Gadgets & apps

This article was published on January 9, 2012

Huge multitouch tables: CES’s newest fad

Huge multitouch tables: CES’s newest fad
Alex Wilhelm
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Alex Wilhelm

Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected] Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected]

Given that the Surface 2, a product that Microsoft has had a firm hand in the creation of, is already up for pre-order, you might think that the market for large, mountable and table-able multitouch displays is essentially cornered. And you would be wrong.

There are at least two devices which could easily be called Surface 2 competitors at CES this year, meaning that even as the Samsung device tries to build a market for itself, it now has real competition. Here’s what is in the field today:

  • The MultiTaction Cell MT550W7 from the aptly named MultiTouch. Stretching some 55 inches, it can support an unlimited number of inputs, and runs Windows 7 and the Surface SDK. You can’t mount it on a wall however, this baby is all table. It’s up for ordering now, if you want one.
  • 3M has a 46″ multitouch display up for groping at CES, but it appears to be more project than product. And compared to the Cell MT550W7, its acceptance of 20 inputs just feels paltry.

That there are, ostensibly, three products in the market, each of which is expensive, and serves a market that only might exist, is a tribute to capitalism. Just in case you have not heard much on the Surface 2 itself, here’s how we recently described it:

It is a roughly normal computer (multicore AMD processor, 4 gigabytes of RAM, etc) hooked up to a very special 40″ display that employs something called ‘PixelSense’ to track a great number of fingers across its, well, surface. It’s thin, and mountable on a wall. That’s really it.

The Surface 2 is better than the Surface 1, and costs some $2,600 less. That means that instead of setting you back $11,000, the Surface 2 will put a $8,400 dent in your credit card. I’m sure your landlord won’t mind being paid a full year late, right? At that price, the Surface 2 is not a consumer product, but let’s look to the future.

Greetings, tech nerd!

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Let the market shakedown commence! May the best big-ass-touch-table-or-wall-tv win!

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