Microsoft to speed up consumer version of ‘Surface’

Janet Harris -

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Microsoft to speed up consumer version of 'Surface'<br />

Microsoft is trying to accelerate the development of a consumer version of its innovative ‘Surface’ touch-screen tabletop computer, in response to high-demand.

Microsoft announced its plans for ‘Surface’ in Spring 2007, and said it could be five years before it brought the technology to consumers.

The company is still readying machines for the first customers for the technology - mainly hotel, casino and retail businesses - and is still on course for the spring deadline.

When Microsoft Surface was demonstrated last month at the National Retail Federation’s annual convention in New York, there was a high level of interest from retailers.

Microsoft expects the technology to fit the current trend among major retailers to move towards personalisation and customisation.

The Surface looks like a coffee table, and measures 22 inches high, 21 inches deep and 42 inches wide.

The acrylic surface is touch-sensitive, and people can interact with the computer with their hands or by using objects. There is no mouse or keyboard.

Surface runs on the Windows Vista operating system. Cameras are positioned underneath the table’s surface to read optical tags - when a cell phone is placed on the surface, and product features and prices can be displayed.

One of Microsoft’s first customers will be Harrah’s Entertainment. Guests will be able to use the technology to find out abut dining, entertainment and gaming features at Harrah’s nightclubs. They will be able to book tickets and take virtual tours of the clubs.

Looks like it shouldn’t be too long before a consumer version hits the high street.


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