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Microsoft tablet to be "no thicker than sheet of glass"

Microsoft Surface

By Barry Collins

Posted on 14 Sep 2010 at 08:05

Microsoft will deliver a touchscreen PC that is "no thicker than a sheet of glass" within the next three years, according to the company's principal researcher.

The tablet will be the next generation of Microsoft's Surface technology. Launched in 2007, the touchscreen Surface cabinet uses cameras and image recognition software to identify hand gestures and objects placed on top of the screen.

These things will come in at really cost effective prices and will start appearing in people’s living rooms

Microsoft's principal researcher Bill Buxton claims the next generation of Surface will be radically thinner. "Right now it [surface] has five cameras in it and a projector and a bunch of other stuff," Buxton said in an interview with The Globe and Mail.

"What will happen is that Surface will become no thicker than a sheet of glass. It’s not going to have any cameras or projectors because the cameras will be embedded in the device itself."

Buxton claims Microsoft is developing a new type of screen technology to make the miniaturisation possible. "The best way to think about it is like a big LCD where there’s a fourth pixel in every triad. So there’s red, green, and blue pixels giving you light, and a fourth pixel which is a sensor that will capture stuff."

Buxton claims that, before long, the new slimmed-down Surface could be a fixture in people's homes. "What I predict is that sooner than you’d expect — but longer than I want — these things will come in at really cost effective prices and will start appearing in people’s living rooms, dining rooms, game rooms, and so on and so forth."

"I believe you will see that in three years," he added.

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User comments

So why does "Surface" need a £10,000 table?

Apple produces the iPad and Microsoft offers a table.
It would be nice to see something thinner..

By cheysuli on 14 Sep 2010

Is that comment supposed to be some kind of strange joke cheysuli, or did you just not bother to read the article before leaving your mark?

By Mr_John_T on 14 Sep 2010

within the next three years....

The link from the main page omits this.

By Lacrobat on 14 Sep 2010

..and it'll cost a lot more than an iPad

Just because it's flat doesn't make it a competitor to the iPad; that's all down to the market niche and I can't see consumers (or many companies) needing a megalithic (but thin) Computerised Table.

I suppose it's stage one of the Microsoft House project...

By SwissMac on 14 Sep 2010

In three years time

In three years time we'll all be driving flying cars, eating space food and wearing silver suits.

By red3dwarf on 14 Sep 2010

I want a large flat slate, it would be ideal for a playing surface for many board games, war games.

The key issue will be price.

By Ulfarus on 14 Sep 2010

@red3dwarf

Precisely!!! What a waste of my life this article is.

By richbloke on 15 Sep 2010

How about releasing one? Just say this is what we have created, it will be available to buy in a month. Instead we get words about what they'll create in three years time and will can the idea anyway.

By TimoGunt on 15 Sep 2010

What about the rest of it....

Ok the screen will glass thin, but the battery, the electronics etc?

By russv1 on 16 Sep 2010

Why the table- explained

The reason the surface (currently) needs a table, is that it works entirely differently from the iPad. It is a projector and a camera, allowing it to interact with objects on or above it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8LUqJ47g4o

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plyIbK_gCqM

As for the 'sheet of glass', this is marketing speak. The current sheet on the surface is about the thickness of an iMac, so I'll believe they can make it as thick as just the current glass, without the table (which is still really cool tho)

By jasperwinkel on 16 Sep 2010

I INVENTED THAT !!!

I sent the concept for Surface to APPLE in their suggestion box.

APPLE and MS have a technology sharing agreement.

The 4th pixel idea has ALREADY been patented by APPLE !

MS SUCKS !!!

By MACchine on 16 Sep 2010

I INVENTED THAT !!!

I sent the concept for Surface to APPLE in their suggestion box.

APPLE and MS have a technology sharing agreement.

The 4th pixel idea has ALREADY been patented by APPLE !

MS SUCKS !!!

By MACchine on 16 Sep 2010

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