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article imageMicrosoft Surface computers running in Las Vegas

By Paul Wallis     Jun 15, 2008 in Technology
There was a lot of hype, much fanfare, and not a lot else. Microsoft’s tabletop platform has been picked up by Joyland Casino. Some of the features of Surface have surfaced with the incoming Windows 7, but so far the result has been novelty value.
Harrah's Entertainment Inc. became the second business, behind telecom giant AT&T, to deploy Microsoft's computer technology which essentially turns table tops into touch-controlled computer displays.
Harrah's said it put six customized Surface computers in a bar at its Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino.
Harrah's crafted its own software for the machines and equipped them with cameras so people can send pick-lines, drinks or both to bar-goers they are interested in connecting with in real life.
Sounds like Speed Dating for people too lazy to do their own chatting. AT&T came up with a slightly less demanding role for Surface in their retail outlets.
The problem seems to be that Surface hasn’t presented itself as much more than a glorified touch screen. As a familiar technology, that should be a selling point, but sales appear to have been pretty lethargic.
Surface needs a consumer role, obviously. Domestically, a wall screen, or something useful for programming household stuff, with a media interface, would help. Even a sort of built in arcade game would be OK, as distinct from the pure table. You could use them in pubs as gaming equipment, for example.
Have to say, after the hype, Microsoft seems to have come up with a package without a product.
I think the "table" approach has to go, and be replaced with a simple go-anywhere screen, linked to the computer. The market has to make the distinction between a computer and furniture, and it's not doing that.
You could even have a mobile screen, just plug it in, a de facto laptop.
Anything but what it's become. There's nothing wrong, per se, with the idea of a computer as a flat surface.
It's the fact that it comes with a bucket attached.
More about Microsoft surface, Las vegas, Consumer applications
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