Microsoft to bring computing to niches that have managed to stay analogue to this point. Clever.

  4. […] unique, compelling and usable experience, it makes a world of difference. Just reading some of the commentary on Surfacing shows how captivated people are by great experiences and great interfaces. […]

  5. […] Last100 likes it, but I am skeptical of this quote: This is the kind of technology Microsoft does best – a hardware/software amalgam […]

  6. bob says:

    It does look very cool, curious to know how tough the screen will be when people start eating off of it. I’m also sorta disappointed in msft for not using silverlight for intro page…

  7. […] Microsoft Surface announced – not an iPhone competitor — noch ein paar schöne Fotos (siehe auch unten) […]

  8. Kin Lane says:

    I will still carry it around in my pocket.

  9. Elia says:

    Can you imagine this technology combined with paper displays? http://texyt.com/sony+oled+tv+and+organic+el+tft+prototype+00093

  10. Kevin says:

    This technology will be perfect for children (and seniors).

    Since I work with touchscreens, my own daughter learned to use a touchscreen interface from the age of two. Long before she could handle a mouse, she knew hundreds of submenus for learning websites, and even (to my surprise) figured out how to drag objects using her finger.

  11. […] Microsoft Surface announced – not an iPhone competitor | last100 – Wow, finally something from Microsoft that I /actually/ want. […]

  12. […] Microsoft Surface announced – not an iPhone competitor | last100 – Wow, finally something from Microsoft that I /actually/ want. […]

  13. […] attracted much attention from the masses. Microsoft Surface got plenty of good press, but was announced after the iPhone and finally delivered more than a year after the initial buzz had […]

  14. […] See also: Microsoft Surface announced – not an iPhone competitor […]

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