CES: Microsoft shows off Surface 2.0

CES: Microsoft shows off Surface 2.0

Summary: Microsoft officials demonstrated an updated, thinner version of the Surface multi-touch tabletop computer at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) on January 5.


CES 2011

Microsoft officials demonstrated an updated, thinner version of the Surface multi-touch tabletop computer at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) on January 5.

Microsoft officials shared a few particulars on the next-generation Surface 2.0 device, which Samsung is manufacturing with Microsoft, according to reports, during an afternoon press conference at the show.

The new Surface is only four inches thick and uses Gorilla glass to make it more durable. (Officials said the new Surface includes the biggest single piece of Gorilla glass out there.) It also is horizontally and vertically mountable, making it more appealing than the current "big ass table" Surface tabletops that are on the market -- and possibly an alternative to flat-screen TVs (or maybe even a nice adjunct to Microsoft TV, which many are expecting the company to unveil during CEO Steve Ballmer's keynote at CES tonight.)

Istartedsomething blogger Long Zheng captured some images of the Surface 2.0 in his live blog of the Microsoft press conference. Here one from Zheng's Flickr set:

(image credit: Long Zheng)

I've asked Microsoft for availability and pricing details for the new Surface tables. No word back so far.

I wondered aloud (in my blog) earlier this week whether Microsoft might show off some new Surface tablets at CES. The new thinner tables are not tablets, by a long stretch, but they seem more commercially viable than the current Surface systems -- and I'd think more likely to attract developer interest.

I'm curious whether Microsoft and its partners will continue to downsize the Surface, moving forward, and how small it will be able to go....

Update: A couple more details on Surface 2.0, courtesy of WinRumours.com. WinRumours says the new Surface is running an AMD CPU and Windows 7. WinRumours also says the new Surface will ship in 2011.

Topics: Laptops, Browser, Hardware, Microsoft, Mobility, Tablets


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Wow! MS Managed to do now what it was promising to do in about ...

    ... 3 years! That's very nice. MS also seemed to have done quite a bit of work, optimizing Windows for slates, as well in the areas of performance and energy efficiency. Still, the big question is will Ballmer anounce slates for sale now, that people will actually want to use?
    P. Douglas
    • Don't count your chickens yet...

      @P. Douglas

      Don't count your chickens yet... Last year Microsoft showed a Slate and said it would start shipping in 2010... So far, it's still vaporware... If they were serious about surface, they would have had a price estimate by now.

      Regardless, people are not going to like it, you would have to sit close enough to be able to reach anywhere on the entire screen. And here is the rub, you would constantly have to reach all over the screen to use it. Most people don't buy a 46" HD LCD TV and then mount it 3 freet from their face nor watch it while it is resting in their lap. This one is not only vaporware, but its also a flop in its vapor state.
      • RE: CES: Microsoft shows off Surface 2.0

        Surface is more of a research project still, not really a full fledged product. You can buy one right now if you want though, you've been able to for years, but Microsoft's only selling to companies not individual consumers.
      • I believe MS Surface will finally take off


        <a href=http://hp-slate.com/hp-slate.htm>The HP Slate was actually released last year October</a>.

        As for MS surface, it can be mounted at any angle. It will be typically mounted horizontally, and be used as a collaboration table in a range of places. It could be used throughout stores for sales people to go over product items with customers; it could be used as kiosks in customer facing departments at most businesses; it could be used throughout schools and libraries as collaboration tables / kiosks. It could be used as collaboration / planning / meeting tables throughout business. The device could be placed on a swivel mount and double as a kiosk, as well as well electronic signage in stores. It could be used as an electronic coffee / collaboration table throughout homes.

        Individual units could be mounted on walls (some could be TVs), and have Kinect type controllers mounted in them, allowing them to be controlled directly via touch, or at a distance using gestures. A grid of these units could be used to create an interactive wall, etc. Therefore MS Surface has a lot of potential.
        P. Douglas
      • Becuase you have limited vision?

        @i8thecat, it may not have occurred to you that just one of the functions would be as a teaching or conference room monitor, with the presenter or instructor touching the screen while others sit back a good 8 to 10 feet and just watch?

        Or do you still believe that a laser pointer and a screen changing remote are still the best technologies?
        Tim Cook
      • Waste of Microsoft's time and effort

        Microsoft needs to stop trying to impress with this surface technology in a large form and bring it down to a handheld design. If it cannot do that now considering where Apple is with the iPad I think they might as well trash the project.
    • RE: CES: Microsoft shows off Surface 2.0

      @P. Douglas Good call on the earlier thread. Very good call.
      Rich Miles
    • RE: CES: Microsoft shows off Surface 2.0

      @P. Douglas - no - Windows Slates will arrive with Windows 8 which is getting a major UI overhaul to make it much more touch friendly.
    • Have you ever used one?

      Whilst it's OK as a gimmick to show what passes for MS innovation, as a product it's hopeless.

      Try using it is the varied lighting conditions of most spaces, not the controlled light environments required to make this donkey function.

      Interestingly it suffers from the two product failures of kinect, size and lighting.

      Surprising MS is still throwing money at it. But I guess with nothing else to announce they continue to showcase improvements in third party hardware.
      Richard Flude
      • RE: CES: Microsoft shows off Surface 2.0

        @Richard Flude "The two product failures of kinect..." heh. Original sales prediction 3 million. Revised sales prediction 5 million. Actual sales: 8 million. I think Microsoft can afford those types of failures.
        Rich Miles
      • Actual sales?

        You're quoting numbers stuffed into the channel not sales. Big difference. Can't wait fir the sales figures given this was MS big product announcement for 2010 and another USD10 billion in R&D;-)
        Richard Flude
  • wow, a giant iPod touch! Hooray for MS! Hooray

    Who care what Balmer announces, he speaks nothing but crap anyway. I pray to God everyday that the idiots on MS' board, and the shareholders who've made nothing these past ten years keep Captain Balmer running the M.S. Titanic into the ground. Since Balmer took over my Apple stock is up about 1000%!
    • RE: CES: Microsoft shows off Surface 2.0

      @ShazAmerica - hold on there hoss.

      While Microsoft's stock hasn't done much in the last 10 years, even though other one-time giants like Sun have crashed and burned in the meantime, Microsoft has continued to generate record revenues and - more importantly - profits each and every year except one.

      Don't be so naive as to judge a company's performance on it's stock price - that's something that's entirely at the whim of a few thousand 22 year old high-risk junkie stock-brokers.

      Judge a company's performance by its profits and revenues - that's the true measure of a company's success.
      • bitcrazed, ShazAmerica has shown himself the fool here many a time

        as he has made it abundently clear to all of us that he has not a clue as to what he posts on.

        One day he will realize that those here have been laughing at him, and not with him.
        Tim Cook
  • RE: CES: Microsoft shows off Surface 2.0

    If someone wants to judge Baller for Microsoft innovative pace. Look no further then Surface. Killer technology being starve to death by lack of a consumerization vision.

    It's gone from a floor model tv to a first generation flat screen. C'mon man!
  • &quot;Only&quot; four inches thick?

    That certainly sounds like a lot to me. Apple has already shown us how thin a touch-device can be.

    How much does it weigh, relative to a TV of comparable size?
    • RE: CES: Microsoft shows off Surface 2.0


      Uhm you do realize it isn't an iBauble and is a completely different type of device, right?
      • I'm talking about its underlying technology, not its use.

        @Qbt I don't see your point. Apple has shown the world that touch-devices can be both thin and light. That is <i>completely separate</i> to Apple then using that technology to create products such as the iPhone and iPad.
  • From a current Apple ecosystem consumer

    Don't write this product off so quickly. If surface gestures can be incorporated using Kinect technology and merged with an integrated TV home PC media center software type of control, than this could become a "must have product".

    Of course, the above is an example of "Apple creative vision think" and I'm not too sure if Ballmer has the ability to drive this concept forward to a successful conclusion.
    • But you can hook a Kinect up to a TV already


      Surely the whole point of a Surface product is that you're actually touching it. So if you're touching it you don't need the Kinect, and if you're not touching it then you don't need Surface and can use your existing TV instead.