Microsoft Surface / Not For Us Normal Folk

Microsoft Surface / Not For Us Normal Folk

I woke up this morning and headed over to Digg, seeing that Microsoft’s Surface was announced. Honestly, my first reaction to seeing the videos was, why the hell do we even need this? Basically, you sit at an old Pong machine that has this crazy touch screen, and you can click and doodle on it. It’s like an advanced form of Mario Paint! I just don’t get it.
I’m slightly with obsessed good design, and to me this falls into the category of useless electronics. I don’t care if it makes cool ring effects around your drinks while you’re eating out, or that you can look at all the cute pictures of your kids. That’s not a reason to own or even CREATE this kind of technology.

To start with, the controls aren’t aren’t that exciting or innovative, especially after seeing a certain Apple keynote speech not too long ago.
Reading the FAQ on the Surface site, I noticed that the ‘Pong Machine’ doesn’t actually use haptic (or touch screen) controls like the iPhone does. What it does have, is a bunch of motion sensing cameras inside with a rear-projection screen. This may not make that big of a difference, but I wonder if it could become a problem in the future with dust on lenses or having to change a bulb? Here’s a video Gizmodo posted showing the inside of the beast.

One interesting thing to note are the partners that Microsoft is working with.

So they’ve picked a Harrah’s, which own’s over 30 casinos in the United States, IGT, which is “the foremost supplier of gaming machines and gaming monitoring systems in the world”, Sheraton Hotels, a brand of Starwood Hotels who has over “860 hotels in 95 countries”, and finally T-Mobile, the mobile network operator.
Seeing that list makes me think that we’re only going to see these things in Las Vegas, Reno, and Atlantic City, or a bunch of fancy restaurants who’d rather try and impress customers with they’re fancy ordering machines instead of the food they make. These things are being made for normal people like you and me, they’re being made for corporations and large businesses looking for a new schtick. This is also clearly evident in the rumored $10,000 a piece price tag. That iPhone isn’t looking so pricey anymore, is it?

In Steve Ballmer’s keynote speech, the interviewer flat out asks him:

Is there a concern that it doesn’t have staying power? That it’s not just a novelty?

It’s a Vista PC, so it’s multifunctional… flexible for partners.

Translation: When this shit doesn’t work out like we say it will, your kid can use Word on it type up their report about the Oregon Trail.


May 30, 2007