Microsoft Surface, which was announced to great fanfare last year, is getting another strong boost today at Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference. They're passing out the software development kit to a wider group of programmers, and they also have a special package deal which includes hardware, according to an Edelman PR rep I emailed with today.
I am not attending PDC, but I tried out the Surface when I was in San Francisco this summer. It was impressive, albeit limited to tourism-focused apps for the hotel it was installed in. However, it certainly has some other neat niche applications, such as the electoral map that's used on "Meet the Press" and other NBC and MSNBC shows. The high price of the hardware and the lack of applications is limiting its market penetration, but the PDC announcement may change that. I'd be curious to see if the software that comes out of this will be focused on verticals (for instance, a hospital waiting room program) or mainstream use, maybe even for people's homes.
You can see my brief tryout at the SF Airport Sheraton below:
Hands on: Microsoft Surface from Chris Tompkins on Vimeo.