BEIJING, May 31 (Xinhuanet) -- Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday at a technology conference in Carlsbad, Calif., introduced "Surface," a coffee-table shaped computer that responds to touch and special bar codes attached to everyday objects.
Microsoft¡¯s new "surface" computer is demonstrated by Pete Thompson, general manager, Microsoft Surface Computing (left), Mark Bolger, director of marketing, and product manager Lu Silverstein, in Seattle
The interactive computers, which cost between 5,000 U.S. dollars and 10,000 dollars, are due to arrive in November in T-Mobile USA stores and properties owned by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. and Harrah's Entertainment Inc.
For all intents and purposes, Surface is a Windows Vista PC tucked inside a shiny black table base, topped with a 30-inch touchscreen in a clear acrylic frame. Five cameras that can sense nearby objects are mounted beneath the screen. Users can interact with the machine by touching or dragging their fingertips and objects such as paintbrushes across the screen, or by setting real-world items tagged with special bar-code labels on top of it.
In the past, Microsoft has concentrated on creating new software, giving computer programmers tools to build applications on its platforms, and left hardware manufacturing to others.
But for now, Microsoft is making the Surface hardware itself, and has only given six outside software development firms the tools they need to make Surface applications.
Matt Rosoff, an analyst at the independent research group Directions on Microsoft, said in an interview that keeping the technology's inner workings under wraps will limit what early customers -- the businesses Microsoft is targeting first with the machine -- will be able to do with it.