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May 31, 2007 – Microsoft made headlines across the tech industry at yesterday’s Wall Street Journal’s D: All Things Digital conference, where the computing giant unveiled new display technology, simply known as the "Surface." The Microsoft Surface is a tabletop computer that uses gesture technology to interact with digital information, including photos. The Surface will be used in hotels, retailers, and restaurants by the end of the year.
"With Surface, we are creating more intuitive ways for people to interact with technology," said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in a company press release. "We see this as a multibillion dollar category, and we envision a time when surface computing technologies will be pervasive, from tabletops and counters to the hallway mirror. Surface is the first step in realizing that vision."
The 30-inch display allows users to view and move information with the touch screen monitor without the use of a mouse or keyboard. Surface’s photo application allows users to sort and organize pictures with the option to delete and zoom. The Surface allows for multiple users to surround it, making for coffee table-type interaction.
The Surface also includes object recognition and can read bar codes. It will soon be at Harrah’s Entertainment in Las Vegas, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, and T-Mobile retail stores. While the technology is being released first in public spaces, Microsoft stated that the Surface could later be used in the home.
"Many features available in mobile phones, PCs and other electronic devices like digital cameras aren’t even used because the technology is intimidating," said Microsoft Corporate Vice President Tom Gibbons of Productivity and Extended Consumer Experiences Group in a separate release. "Surface computing breaks down those traditional barriers to technology so that people can interact with all kinds of digital content in a more intuitive, engaging and efficient manner. It’s about technology adapting to the user, rather than the user adapting to the technology."