Microsoft’s next generation Surface goes up for pre-order

Companies are already using Microsoft Surface to give potential customers virtual tours of plane interiors, help them plan flights, provide them with the ability to create immersive photo books, and entice bank customers into brick and mortar branches. Those experiences only hint at how the new Surface device will be able to help businesses engage with customers, said Somanna Palacanda, director of Microsoft Surface.

Back in January, Microsoft used CES 2011 to unveil the next generation Surface interactive display. This time they’ve collaborated with Samsung, with the official name for the new device being the Samsung SUR40 for Microsoft Surface. I’d prefer Surface 2.

The first generation Surface had bags of potential, but was so bulky it could only be used in table form, and carried a price of $12,500. This latest generation is thinner (4-inches thick), lighter (39.4kg), and looks a lot like an LCD TV rather than the thick top of a table.

In terms of specs, it is a 40-inch 16:9 display capable of 1080p. The hardware inside consists of an AMD Athlon II X2 dual-core processor running at 2.9GHz coupled with an AMD HD6750M GPU (DX11 supported). To protect the screen from all the interaction, Samsung has used the largest sheet of Gorilla Glass yet seen on a product.

As well as making a unit that can be hung on a wall, the SUR40 uses PixelSense for the first time. Microsoft describe it as giving Surface ¡°vision.¡± The underlying tech places an infrared sensor on every pixel, allowing it to act like a camera across the entire display. That could be a killer feature if someone takes the time to think up some clever uses for it.

As for how much it will cost, it’s still not consumer friendly, but should hit resellers in January for between $7,600 and $8,400. That’s $4,000 cheaper than the previous model, showing you how much cheaper the tech has become. By the time we hit the 4th or 5th generation it might even be a standard on some TVs.

The SUR40 can be pre-ordered now directly from Samsung in 23 countries.

From Miscrosoft