Windows 8 is out, and Microsoft’s been pushing its own hardware dubbed Surface to highlight the best its tablet-friendly OS has to offer. When Surface was first announced, Microsoft detailed two different models: one running Windows RT and another with Windows 8 Pro. Surface for Windows RT was released into the marketplace the same day as Windows 8–on October 26. Surface for Windows 8 Pro would be saved for a later date.
We still don’t have a specific release date for the more powerful Surface, but this week Microsoft did announce pricing. As expected, the slate running Win8 Pro is pricier than its WinRT sibling (which starts at $499). Surface for Win8 Pro starts at $899 for the 64GB model; a second option with 128GB of storage space will go for $999. Microsoft is calling these “standalone versions” since they do not come bundled with an attachable keyboard cover. The Touch Cover and Type Cover sell separately for $119.99 and $129.99, respectively.
So you want to know the differences. Let’s start with software. As explained in a previous post, Windows RT runs off ARM processors and does not support legacy applications made for Windows 7, Vista, XP, and so on. RT will only run apps downloaded from the Windows Store. Windows 8 Pro, on the other hand, supports x86 processors and will run all legacy apps just fine. What makes this version of Windows 8 “Pro” are its enhanced security features including BitLocker encryption.
Moving onto the hardware side of things, Surface running Win8 Pro packs a more powerful processor with Intel’s third-gen Core i5 chip, double the RAM at 4GB, a higher resolution 1920×1080 full HD display, a faster USB 3.0 port, a Mini DisplayPort that can enable an external display up to 2560X1440 resolution, a larger 42 W-h battery, and it supports pen input. It ships with a pen and display tech called Palm Block that “prevent[s] your handwriting from getting interrupted if you accidentally place your palm on the screen as you write.” This enhanced Surface boasts the same 10.6-inch screen size, but its body is bigger and its weight heavier; it measures 10.81 x 6.81 x 0.53in (compared to Surface for WinRT: 10.81 x 6.77 x 0.37in) and it weighs half a pound more at 2lbs.
So there you have it. Surface for Windows 8 Pro is coming in January. Keep your eyes peeled at Microsoft’s portal, and when the release date becomes apparent you’ll know.
Three years after Microsoft’s last major OS release the next one is out of the bag. As of 12:01AM on October 26 the next version of Windows was let loose into the wild. Windows 8 is an entirely new OS, built from the ground up supporting touch input and a new Start screen that borrows its Live Tile look from Microsoft’s foray into the mobile smartphone space. Though the new OS begs to be touched, it has been proven to work just as well with the typical mice and keyboard setup. PC manufacturers like Dell, HP, Acer, and Lenovo are already selling devices running Windows 8 from desktops to laptops to tablets and convertibles.
This release marks the first time Microsoft is selling hardware of their own to promote it. Surface for Windows RT is out now, and Surface for Windows 8 Pro is coming soon. In case you don’t know the difference, Windows RT runs off ARM processors and does not support legacy applications made for Windows 7, Vista, XP, and so on. RT will only run apps downloaded from the Windows Store, open today. If your needs require such older apps, you’ll have to opt for the Pro version which does support x86 processors and apps designed with that chipset in mind. In a nutshell, Windows RT devices pack small ARM processors that allow for more compact, lighter PC designs and extended battery life; legacy apps won’t run. Windows Pro devices use x86 processors and these PC designs are typically thicker and heavier; legacy apps will run.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer shared his excitement for the latest software release in a press statement: ”We have reimagined Windows and the result is a stunning lineup of new PCs. Windows 8 brings together the best of the PC and the tablet. It works perfect for work and play and it is alive with your world. Every one of our customers will find a PC that they will absolutely love.”
To get Windows 8 today you have a couple options: you can either download it from Windows.com for $39.99 or purchase a physical copy for $69.99. Click here for more. There’s also a Windows Upgrade Offer available if you purchase a Windows 7 PC. Check that out here. Order a Surface here.
In addition to the PR, you’ll also find a couple videos after the break. Bill Gates talks Windows 8 and Surface in the first, and if you’re excited about this release as I am you’ll allot about an hour to watch the Windows 8 launch event hosted by Microsoft’s Steven Sinofsky with an appearence by Steve Ballmer.
Happy Windows 8 Day! (Click here for more…)
With Microsoft’s next iteration of Windows on the horizon, the company has decided to go head-t0-head with its longtime industry competitor Apple by introducing its very own tablet. Though Microsoft is best known for its software, it has developed hardware over the years including innovative mice and keyboards. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made this case: “Much like Windows 1.0 needed the mouse to complete the experience, we wanted to give Windows 8 its own companion hardware innovation.” Meet Surface. And no, the company is not referring to its bulky, pricey multitouch Surface table; this is a brand new line of tablets running Windows 8.
Currently the new Surface family consists of two devices and two covers. Surface for Windows RT is powered by an NVIDIA-based ARM chip. It is 9.3mm thick and weighs 676 grams. It packs a 10.6-inch ClearType capacitive multitouch display, front and rear-facing cameras, a 31.5Wh battery,USB 2.0, microSD, and Micro HD Video ports, and 2×2 MIMO antennae for “the best WiFi performance possible” no matter how you hold it.
Surface for Windows Pro is powered by an Intel Core i5 Ivy Bridge processor. It is slightly thicker and heavier than the RT model measuring at 13.5mm thick and weighing 903 grams. It too packs a 10.6-inch optically-bonded ClearType capacitive multitouch widescreen 16:9 display, but this one outputs full 1080p HD. Front and rear-facing cameras are present, as is a larger 42Wh battery, speedier USB 3.0, microSDXC, Mini DisplayPort, and 2×2 MIMO antennae. Surface for Windows Pro supports digital inking and comes with a magnetic stylus that sticks to the side of the device when it’s not in use. Built into the display are sensors that detect when you’re using the pen versus your finger on the touch display. The display won’t trip out when you’re drawing with the stylus while your palm rests elsewhere on the screen; Microsoft calls it Palm Blocking.
What the two models share is an extremely durable design Microsoft calls VaporMg (pronounced Vapor-Mag). Surface is the first PC with a full magnesium case. Described as “incredibly strong yet airy,” Surface boasts a permanent search and ware-resistant design and the display has a protective layer of Corning’s Gorilla Glass 2.0. Edges are beveled away at 22 degrees “so the PC itself fades into the background.” The design makes room for a built-in kickstand that morphs the tablet into a functional laptop. And every laptop needs a keyboard and trackpad… (Click here for more…)
I’m sure you’ve heard of (and maybe even interacted with) Microsoft’s Surface. It’s a multitouch table that can be found in banks, hotels, and AT&T stores. An example of its function: at an AT&T store you can place down two smartphones and the table will recognize their presence and provide with specifications and features to help you make a purchasing decision. Surface is known for its multitouch and object recognition capabilities. This week at CES 2011 Microsoft detailed the next generation Surface dubbed “Surface 2.0 Experience.” Building on top of the original Surface functionality, the new experience features PixelSense technology, “which gives LCD panels the power to see without the use of cameras.” Microsoft explains, “PixelSense gives an LCD display the power to recognize fingers, hands and objects placed on the screen, including more than 50 simultaneous touch points. With PixelSense, pixels in the display see what’s touching the screen and that information is immediately processed and interpreted.” For instance, in addition to recognizing touch inputs like your fingers, Surface can now “see” things that touch the screen. For example, if you placed a piece of paper with the words “Hello, world” printed on it on top of the Surface display, the software will recognize and interpret the letters instantly. In a word, Surface has become smarter.
Microsoft has collaborated with Samsung to create the next physical Surface table called “SUR40.” Table specs: 40-inch 1920×1080 HD multitouch display, 2.9GHz AMD Athlon II X2 dual core processor with AMD Radeon HD 6700M Series GPU. And now that the table comes in a thinner form factor (it’s four inches thin) customers can mount the table onto a wall if the space calls for it. Otherwise, standard or custom table legs can be designed and requested.
At $7,600 the Surface is still geared toward business customers and not the general consuming public. Companies like Dassault Aviation, Fujifilm Corp., Red Bull GmbH, Royal Bank of Canada, and Sheraton Hotels & Resorts have expressed their interest in developing custom software for the Surface and deploying it at their respective locations. SUR40 will be available “later in 2011″ in 23 countries around the world. Look after the break for official PR and a video demonstration of the new Surface experience in action.
Microsoft Research is back, and this time they are bringing a new technology to the table (hehe) that’s going to eliminate any desire you might have had to purchase an exuberantly priced Microsoft Surface.
LightSpace combines elements of surface computing and augmented reality research to create a highly interactive space where any surface, and even the space between surfaces, is fully interactive. Our concept transforms the ideas of surface computing into the new realm of spatial computing.
In essense LightSpace rips out the multiple depth 3D cameras and projectors from their secret cove beneath a table and places them up in the ceiling. In effect, this means that all Surface user interfaces and features can be displayed on virtually any flat surface; the actual Surface table is no longer required. You’re going to want to watch the video demonstration above; some of the LightSpace applications are quite extraordinary. In one example the Microsoft researcher “picks up” an object located on a table projection and transfers it in his hand to a second wall display. It’s drag-and-drop IRL. Now remember, this is a Microsoft Research project so there’s no telling how long it’s going to cook in the labs before it makes its away to the general public (if ever).
Microsoft Research is back with a new way to interact with their Surface multitouch table.
Manual Deskterity is a prototype digital drafting table that supports both pen and touch input. We explore a division of labor between pen and touch that flows from natural human skill and differentiation of roles of the hands. We also explore the simultaneous use of pen and touch to support novel compound gestures.
The combination of pen and touch input makes for a wide range of gestures like holding, tapping, dragging, and crossing that can be used in ways you likely have never seen before. Check it out in the video demonstation above. I smell a hint of Courier here.
Impress flexible display, designed by Silke Hilsing.
German designer Silke Hilsing created an interactive “flexible” display using Arduino and sensors. How does it work? Simple really: Sensors are sandwiched in-between layers of foam; when you touch the foam surface this triggers the sensors to turn on and communicate with an overhead projector which displays a beam of lights onto the surface from above. The surface can “feel” the level of intensity as you push down on it with your hand; the harder you push, more information (colors, light, text) is displayed. The motivation behind this concept? ”…to remove the technical stiffness from touch screens, bring the technology closer to the user by making it more human.” Interesting…
We’ve seen multitouch surface tables before, but never have we seen them quite as stylish and visually attractive as the Touchy Remix from Intactlab. Being heralded as “the marriage of precision engineering and quality design” the Touchy Remix was designed to support and enhance collaboration with surface computing. Its minimalistic and curvy shape attracts people to sit around it, unlike the boxy Microsoft Surface-esque tables that come off as uninviting. It’s made from a fiberglass shell built around an aluminum chassis. Though its design is most prominent, I’ll share some internal notes with you: it features a 40″ WXGA (720p HD) internal projection screen and runs custom software from Intactlab that comes preloaded onto an integrated Mac mini; there’s four USB ports and a dock for an iPod. See additional pictures below and a demo video of it in use after the break.
Microsoft Surface learns a new trick with the Lumino Project. Surface has always been able to recognize physical objects when they are placed down. With the newly constructed (and still being tested) Lumino blocks, Surface can recognize when a number of blocks are stacked on top of each other, and these various three dimensional orientations can correspond with different outcomes. Watch the video above to see examples. Though these examples may seem juvenile at the moment (re: checkers), the researchers can see this kind of technology being implemented in the future by architects and engineers.
The Evolce ONE features a 47-inch full high definition LCD multitouch display and can recognize an unlimited number of touch points. It also has haptic feedback. It can run Windows 7 and it is compatable with all of 7′s multi-touch capabilities. Check out an additional hands-on video after the break, as well as the official press release.
Ideum’s 100-inch multitouch table has 86 viewable inches, a 16 x 5 aspect ratio, and a 2,304 x 800 resolution. The coolest feature? It supports 50 simultaneous touch points; most surface tables like these can only recognize a few touch points. It also has the ability to show images in radio, microwave, infrared, visibile, ultraviolet, x-ray, and gamma rays. It currently sits at Space Chase Gallery at the Adventure Science Center.
Virtual Autopsy Table. Developed by Norrköping Visualization Centre with CMIV.
Have a look at the inside of a human being. In this installation, with the help of an easy to use multi touch interface, the user can freely interact with stunning volumetric 3D datasets of real scanned human bodies.
The datasets in this demo have been created with state of the art techniques within medical imaging; Dual Energy Computed Tomography. The data has been imported straight from the scanners and has not been edited or modified before rendering, what you see is not a 3D model, it’s a full volumetric description of a human body.
The visualization techniques used in this table is already utilized successfully as a compliment to the conventional autopsy. Apart from avoiding cutting in the body the medical experts, such as coroners, can see things that are difficult to discover in a conventional autopsy. Furthermore, the technique opens up for new opportunities in countries where autopsies are not accepted due to cultural reasons. The technique will revolutionize the traditional health care in many areas.
Basically the Virtual Autopsy Table is a multitouch surface that allows you to manipulate 3D images of human bodies. How exciting and so very cool. Doctors (or more specifically, morticians) all around the world must be shaking their medical coats right now.
Following the recent news of the upcoming pressure sensitive keyboard is this new way to input information on a computer screen or some other device. The video above shows off the implementation of creating sound by scratching a surface with your fingers that, in turn, generates sound waves which are picked up by a receiver. The receiver sends the signal to the device it is connected to and viola! For example, you can “write” a letter on a flat surface, and the sounds waves from your scratching will output the desired letter on screen. Or, you can create your own personal gestures to answer a phone call, enable speakerphone, and close out your email application all at the same time. Cool stuff. Keep it coming, innovators.