The next wave of Microsoft Surface multi-touch systems -- known officially as the Samsung SUR40 -- will be a key part of Microsoft's National Retail Federation (NRF) showcase in mid-January 2012.
The so-called "Surface 2.0" devices got their official debut at the Consumer Electronics Show a year ago, in January 2011, and originally were supposed to ship before the end of calendar 2011. Late last year, Samsung officials told me the SUR40 systems wouldn't begin shipping until January 2012. (It's not clear whether NRF, which kicks off on January 16, 2012, in New York City, will coincide with the start of the shipments from Samsung.)
Microsoft announced in mid-November that Samsung had begun taking pre-orders for the SUR40, which will ultimately ship in 23 countries. They also acknowledged the list price was $8,900. Earlier this year, Microsoft and Samsung had said to expect the system to be priced around $7,600.
The SUR40 can be used as a table, a wall-mountable and/or vertical/horizontal kiosk. It features a 40-inch HD 1080p screen and is four inches thin (including the glass, PC and enclosure). The system runs an embedded version of 64-bit Windows 7 Professional. Microsoft introduced a software-development kit for the Surface 2.0 in July 2011. The SUR40 relies on PixelSense -- which uses the pixels of the screen itself to act as cameras to capture objects placed on the surface.
Microsoft officials have been touting the potential appeal of the Surface 2.0, alongside the Xbox and Kinect, in healthcare, retail, and other verticals.