Microsoft is an interesting company. For years it backed off the idea of creating its own hardware, seemingly content to provide a dominant operating system and its suite of Office software tools. The first shift in this stance was the Xbox. Wading into the console fray to directly oppose Sony and Nintendo seemed like a bold move, but no one can deny it paid off.
The success of the Xbox was followed by more new hardware in the form of Xbox peripheral, the Kinect. Even if you’ve never visited Engineering on the Edge before, I’d assume you’ve heard of at least a couple different uses for the Kinect that stray far outside the bounds of video games.
After a year-long wait, the next generation of Microsoft’s Surface large format touch interface can now be pre-ordered through Samsung resellers in 23 countries (including the U.S.). The Samsung SUR40, which can be used as a table or mounted on a wall, is being touted for auto, education, healthcare, retail and other applications, and should be available early in 2012.
The Samsung units are selling for somewhere in the neighborhood of $11,000 (other outlets are quoting a price of $8,400), so don’t expect consumers to rush out and buy one anytime soon. However, a large-screen multi-touch surface could have significant utility in the design world. Large enterprises are, in fact, the initial target market, with Dassault Aviation, Fujifilm, and a few other companies planning on deploying the devices.