Star Trek fans rejoice. “Surface” has been unleashed, Microsoft’s fancy nombré for the years-old-kept-secret project-turned-platform-turned-hardware cheekily manufactured in the traditional Apple closed-system delivery of hardware+software to achieve the most oomph effect. The idea is you have a touch-sensitive display spanning the breadth of a small meeting room table. Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer demo-ed at D: All Things Digital Conference. A phone was put on the surface (pun not intended), and you get an image of the phone and item details onscreen. It’s as if Surface scanned the item and recognized it.
And recognize it did. I get all psyched when I think about the things that would take advantage of this technology. We’ve all been busy ogling at 30-inch HDTVs; touch-sensitive displays have been around for at least a decade; thumb print, iris and face recognition technologies have become more sophisticated than ever, so Surface seems like a logical evolution.
At the heart of Surface, actually, lies a full-blown Windows Vista box, so on top of all the nifty object recognition and touch interface is the plumbing necessary to drive all that screen real estate that can accommodate multiple open documents, and to let you clutter the desktop with every single Photoshop toolbar there is in existence. Or if you insist, display each and every Internet Explorer add-on toolbar that came with your Yahoo Messenger installation, and still have space for your 100+ IM conversation windows. A functional display with feet-long diagonal leaves one without the need for Flip3D, or Exposé.
What do you say? Rant? Rave? Hit up.