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Microsoft Finally Launches Surface In UK

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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...

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Microsoft Surface

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