Late last year, word had it that Dell was making a Surface Studio clone: An all-in-one PC with a draft-table-type hinge.
At CES on January 5, Dell took the wraps off its Canvas product, which looks like the Surface Studio in some ways, but is quite different in others.
The Canvas ships with a pen and a device that looks a lot like the Dial peripheral that Microsoft ships alongside its Surface Studio. Dell is calling these dial-like devices "totems."
But the Canvas is a 27-inch QHD display, not a full-fledged PC like the Surface Studio. It's designed to work with almost any Windows 10 PC. The Dell Canvas has a substantially lower resolution (2560X1440) than the Studio (4500X3000), as well as a lower price tag (starting at $1,800 once it's available starting March 30).
For what it's worth, Dell officials have said the company was working on the Canvas several years before Microsoft publicly revealed the Surface Studio in October 2016. According to today's press release, Dell developed the Canvas in partnership with Microsoft.
While I've heard many wonder aloud whether Microsoft officials are angry -- to the point of possibly suing OEMs which release near clones of Microsoft's own Surface hardware, Microsoft's chief marketing officer Chris Capossela recently told me and my Windows Weekly co-host Paul Thurrott that this isn't the case.
In building its own hardware, Microsoft's number one goal is "to create a new category of device and expand the totally addressable ecosystem," Capossela said. He added that Microsoft "expects" its PC partners to follow Microsoft's lead in these new device categories.
Capossela said that Microsoft's OEM/PC partners have the ability to scale their hardware production businesses far beyond what Microsoft itself can do. While Microsoft, of course, would like to build up its own hardware business, its executives' expectations are that Microsoft's main goal in building its Surface business is to create new device categories. It's a kind of lift-all-boats type thing at work.
Dell seemingly believes the company is creating its own category, calling the Canvas not just a monitor, but "the world's first horizontal smart workspace of its kind with touch, totem and pen capabilities."
CES 2017: Take a look at these two new HP laptops: