In its latest bid to revolutionize the computer industry, Microsoft has introduced Surface, a touch-screen computer that resembles a “digital table” and will initially be used for commercial purposes, including restaurants, hotels, retail outlets and other venues.
The product is on its way near the end of this year, with a price tag between $5,000 and $10,000, the AP reported.
Unlike most touch-screen computers, the 30-inch screen of the Surface is capable of responding to multiple touches simultaneously. It can also recognize certain bar codes and credit cards, and enable “drawing” with the user’s fingertips. The system also allows the resizing and e-mailing of photographs, and can recognize those downloaded to wi-fi cameras. Microsoft already has partnerships for the Surface with Sheraton Hotels, Harrah’s, and T-Mobile, with more certain to come.
The new product was unveiled Wednesday at a Carlsbad, Calif., technology conference. Microsoft founder Bill Gates also appeared on NBC’s “Today” show Wednesday and demonstrated the product.
The Surface represents more of a move into hardware than Microsoft has typically made, as the software giant did not partner with any other company to create the hardware. It was developed by the same Microsoft division, the AP said, as the Zune and Xbox 360, two other recently released hardware products carrying the Microsoft name.