Microsoft has finally seen fit to release Surface in the UK, a year after it was first launched in the U.S. and Canada. One-hundred-twenty partner companies have already signed up to take delivery of the devices, including Tesco and Carphone Warehouse.
Microsoft Surface is a multi-touch device which at first glance seems like a vastly over sized Apple iPhone. Although I’m not sure Microsoft would thank me for the comparison. In essence, Surface is a normal PC which instead of a monitor, keyboard, and mouse combo uses a 30-inch horizontal touchscreen as its form of interaction.
As well as being manipulated by fingertips (up to ten at a time), the Microsoft Surface can also interact automatically with objects placed on its surface. For example, put a digital camera on the screen and the photos will appear ready to be browsed, copied, or whatever.
The concept sounds brilliant and people are reportedly blown away when they get the chance to use one. Something I have yet to experience. Any of you hoping to buy one for your front room is out of luck. Microsoft is initially only offering the Surface to companies for retail and business use, and the price tag of £8,500 ($12,370) would probably prevent all but the super-rich from owning one anyway.
That hasn’t stopped Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer predicting that every home will have one at some distant point in the future. Which could happen if the technology became affordable enough that the people who own these homes wouldn’t have to sell an arm and a leg in order to find the money to purchase one.
For now, we’ll have to make do with getting used to seeing the devices in retail outlets and hotel establishments. According to The Times, in the UK, Carphone Warehouse is proposing to use the Surface as a means of allowing customers to browse the full range of mobile phones available, while Tesco demonstrated how it will work with the Wine Club, allowing connoisseurs to find more information on their bottle of choice.