Microsoft Unveils 40" Coffee Table-Sized Tablet PC

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft is launching a tablet computer that isn't quite your average slate. What the Surface SUR40 lacks in portability, it makes up for with its 40-inch HD touch-screen.

The price hasn't yet been confirmed, but rumors place it somewhere between $8,400 and $15,000. Wherever it falls in that range, the device is clearly not going to be a popular consumer product.

Instead, the Surface SUR40 is expected to appeal primarily to business users and agencies involved in such sectors as education and healthcare. Microsoft says both FujiFilm and the Royal Bank of Canada plan to be among the first customers. (Source:

Microsoft 40" Touchscreen in Development Since 2007

Microsoft produced the first working model of the device in 2007, and has placed some preliminary versions for use in Las Vegas casinos.

The newest model, manufactured in association with Samsung, is set for wider distribution. It is currently available for pre-order in 23 countries, and will ship early next year.

While the Surface SUR40 is designed primarily for tabletop use, it's just four inches thick. That will allow it to be wall-mounted in the same way as a flat-screen television.

The SUR40 has a 1,920 by 1,080 pixel progressive scan display (a standard resolution for Blu-Ray playback), so it's classified as fully high definition.

The computer that drives the display runs a combination of Windows 7 and dedicated software, with 320GB of storage, 4GB memory and the usual PC connections.

Specially-Designed LCD Screen at Heart of Technology

One major change from the original design: the 2007 model had gesture recognition aided by cameras.

The newest model uses a specially designed LCD screen that can recognize up to fifty different touch points at the same time. This capability should make it suitable for applications involving multiple users. The screen can also recognize objects placed on it, not just fingers.

Although Microsoft has released special tools for developers to produce new applications to run on the Surface SUR40, there's a danger the device will see an early demise.

At its proposed price, most of its potential buyers may be interested in using it for very specific purposes that will require dedicated applications. That said, developers may not put much effort into providing software for the system until it attracts a larger user base. (Source:

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