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Microsoft Finally Launches Surface In UK

Gordon Kelly


Microsoft Finally Launches Surface In UK

It's rather amazing to think that this has taken nearly two years to happen but Microsoft is finally launching Surface in the UK...

First announced in May 2007 Microsoft Surface was seen by many as Redmond's answer to the whiz bang multi-touch technology seen in the (at the time) brand new Apple iPhone. It integrates photo, email and mapping functionality amongst other things, runs on a Vista core and supports 10/100 Ethernet, WiFi and Bluetooth 2.0 for Windows Mobile handset interaction.

"Since our initial launch of Microsoft Surface, we've received an overwhelming response from companies worldwide that are looking for innovative ways to engage with their customers and developers who want to create applications that were not possible with other technologies," said Microsoft Surface general manager Panos Panay. "We're excited to be entering into these new markets with partners that have already begun exploring many possibilities of Microsoft Surface locally."

Now in my role of party pooper here are the first of many problems. The form factor is huge: it's 55.9cm high, 53.3 deep and 107cm wide with an acrylic tabletop and power coated steel interior frame. Being 'a table' hardly makes for a comfortable user position and Apple got similar functionality into a handset 1.1cm thick, a fraction of the weight and a third of the price (more of later). Lastly, all these points were beautifully spoofed in a famed viral video meaning Surface already has the street cred of the Zune brand, fairly or otherwise. It is also late arriving, very late indeed.

The final nail-in-the-table: the aforementioned pricing. In May 2007 Microsoft drew howls of derision for pricing the Surface at between $5,000 and $10,000. In the UK in March 2009, Surface will retail for 11,000 euros - approximately £10,000. In this economy and in this form factor I don't care whether you're a geek king or a commercial institution I just can't see many going for it.

In fact, the best I can really say of Surface is that it is an interesting concept designed to out future technologies for Microsoft such as multi-touch. Two years later however and Windows Phone won't be supporting a single handset with multi-touch technology. Well done guys...

Note: So famed was that viral video to this day try searching for 'big ass table' in Wikipedia...


Microsoft Surface


March 2, 2009, 11:27 pm

I guess it puts Apple's high hardware prices and weird contractual obligations into some perspective now hey?

Ten grand to get Microsoft-endorsed multitouch?

I reckon it's cheaper to get ten iphones and somehow knit them together haha!

The Doctor

March 3, 2009, 12:42 am

Just so I understand this correctly, when discussing a system designed for commercial applications you decided not to compare it to other commercial touchscreen installations (such as those by Elo) but instead decided that the most relevant comparision was a consumer mobile phone and in particular the price difference between the two?


March 3, 2009, 1:05 am

i suppose hotels, rich cafe's and - possibly - betting shops could find surface useful. but certain aspects can only work as a table (can't imagine throwing a zune at a wall mounted screen...)


March 3, 2009, 3:23 am

Review comparison choice aside for a second. I can remember widespread ridicule over the PC "mouse" when first evolved. - The mouse to PC interface was not mature enough to benefit initially. So, I am not convinced that the 'surface' interface concept is yet able to do what is suggested - in a similar way to my trivial example. In broad terms usability has far to go yet.

Fine for a cell/mobile phone, but smeary fingers all over the laptop / PC screen noo noo noo noo!


March 3, 2009, 11:46 am

&#16310,000 for a touch screen coffee table, when the UK is currently in recession. ROFLMAO!!! OMG Microsoft should have really noticed that very few people have money at the moment in the UK and most people would probably prefer to spend the &#16310,000 on a new car if they had it rather than a touch screen coffee table!


March 3, 2009, 1:50 pm

They've ruined a lovely looking table with distracting light and images everytime you touch or put something on the damned thing. Ikea have got nothing to worry about IMO.


March 3, 2009, 3:27 pm

Come along now... as the Doctor alluded to - this is a primarily commercial product. Comparing it to a coffee table (or an iphone) is like comparing a JCB to a ride on mower, and then laughing at the JCB for costing so much.

I would imagine any IT install for commercial use (like the ones TFL use for example) would come in at this kind of money at the very least.


March 3, 2009, 3:48 pm

It may be costly, but this is always how innovation has worked. Yes Apple has multi-touch surfaces, but does it have them on a table? No.

I can imagine this at a few private membership golf clubs.

Louise Waller

March 3, 2009, 4:08 pm

Check out this link - it's a video of a Surface hospitality suite developed by Avanade: http://www.youtube.com/watc...


March 3, 2009, 10:21 pm

Thanks for the link Louise. I can see useful applications for surface in shopping centres. Think Westfield London for example.


March 3, 2009, 10:27 pm

@Louise Waller - impressive PR work Louise! I still prefer the Sarcastic Gamer Surface video skit though ;) http://www.youtube.com/watc...

Mike Golding

March 16, 2009, 2:59 am

These things are really great to interact with. They have them in Dubai airport T3. I really want one of these for our reception at work to show off our products and literature but &#16310k!&#1632-3k maybe.

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