Microsoft's 40-inch "Surface" Priced at $8,400, Available for Pre-order
November 17, 2011 11:42 AM
comment(s) - last by
The SUR40, as a wall hanging device
Surface is primarily targeted at education, business users for table, hanging, and kiosk installations
Microsoft Corp.'s (
) Surface multi-touch computer was first
presented to the public in May 2007
, more than a year before Apple, Inc. (
rewarded a patent for multi-touch gestures
. It launched in
prototype form in April 2008
, a full two years before the
market launch of the iPad
But the device is
(dubbed the "SUR40"), and you can buy one for the lowly price of $8,400 USD (roughly 17 10-inch iPads).
I. SUR40 Hardware and Software
That's actually about what you'd expect if you considered the LCD the driving factor on price and assumed linear scaling in cost per square inch. You get roughly 685 in
out of the 40-inch (diagonal) 1,920x1,080 (16:9) display, compared to 45 in
for the iPad's 1024x768 (4:3) 9.7-inch display. The display features an 8 ms response time and 300 cd/m
The packaging and device display are manufactured by South Korea's Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (
). The device without a stand measures 109.5x10.25x70.74 cm (43.11x4.04x27.85 in.) and weighs 39.5 kg (87.1 lb).
an AMD Athlon X2 Dual-Core 245e (2.9GHz), a 45 watt (low power)
processor which debuted in May 2010. The GPU is also provided by AMD and is an AMD HD6750M, a low-power mobile GPU that
performs roughly between an NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA) GeForce GT 540M and GT 550M.
The system draws 230 W (by Microsoft's estimate) when fully loaded and 2 watts when in standby. There's 4 GB of DDR3 onboard; 320 GB of SATA2-connected storage; 1 HDMI port; 4 USB 2.0 ports (what no USB 3.0 love?); and the standard 100/1000 ethernet jack.
The operating system du jour is Windows 7, with the Surface 2.0 software built on top of it (Surface 1.0: Vista; Surface 2.0: Windows 7). This is an identical configuration to the model
showed off at CES 2011
. Microsoft offers a Surface SDK, allowing third party app makers to develop commercial solutions and businesses to develop internal touch-software.
II. Target Audience
Prices vary slightly outside the U.S. A Microsoft spokeswoman explains, "The Samsung SUR40 will be distributed via the Samsung distribution channel and the estimated street price will be $8,400 in the U.S. for the base unit. Outside of the U.S., pricing will vary based on country-specific duties, taxes and fees."
At the price point Microsoft is clearly targeting the device primarily at business and educational users, though a few cash-endowed enthusiasts may jump at the novelty of owning the world's biggest multi-touch device. Microsoft's press release suggest the device can be displayed as a table (perhaps in a lobby or meeting room); as a wall-hanging device; or even in an angle kiosk enclosure.
Microsoft sees the Surface as the ideal collaborative business device. [Source: Microsoft]
The device is available for preorder in:
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Korea, the Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States
Microsoft suggests it already has received deployment promises from multiple interested business, writing:
Automotive, education, finance, healthcare, hospitality, and retail are just some of the industries that will soon be able to take advantage of Samsung SUR40’s PixelSense technology, new, sleeker form factor and horizontal and vertical orientation options. Many new and existing customers, such as Aéroports de Paris, Dassault Aviation, Fujifilm Corp. and Royal Bank of Canada, have big plans for the Samsung SUR40 and are preparing to deploy units in locations early next year.
The ship date was not announced by Microsoft.
Microsoft small-screen tablets will
debut in earnest with Windows 8
, which launches late next year. They will
pack the Metro UI
, Microsoft's GUI of choice for small mobile devices.
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RE: So disappointed.
11/17/2011 10:25:32 PM
The CPU and GPU is pretty much already outdated, to get the power to track that many people in the demo I would bet that it will require more horsepower and graphics, of course upgrading would be insignificant compared to the initial price.
RE: So disappointed.
11/17/2011 10:58:46 PM
Not necessarily. If hardware/software is purpose build for that specific task then they can optimize it much better than a general use PC. There are many cases where limited horsepower can still go a long way if the device is made for that specific purpose. Look at turnkey editing or compositing systems from ten years ago, the hardware is ancient but they are still totally useful and viable today because the hardware and software were made for that purpose. Consoles are another obvious example, something like the PS2 cranked out visuals in 2007 that a 1999 PC would choke on. Again, optimized and targeted platform.
A general use platform like the PC where the OS isn't being optimized towards very specific hardware and is running all kinds of background processes that aren't necessarily in use benefits from more horsepower. The Surface is made specifically for what was in the demo, so you can bet that all the processing power is geared towards that.
RE: So disappointed.
11/18/2011 10:43:01 AM
But it isn't.
They just took the guts out of a laptop, plugged in a big display, and loaded the Surface UI layer just like Metro will be sitting on top of Win8. I imagine the Win7 install is otherwise completely stock, meaning that all of the usual Windows overhead is going on behind Surface. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see the little popup notifiers interupting Surface when Windows updates are being offered.
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