Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Microsoft Surface, circa 2008

Why is this clunker still around?

Since unveiling the Microsoft Surface product last year, the company has gotten plenty of feedback from businesses and enthusiasts who want to get their hands on the technology, said Tom Gibbons, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s

I am wondering if the feedback resembles something like... "HAHAHAHA... it isn't April Fools Day Microsoft..."

Oh, wait. It is April Fools Day.

(The complex manufacturing, of course, makes it expensive — the commercial version will be priced between $5,000 and $10,000)

It is complex because...

Surface works using digital cameras under the glass,

Digital cameras... sheeeesh...

Does anyone remember Hewlett-Packard HP-150? Fifteen years ago it had a touch-screen interface. FIFTEEN YEARS AGO! And I am not even certain if it was the first commercial computer with a touch-screen interface.

Because of that design, Surface can be used to track objects, not just gestures. For example, in one Microsoft demonstration, special coasters are used on the Surface table to show how it might identify a drink in a bar, and allow a patron to reorder digitally.

Pop quiz, hotshot: Which is cheaper? A bar-sized Surface or coasters embedded with bluetooth and sensors?

Gibbons said Surface has plenty of buzz; Microsoft has gotten 2,000 inquiries from 50 governments or corporations, stretching across 25 industries

2,000 inquiries from 50 entities? That is hardly resembling anything remotely impressive. Do note these are merely 'inquiries' and not intent to purchase of, what appears to be, a vaporware.

If the so-called '50 governments or corporations' wants a device like this, they would perhaps turn to Perceptive Pixel. A company Jeff Han founded to capitalize on the interface he demonstrated during TED 2006. In fact, one was used on CNN during their coverage of 2008 Super Tuesday Primaries. True, at reported price of $100,000 per unit it is rather dear but it does work, it is available now.

But, wait... what if it IS an April Fools joke?