Microsoft Surface is vapourware, the Courier too?

Microsoft Courier concept allows objects to be placed on the surface and identified.

What is the measure of a man’s imagination? The things he dreams about or the things he invents and delivers after being inspired by those dreams?

Microsoft has always been a visionary company, dreaming ‘Big’ and talking ‘Big’ but do they turn those dreams into reality? Every engineer’s invention looks great on paper with diagrams and schematics visualizing an exciting product. But if the prototype has been in development for five years, is it time to extinguish that dream and stop making false promises to the industry?

The Microsoft home surface which is codenamed ‘Milan’ will allow digital content to be manipulated with multiple hand gestures.
Sliding your fingers across the surface, documents can be moved, folders can be scrolled and all sorts of input can be entered into a multi-touch screen.

Witnessing the Surface in action is apparently remarkable. Like a David Copperfield illusion combined with a computer from a futuristic Starship, all rolled into one. It was incredible to see Mark Bolger, the Surface Computing group’s marketing director, “dip” his finger in an on-screen paint palette, then drag it across the screen to draw a smiley face. Then he used all ten fingers simultaneously to give the face a full head of hair. It’s a great piece of technology. It’s a Windows PC inside a table with a large screen on top and a camera system that can sense activities and interactions on screen. Microsoft is targeting restaurants, hotels, retail, public entertainment venues and the military for tactical overviews with their under development Surface device.

It seemed that the geniuses at Redmond were at the brink of releasing something that would turn the computing industry and our perception of these machines on top of their heads. Sadly after five years in development it shows no signs of being available in ordinary households. Whether that’s poor research and development or pathetic marketing is anyone’s guess. Instead what consumers are getting is another operating system. The costs of manufacturing such a product are reasonable for the average household to be able to afford and finally replace that old coffee table.

Interacting with the Surface, and the depth of the level of that interaction is truly powerful stuff. If this device had been ready to ship to markets it would have been fusing man and machine. Now that would have been power extreme. Let’s cross our fingers that the same thing doesn’t happen with Microsoft’s response to Apple’s iPad – the Courier.


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7 Comments

  1. Ginda_ersigit says:

    WAW… amazing. its the best i like it.

  2. contextfree says:

    Surface obviously isn’t vaporware, since it exists and you can buy one now (if you have more money than you know what to do with), but it’s kind of remarkable that it’s been, what, 2-3 years? and the price is still the same as at launch. I’m wondering what the obstacles to cheaper production are, or is it a market stratification thing?

  3. Rulerr says:

    The surface is not vaporware. Expensive? yes. But I can order one for my home right now, if I had 12 grand to blow. This article is not just poorly titled, it’s as if the author is saying whatever they want just to get reads.

  4. Kevin says:

    A very misleading article title. Should be modified to say “home Surface”.

    ATT was the first Surface customer back in 2008, putting one in their main stores to compare phones with.

    Since then, the Surface has been deployed in many restaurants, hotels, casinos.

  5. Egnat says:

    vapourware? the surface is a bit much existing to be “vapourware” … it was never microsofts intend to have one in every household … at least not in the near future… of course i would like to have one… no doubt… but to be honest: there are still lots of people who think online games are the main thing they can use their computers for so innovative products as surface still will be a niche-product for at least some more years…

  6. Geek says:

    I would like to speak on behalf of the unsung hero of the past 70 years, the KEYBOARD. Since the invention of the type writer and through the evolution and revolution of the computer, the keyboard has been the friendly surface that has worked perfectly converting finger strokes into words. What did the keyboard do wrong? Accordingly to apple everything. You are being lead to believe you don’t need the response of your friend to tell your fingers they are working, a flat surface will suit you wrong. Well, forgive me but this is one technological innovation that I will not buy. I-Pad, I don’t thinks so.

  7. The Surface has been available commercially since April 2008. The issue is cost – originally when released it was US$12,500 each, I don’t know many people who would pay that for a computerized coffee table. If you have the money go and get it for your house. It’s one thing to spend 5 years developing a great product, another thing to make it cost effective so consumers will buy it.

    That being said Microsoft originally said they expected by 2010 prices would start coming down so it may start reaching consumers.

    The SURFACE is a great device, and having used one, I certainly wish I had one, but have to wait for the price to drop quite a lot!

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