Microsoft Surface: The computer as your living room table

Microsoft Surface is a new table that lets you perform everyday computer functions on its surface.

Microsoft unveils it today at the D:All Things Digital Conference, and says it will change the way we interact with computers. It lets the computer become a piece of furniture. You can walk into a coffee house, order a drink upon it. You can drop your camera upon it, and a WiFi card can connect to the table’s computer and download your photos on it. You can then use your fingers to expand the photos right there on its screen.

The surface is 30-inch display, and its touch-screen responds to the hands of anyone sitting around it. Under it is an Internet connected computer with a Widows Vista operating system, powered by an Intel chip. An image projector shines images onto a clear acrylic tabletop.

See the demos of it here. You can do things like tap on it, and have a menu come up, transfer the images on the screen and send them as email. The possibilities are numerous. It will cost $5,000 to $10,000 at first. It took five years to make. On first glance, this product has a practical feel to it — and at a price point that should save it from becoming another white elephant.

Dean Takahashi of the Mercury News has more details.

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