Friday, June 01, 2007

Sorry for not blogging much but I've been dealing with settlement on our new home, an unexpected (and free) increase in the number of TV channels we get, and a lively discussion on the GBM forums ( about Microsoft Surface ( Basically, it's a very cool visual and tactile interface system. The demo ( shows it much better than I could explain.

Unfortunately, Microsoft appears to be riding it into market the same way they did with the UMPC: show how cool it is, create a buzz, go half-ass in presenting usage scenarios.

Granted, Microsoft did present a few business applications, but they suck. Seriously. On the Surface website, they present three possibilities that can all be done through regular touchscreens and RF-ID readers. They demonstrate none of the cool features of Surface and even ignore reality.

One example describes how one can compare the features of different cameras by placing them on Surface. Sounds cool, until you remember how stores display. mobile electronic devices.

The next example explains how Surface can bring increased foot traffic by acting as a kiosk that allows a user to buy tickets to museums, make reservations at restaurants, and buy music to download at home. It does not explain that the same thing can be done with a regular touchscreen interface.

Finally, they present a way to exploit children that requires a kid to put his Happy Meal toy on Surface, which would be cool if it created an interactive game board. Instead, they present a scenario that would work better if it showed animations on a touchscreen that lured children to come and interact with it, then show them stuff their parents can buy for them.

Innovative device, unimaginative usage scenarios. It's like I went back in time to the Origami campaign (

CateGoogles: general_tech
Mood = unimpressed


Microsoft Surface: New Device, Same Marketing


  1. Potential, but it's really gotta have a boatload of killer apps to be worth the money, even when the price drops

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6/04/2007 02:22:00 AM

  2. I think the functionality in the demonstrations is already worthwhile, although I couldn't afford it anytime soon, but definitely needs killer apps that show off its innovation, as opposed to the touchscreen kiosk scenarios being presented.

    By Blogger Sumocat, at 6/04/2007 09:30:00 AM

  3. Sumocat,

    If the iPhone is offered as a standalone device, do you think the price will be $499? Or will it be jacked up due to the no phone contract?

    Also will this have anykind of text editing?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6/04/2007 12:16:00 PM

  4. Michael, I'm guessing your comment was meant to go here:
    No worries, I'll repost there.

    Anyway, I do think the price will be fixed at $499/599, regardless of phone contract. I state this more often than I should: Apple makes money selling hardware. They don't care about selling phone service. Their only interest in it is to sell iPhones.

    At the same time, I'm sure Apple is bound by contract to push the two-year service, but where's the incentive in making that a hard limit? Once a buyer has an iPhone in their hands, their only choice to get phone service on it is AT&T. Whether they sign up immediately or wait until their current contract ends, an iPhone owner who wants to use it as a phone will be using the AT&T network. It is very similar to the iPod+iTunes arrangement, and we know how well that worked.

    Also, I should have specified this, my prediction is about how Apple will sell the iPhone; I doubt AT&T will sell it without phone service.

    By Blogger Sumocat, at 6/04/2007 01:11:00 PM

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