Microsoft announced its next generation of the Surface touch table at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.
The software giant invited WinRumors to take a closer look at the new Surface earlier today. Microsoft’s new Surface is built in partnership with Samsung and will ship later this year to 23 countries around the world. Samsung is pricing the product at $7,600 base price. “We had a great collaboration with them” said Microsoft Senior Director, Chip Wood, who demonstrated the product to WinRumors on Friday.
The samsung SUR40 is made up of an AMD Athlon 2.9GHz dual core processor, 4GB RAM, 320GB HDD, AMD Radeon HD 6750 GPU and a 40″ HD LCD display. The display at the heart of the Surface 2 allows for more than 50 points of contacts and is coated in Gorilla Glass for protection. Microsoft has worked hard with Samsung to ensure the product is suitable for use in locations such as night clubs, bars and food outlets. Although the unit is not “water proof”, both Samsung and Microsoft worked to create drain channels on the device for instances when liquid hits the unit.
The major step forward on two fronts with the new Surface is that it runs Windows 7 and is only 4″ thick. Surface 2 operates using Embedded Windows 7 Professional 64-bit which allows application developers to quickly and seamlessly move their touch application to and from the Surface and Windows 7 PCs. The Surface 2 also responds to objects using optical tag recognition and the ability to read objects using Microsoft’s new PixelSense technology. PixelSense is a proprietary Microsoft technology developed by the company over the past few years. An infrared and optical sensor powers every display pixel and gives an LCD display the power to recognize fingers, hands and objects placed on the screen. As a result there’s over a million sensors in the device seeing what’s on the screen. The new technology allows objects to be scanned by the display and the information immediately processed and interpreted. The technology is extremely impressive and Microsoft demonstrated a range of scenarios where application developers and retailers could advantage of it.
Microsoft’s first batch of customers include Red Bull, Royal Bank of Canada, Fuji Film, Dassault Aviation and Sheraton Hotels and Resorts. Microsoft demonstrated the Red Bull application to WinRumors and showed how cans of Red Bull react with the screen. Red Bull uses a Microsoft Tag to recognize each can and can also react to the shape of each can.
Royal Bank of Canada has also been trying out the new Surface. It has distributed a number of flyers to customers inviting them into a local branch. The invite asks customers to come into their bank and put the flyer down onto Surface and see what happens. Some customers will win a $100 visa gift card. The Royal Bank of Canada is impressed with the response to Microsoft Surface. The bank has seen a 10% response rate to the flyers compared to a typical direct mail response rate of between 1 to 3%. The software giant has seen a great interest in the new Surface since the announcement on Wednesday. “Since that release has come out we’ve had meetings with a variety of other companies,” said the Microsoft’s Chip Wood demonstrating the new unit. “A whole bunch of folks have come out and said ‘let me see this I gotta touch this, I gotta check it out’. Major advertising agencies, other hotel chains, different transportation companies, a whole bunch of excitement about it.”
Microsoft is clearly onto a winner with the new Surface 2 and in time the technology will only get smarter, thinner and cheaper. The excitement generated by the product is similar to that of Kinect for Xbox 360. The software maker expects to see the new Surface 2 devices in a range of different retailers across the world later this year and expects the excitement will continue. Check out our full hands on video below to see the Surface 2 in action.