The rumored spherical Microsoft Surface has made a quick guest appearance in a Microsoft Research promotional video.
It's only a two-second shot (minutes 3:57 to 3:59) in the video, but there it is: A spherical Surface.
(Microsoft showed this video at its early March Microsoft Research TechFest, but I guess I wasn't paying close enough attention to notice it. Istartedsomething blogger Long Zheng highlighted the You Tube TechFest clip.)
Microsoft officials have been talking up the company’s plans to introduce more consumer-focused form factors of its Surface multi-touch tabletop. They’ve said future iterations of Microsoft’s Surface multi-touch technology will be available as part of next-generation PCs, cellphones, desks, kitchen counters and even walls in consumers’ homes over the next five to ten years. Company officials also have been showing off privately a spherical Surface prototype. I haven't seen it myself, but I hear others at Microsoft and outside the company have.
Given that coffee-table-sized Surface had its roots in Microsoft Research (Andy Wilson's PlayTable project), it's not too surprising that the spherical one would, too.
I'm still not quite sure what anyone would want with a multi-touch sphere. But it looks like Microsoft thinks there's some market for it....
(Update: Looks like the ArsTechnica guys got a tip on the debut of the sphere in the TechFest video clip as well.)