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.


2 Comments Microsoft Surface / Not For Us Normal Folk

  1. eric May 30, 2007 at 2:49 PM


  2. matt June 4, 2007 at 9:16 AM

    while we do laugh as microsoft stumbles from marketing to blunder to marketing blunder, we also have to remember one essential thing: they have more money than god. while the first iteration of their products never work–they are either aimed at the wrong market group, are built like crap, or have the computing power of your grandmother’s sewing machine–the fifth iteration will run well, hit the target market segment, and be compatible–in a buggy kind of way–with every other microsoft product out there. they can afford to make these mistakes. for example, i give you the original x-box. the first one sucked,had crappy games, and hit 10% in the market. however, now we see kids waiting in line for the x-box 360 shipments. just give them the time to bring the pricepoint down on this item, and you may one day own a console allowing you to push away the files currently not in use, physically drag-and-drop pieces of art from one places to another, and topographically re-arrange designs or layers on any piece you are working on.

    i think the amazing thing about the entire microsoft consumer-product-line process is really its juxtaposition to apple’s, which designs well the first time around, and manages to market so well as to have created a consumer icon with over 90% market share.

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