Will Head writes…
It would be great to sneak into the deepest, darkest, most top secret research labs at Microsoft for a day and just see what bizarre ideas its engineers have got stacked away, waiting for the right time to release.
If Surface is anything to go by, then the mind boggles at what they could be working – given that it apparently took five years for it to see the light of day, and even then it’s strictly a business only option.
It must be great to be in a position to push the limits that technology can offer, and only worry afterwards whether you can make any money out of it.
The fact that it’s touch-sensitive really isn’t anything new – Tablet PC has long since boasted that capability and look where that got it.
What is exciting about Surface is that it doesn’t just tack on touch-sensitivity on to an existing interface, but it’s been built from the ground up as a system you can manipulate with your hands. No messing around with pointers or pens – just roll up your sleeves and dive straight in.
The business only approach also makes sense as it gives Microsoft a very high level of control over the spec of the systems and ensures it works properly with the software. Just like Apple only has to worry about getting a very small hardware set to function with OS X without having to consider all the various permutations and potential incompatibilities if it was an open system.
As hardware prices fall, Surface will no doubt make its way into the home – probably as a sealed unit, designed for a specific function. Maybe we’ll even see an Xbox with a Surface display, perfect for those that find the Wii a bit too energetic.