Microsoft's Surface tablet sure looks nifty, but will it cost the company the support of its OEM partners? Several sources have said that OEMs are mighty, mighty displeased that Microsoft took a heavily hands-on role in the design approval of other companies' Windows tablets, only to soon thereafter introduce a kick ass-looking Windows tablet of its own. LG bowed out of the tablet game the very night that the Surface was announced, and a new report says the shenanigans may cause HP to yank its Windows RT plans, too.
How does Microsoft, one of the highest-profile technology companies in the world, create a new, similarly high-profile piece of hardware like the Surface Tablet without anybody in the industry getting a whiff of it? Simple: you lock the designers working on the project into secretive underground facilities with security measures similar to what you'd find at a bank or sensitive data centers.
Reactions to the recently unveiled Microsoft Surface tablet family just keep coming in, with everyone from PC vendors to industry watchers eager to weigh in on the Redmond-based company’s decision to sell self-branded tablets. Even though people are probably more interested in Apple’s reaction, Google beat the Cupertino company to the punch Wednesday when it fired a cautious verbal volley at the Surface.
It's been an exciting week for Microsoft, which just the other day unveiled its Surface tablet, a surprisingly promising device that just may have the legs to go the distance, if not with the iPad, then certainly against Android and ARM. But let's not sell the Surface short, with the right strategy and continued interest from Microsoft, this could be big. Or, as Acer founder Stan Shih suspects, the whole Surface strategy is nothing more than a bunch of smoke and mirrors intended to sell consumers on Windows 8.
Until a few hours ago, the tech media was busy speculating about an upcoming “major announcement” from Microsoft. Some said it had something to do with Windows RT, while others said the company was going to unveil its first self-branded tablets. As it turns out, both of them were right. At an invitation-only event in Los Angeles today, Microsoft unveiled not one but two own-brand tablet PCs.
Microsoft announced a second, more retail-friendly version of its Microsoft Surface built by Samsung. It's the Samsung SUR40, purportedly a more versatile device with new features baked in and a slimmed down profile that enables a new form factor by allowing it to be turned onto its side.
Your grandkids - if you don't already have them -- will one day wonder how you ever got along without motion sensor cameras and voice recognition microphones in your home office. That's assuming Microsoft's vision of a futuristic office ever comes to fruition.
In a YouTube video, Microsoft Research shows off a prototype for a next-gen office environment, which is largely built around Microsoft Surface technology. Neat tricks abound, such as holding up a document against a giant, wall-mounted Surface where it's instantly scanned and able to be pinned, but that's just the beginning.
You really have to check out the video, and we dare you not to make any comparisons to Minority Report.
It all started while we were researching an article on future user interfaces. Touch interfaces are hardly futuristic at this point, but multi-touch hardware like the Microsoft Surface or the iPhone is just starting to become a big deal, and we decided to see what big things are going on in that field. What we found that surprised us the most wasn’t anything about the future of multitouch; it was about something that people are doing right now.
There is, it turns out, a whole community of very smart folks out there on the internet perfecting the art of building DIY multi-touch surfaces. The process isn’t exactly simple, but the results we saw were stunning: multitouch surfaces with responsiveness rivaling Microsoft’s $12,000 offering, built in a garage on a shoestring budget. “Future UI article be damned,” we thought, “we’ve gotta build one of these for ourselves.”
And so we did. We documented the whole process, from start to finish, so that you can try building one of your own, if you’re so inspired. We’re not going to claim to have done everything perfectly the first time, so think of this article as more of a build log than a definitive how-to. Still, we’re very pleased with how the table turned out. We’re so pleased, in fact, that we put together a video showing the table in motion.
Read on to see the video and find out how we made it!
Currently in the development stage, the next iteration of Microsoft's Surface technology is probably about two or three years from materializing. SecondLight, as Microsoft refers to the Surface 2, will add a second camera to project images onto a layer that sits above the surface of the screen.
Also new to SecondLight / Surface 2 are built-in infrared sensors, so not only will it detect multitouch gestures, but it will be capable of reacting to mid-air movements without ever touching the screen.
While no specifics have been given about the cameras being used, Eric Klimczak, creative director of Clarity Consulting, which produces applications for the Surface, said he expects SecondLight to make use of high-definition cameras. And he's probably right, given that the Surface has been used for at least one high profile event coordinating Super Bowl security.
With the New England Patriots having been unceremoniously knocked out of playoff contention in unprecedented fashion with an 11-5 record, most of you are probably so disgusted that you won't even bother to watch the Super Bowl. But for the rest of you, and particularly those of you planning to attend and watch the Cardinals finish off their storybook playoff run with one final (and one very shocking) victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers (that's right, I'm calling the Cardinals on this one) in person, Microsoft will be helping to keep you safe during the ensuing pandemonium.
NFL security VP Milton Ahlerich said earlier that Raymond James Stadium in Tampa will be "one of the safest locations you can possibly be" during the Super Bowl, which shows how confident he is in Microsoft's Surface. Security will be using Surface to coordinate security forces, giving them a display of a Microsoft Virtual Earth map of the entire region, along with the ability to quickly zoom and display a 3D image of the city with realtime resource tracking.
"We’re thrilled to be a part of the Super Bowl activities and supporting our long term customers here in Tampa," said Robert Wolf, President and CEO of E•SPONDER. "Our goal remains to provide the region’s first responders with easy-to-use, real-time collaboration tools to help protect the fans attending events throughout Super Bowl week and the game itself."