The "surface computer" was designed to replace the mouse and keyboard interface with voice, pen and touch. The computer, dubbed Microsoft Surface, will have a 30-inch display under a hard-plastic tabletop, which will enable the user to manipulate objects on screen (sorta kinda like a giant iPhone, don't you think? Well, at least I think so).
Possible applications might include a more personal order-placement at restaurants and the like. Another boon to technophiles using this interface: the Microsoft Surface can interact with devices placed on its surface. Cell phone users could get access to the latest ringtones, or even change payment plans by placing their phones on in-store displays of these computers. I wonder if, just by placing, say, a digital camera on top of the display, could one be granted access to memory card contents? One could hope.
Being one of the first to own one of these Windows Vista OS-using table-tops will cost you a pretty penny, with units ranging from $5,000 to $10,000. However, Microsoft is aiming to reduce prices to a consumer-affordable range, and introduce other different shapes in the next 3 to 5 years. One wonders, however, if anyone in the Open Source world be able to come up with something like it by then. Only time will tell.