Microsoft Surface. It is the new technology announced by MS this evening. It looks cool. It looks gimmicky. It looks like it is some serious beta technology. I can’t really see people making room for a coffee table sized computer in their home anytime soon, but perhaps as installations at bars and coffee shops, as their introductory videos show. I have a feeling that the main problems are going to be (1) usability and (2) real-world situations. I can zoom photos and look at maps. Cool. Can I easily compose email? Not so much. Can I use a browser? Probably not without some weird, non-intuitive UI gestures (for example–how do I specify I want to open in a new tab/window versus in the current window.) As for real-world situations, I see a few issues. Will it take the “sweat” condensation from a cold drink? Will a warm drink cause the underlying LCD’s colors to go weird? Is it impervious to taggers scratching their nicks into the glass with a knife or the pointy end of a compass? What about at home? It shows children digitally finger-painting on the surface, but what happens when they attack it with real paint?
So while I like the idea of the technology and its use, I have to take it with a very large salt-lick. It won’t be ready for prime time for a very, very long time.