Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Look what just surfaced at Microsoft! Surface computing via Surface!

At the All Things Digital conference, Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer will debut Microsoft Surface aka Project Milan, the first in a new category of surface computing products that recognizes physical objects, e.g., paintbrush, cellular phones, and credit cards, and allows hands-on, direct control of content, e.g., photographs, music and maps. This isn't just touch screen - it's multi-touch! Surface advances interaction with all forms of digital content via natural gestures, touch and physical objects, senses styli and objects, and connects and interacts with other devices utilizing RFID and other wireless protocols. Awesome!

From CrunchGear:
  • Direct interaction. Users can actually “grab” digital information with their hands, interacting with content by touch and gesture, without the use of a mouse or keyboard.
  • Multi-touch. Surface computing recognizes many points of contact simultaneously, not just from one finger like a typical touch-screen, but up to dozens of items at once.
  • Multi-user. The horizontal form factor makes it easy for several people to gather around surface computers together, providing a collaborative, face-to-face computing experience.
  • Object recognition. Users can place physical objects on the surface to trigger different types of digital responses, including the transfer of digital content.
It looks like Microsoft has some fight left in it. A true second wind! Surface is one hell of an exciting development! It is one slick device! A definite cool in my book! I want one!

Microsoft is initially targeting the enterprise in debuting the "interactive desk", e.g,. hotels, retail establishments, restaurants and public entertainment venues. And it should! After all, the Surface comes with a hefty $10,000 price tag. Its commercial counterpart will debut once cost issues associated with manufacturing the technology settle. Surface will be available in Harrah's Entertainment, and Starwood Casinos as well as in a number of T-Mobile outlets.

An interesting product, indeed! Microsoft has a winner here. Just imagine the potential applications of Surface as a point of sale device! Advertising! Marketing! Simply staggering! From the military to the airline industry to retail trade! The totally new kind of experience that is being touted by MSFT for its technology will herald in a new way of how companies conduct their business. And not only that! If the interactive desk does live to its promises, it will up the playing field a notch higher and will transform the way people live their lives, i.e., shopping, eating and dining, and having fun!

Wait! Those are commercial applications - what about personal apps? Aren't they important too? You can bet your bottom dollar that they are! Surface's novelty is its surface computing feature (hmmm, a pun!) that allows users to effortlessly interact with content by touch and gesture - and up to dozens of items simultaneously! This will create a new niche in the video game industry, i.e., "real-feel" puzzle games and RPGs that allow players to input virtual commands with their hands or cast spells and make weapons using their fingers and fingertips.

On a very personal and selfish note, dig this! I'd love to see the day that Surface integrates a new and exciting blogging platform with a "real-time, interactive drag-and-drop" interface, which will allow bloggers to tailor their blog like they never did before!. Sizing of pictures and customization of layouts will never be the same! Now, this is one facet of blogging where no blogger has blogged before!

But can such device be family oriented, e.g., just like Nintendo's Wii? Well, why do you think Microsoft made Surface as a 30-inch display in table-like form? From what I've seen on the video clips, the interactive desk's horizontal design allows members of the family (or several people) to interact independently or simultaneously in a way that is much like in the real world! What can be more family-oriented than teaching your kids their ABCs and numbers? Such an enjoyable and engaging interactive experience will entice kids to learn, create, share, and explore in a unique, yet entertaining and very fun, sort of way!

Indeed, Microsoft has never been known for family-themed products. And it decides to debut Surface at the All Things Digital Conference, where Steve Jobs and Bill Gates will both be present (for the first time) in an unscripted and informal gathering of the tech world's hot shots?! With neither hype nor fanfare? So, what gives? It looks like Microsoft is planning to steal some thunder from its competitors on different fronts, i.e., Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) iPhone and Apple TV, and Nintendo's Wii. Genius!

In light of this, is Microsoft a great investment opportunity? IF they play their cards right on this one, IT IS. MSFT's stocks will ride high on Surface if the boys from Redmond do not foul up on the enterprise level and they successfully integrate the technology in a relatively inexpensive consumer device. And when they do, Gates and Ballmer will earn an embarrassingly amount of money, both for their stakeholders and themselves. And I kid you not!


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Machete said...

WOW! First the iPhone, and then this! We're really entering a new age!

P.S. I want to use that to play Counterstrike!

CFandM said...

Cool, that would be a interesting thing to see in person and be able to touch..Also could bring new meaning to finger painting...

Karlo Defensor said...

Very insightful post, good job!

guy_next_door said...

It is so expensive..tsk tsk tsk :(

Nirmal said...

Looks promising, but is expensive! :-)
BTW reduce the readers images, its taking time to load your page-just my suggestion.. :-)

THE ANiTOKiD said...

followed your suggestion, my friend - much thanks :)

Anonymous said...

sasanla ko lupat bahay namin sa bulacan, makabili lang nyang Surface ni Bill Gates. hehehehe.
-HP's wildcard

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