Surface V2.0

It’s been quiet around here. And the reason for that is that it’s been quiet around Surface for a while. Now, a lot of people assume that when a product team isn’t making too much noise that must mean they stopped working on their product. Remember the PDC keynote in 2010? Just because they didn’t mention WPF there a lot of people had the idea that WPF was dead and abandoned for Silverlight. Of course, this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

The same applies to Surface. While we didn’t hear much from the team in Redmond they were busy putting together the next version of the platform. And at the CES in January the world saw what they have been up to all along: Surface V2.0 as it’s commonly known.

Of course, the product is still in development. It’s not here yet, we can’t buy one yet. However, more and more information comes available and I think this is a good time to share with you what it’s all about!

The biggest change from an organizational point of view is that Microsoft decided to stop producing the hardware themselves. Instead, they have formed a partnership with Samsung who will manufacture the devices. This means that you as a buyer get the benefits of a large, worldwide supplier with all the services they can offer. Not that Microsoft didn’t do that before but since Surface wasn’t a ‘big’ product it was sometimes hard to get to the right people.

The new device is officially called the “Samsung SUR 40 for Microsoft Surface” which is quite a mouthful. The software that runs the device is of course still coming from Microsoft.

Let’s dive into the technical specs (note: all of this is preliminary, it’s still in the Alpha phase!):

Audio out HDMI / StereoRCA / SPDIF / 2 times 3.5mm audio out jack
Brightness 300 CD/m2
Communications 1GB Ethernet/802.11/Bluetooth
Contrast Ratio 1:1000
CPU AMD Athlon X2 245e 2.9Ghz Dual Core
Display Resolution Full HD 1080p 1920x1080 / 16:9 aspect ratio
GPU AMD Radeon HD 6750 1GB GDDRS
HDD 320 GB / 7200 RPM
HDMI In / HDMI out Yes
I/O Ports 4 USB, SD Card reader
Operation System Embedded Windows 7 Professional 64 bits
Panel Size 40” diagonal
Protection Glass Gorilla Glass
RAM 4 GB DD3
Weight / with standard legs 70.0 Kg / 154 lbs
Weight / standalone 39.5 Kg / 87 lbs
Height (without legs) 4 inch
Contact points recognized > 50
Cool Factor Extremely

 

Ok, the last point is not official, but I do think it needs to be there.

Let’s talk software. As noted, it runs Windows 7 Professional 64 bit, which means you can run Visual Studio 2010 on it. The software is going to be developed in WPF4.0 with the additional Surface SDK 2.0. It will contain all the things you’ve seen before plus some extra’s. They have taken some steps to align it more with the Surface Toolkit which you can download today, so if you do things right your software should be portable between a WPF4.0 Windows 7 Multi-touch app and the Surface v2 environment.

It still uses infrared to detect contacts, so in that respect nothing much has changed conceptually. We still can differentiate between a finger, a tag or a blob. Of course, since the new platform has a much higher resolution (compared to the 1024x768 of the first version) you might need to look at your code again. I’ve seen a lot of applications on Surface that assume the old resolution and moving that to V2 is going to be some work.

To be honest: as I am under NDA I cannot disclose much about the new software besides what I have told you here, but trust me: it’s going to blow people away.

Now, the biggest question for me is: when can I get one? Until we can, have a look here:

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Print | posted @ Thursday, January 27, 2011 9:08 AM

Comments on this entry:

Gravatar # re: Surface V2.0
by Bart Roozendaal at 1/27/2011 9:15 AM

As soon as the Surface comes to market, or is available for pre-order, you can order it on our website at http://www.sevensteps.com. The official release date communicated now is 'somewhere in 2011'.
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