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Samsung unveils ultra-slim Surface table

Samsung unveils ultra-slim Surface table

Samsung's SU40 is potentially the first example of a Surface table you might actually want to buy.

Microsoft's Surface technology is inching ever closer to becoming a real product line, with hardware partner Samsung demonstrating its SUR40 interactive table at CES in Las Vegas.

Samsung's first attempt at a Surface table is a dramatic departure from the bulky designs of Microsoft's original Surface prototypes, and forms a part of Microsoft's new Surface 2 strategy. Thanks to a technology called PixelSense, the display is able to detect fingers, hands and objects placed on the screen, but without the need for the large cameras that increased the size of the original designs.

As a result of the PixelSense technology, the Samsung SUR40 is a mere 4in thick. As such, it can be used as a table, as with the original Surface concept, but it can also be used as a wall-mounted 40in display if you remove the legs.

Unlike a traditional touchscreen, the SUR40 tracks images of the objects interacting with it, rather than detecting a change in resistance or capacitance caused by a finger or stylus. Each pixel doubles as a low-resolution camera, which combine their images to build up a picture of precisely what is where on the display.

Combined with Microsoft's Surface software, the SUR40 can be used to recognise and interact with objects placed upon it, triggering a synchronisation operation when a smartphone is placed upon it, or even launching a game when a coffee cup is rested on it.

With a significantly refined design that enables the device to be used horizontally or vertically, the Samsung SUR40 could be the first example of a Surface product that someone might actually want to buy.

Does the addition of PixelSense finally make Surface appealing, or are you still struggling to see the killer app? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

35 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
maximus09 7th January 2011, 13:31 Quote
actually looks nice, but be sure to use coasters!!
mpr 7th January 2011, 13:32 Quote
If the price of entry wasn't ridiculously high... I could potentially see myself owning one. Though honestly I think the most it would be used for is a TV Guide and maybe web browsing while watching tele
RichCreedy 7th January 2011, 13:53 Quote
yeah price is an issue, but that table looks sweet
FelixTech 7th January 2011, 14:12 Quote
Now we can have the radio times IN our coffee table rather than ON it :D
line2008 7th January 2011, 15:04 Quote
RTS games would be awsome on this. starcraft 2 FTW
WarrenJ 7th January 2011, 15:26 Quote
pfft, csi have been using these for years. old news.

on a more serious note, looks good, more software to develop. You could play snooker with a pair of rulers. I patent & copyright that idea btw.
Snips 7th January 2011, 15:29 Quote
Nicey, me likey!
Xen0phobiak 7th January 2011, 17:05 Quote
I loved this sort of thing when I saw it in Merricks office in The Island.
IvanIvanovich 7th January 2011, 18:02 Quote
i can see these replacing workstations in upper management.
HourBeforeDawn 7th January 2011, 18:04 Quote
hey price is an issue but like all new tech that will change... man I could certainly see myself owning a couple of these through out the house... coffee table version, side table versions... basically like Tony Starks joint lol that would be awesome. :)
Matticus 7th January 2011, 18:16 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by line2008
RTS games would be awsome on this. starcraft 2 FTW

Or Defcon, then proceed to kit out your living room to resemble some form of war room.
eddtox 7th January 2011, 19:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by maximus09
but be sure to use coasters!!

THIS!

I would not want to be putting anything on my brand new ridiculously expensive screen.
schmidtbag 8th January 2011, 05:09 Quote
and by "want to buy" you mean spend at LEAST $3000? MS surface is ridiculously expensive.

considering the fact that these touch tables are incredibly impractical for everyday use (they're really just cool gimmicky tools), i don't think any 1 person in their right mind would pay for MS surface, and probably not the table either.

these tables are, however, very useful for workstations, public services, and anything that requires multiple people. i'm sure you could do a few games for it too. unfortunately, from what i've seen in MS surface, its VERY slow. the animations are smooth but it just has a terrible response rate.
there is 1 guy who developed linux's multi-touch in 2007 and his product:
* is free
* doesn't create additional processes
* is MUCH more responsive than MS surface
* has other PRACTICAL features like multiple mouse pointers and multiple keyboards that can work on separate applications
* and is currently built into xorg
Snips 8th January 2011, 13:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag
and by "want to buy" you mean spend at LEAST $3000? MS surface is ridiculously expensive.

considering the fact that these touch tables are incredibly impractical for everyday use (they're really just cool gimmicky tools), i don't think any 1 person in their right mind would pay for MS surface, and probably not the table either.

these tables are, however, very useful for workstations, public services, and anything that requires multiple people. i'm sure you could do a few games for it too. unfortunately, from what i've seen in MS surface, its VERY slow. the animations are smooth but it just has a terrible response rate.
there is 1 guy who developed linux's multi-touch in 2007 and his product:
* is free
* doesn't create additional processes
* is MUCH more responsive than MS surface
* has other PRACTICAL features like multiple mouse pointers and multiple keyboards that can work on separate applications
* and is currently built into xorg

Yeah but it's linux so no one would use it.
docodine 8th January 2011, 13:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snips
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag
and by "want to buy" you mean spend at LEAST $3000? MS surface is ridiculously expensive.

considering the fact that these touch tables are incredibly impractical for everyday use (they're really just cool gimmicky tools), i don't think any 1 person in their right mind would pay for MS surface, and probably not the table either.

these tables are, however, very useful for workstations, public services, and anything that requires multiple people. i'm sure you could do a few games for it too. unfortunately, from what i've seen in MS surface, its VERY slow. the animations are smooth but it just has a terrible response rate.
there is 1 guy who developed linux's multi-touch in 2007 and his product:
* is free
* doesn't create additional processes
* is MUCH more responsive than MS surface
* has other PRACTICAL features like multiple mouse pointers and multiple keyboards that can work on separate applications
* and is currently built into xorg

Yeah but it's linux so no one would use it.

Zing
schmidtbag 8th January 2011, 13:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snips

Yeah but it's linux so no one would use it.

Thats a very dismissive and somewhat ignorant comment. A lot of people would use it, especially considering the potential it offers that MS surface doesn't (there are some features only Surface does like detecting objects but that technology isn't practical for how much it costs to do that). It won't surprise me if more people end up using MPX (linux's multi-input service) than MS surface.

But lets say your statement is a fact - thats completely besides my point. My point is that 1 unpaid guy released an advanced, very responsive, and resource efficient multi-input service within 1 year while MS Surface uses an entire overpaid development team that STILL hasn't released the product after several years of development, and their product is slow and has some gimmicky unnecessary features.

Its not about who uses it, its more about how MS will hire just about anyone to develop for them and they end up releasing products that SHOULD be much better. Visa and xbox are good examples.
Furymouse 8th January 2011, 20:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag
Quote

I believe they may have been going for humor....


I would have the MCP's voice on there so quick. And yes the main purpose for these is to placate us board game nerds who want a little more explosion with our RISK ;)
Cthippo 8th January 2011, 20:20 Quote
Still waiting for someone to show me what these are good for.

Due to the size of the screen they are going to continue to be expensive, and I haven't yet seen anyone propose a use for them that is particularly, well, useful.
SMIFFYDUDE 9th January 2011, 01:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cthippo
Still waiting for someone to show me what these are good for.

Due to the size of the screen they are going to continue to be expensive, and I haven't yet seen anyone propose a use for them that is particularly, well, useful.

Would be useful for finding where missing terraformers are.
Mechh69 9th January 2011, 02:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cthippo
Still waiting for someone to show me what these are good for.

Due to the size of the screen they are going to continue to be expensive, and I haven't yet seen anyone propose a use for them that is particularly, well, useful.

If you really want to go there. What is the SR2 with dual quad core xenon's good for besides server/high end work stations? 4 way SLI (I.E. 4 580 GTX) does anyone really need that? Why do people have the all in 1 touch screens, are they really that useful? But how many people on here build things of that sort? Its not always what it's useful for its because someone wants it and its really cool! I would love to have one but I have no real use for it, or the money to buy it. This is probably the wrong place to ask what its really useful for.:|
Phil Rhodes 9th January 2011, 06:38 Quote
Didn't Dragon's Den tell somebody to take his interactive table and go away, a while ago?
Bonedoctor 9th January 2011, 22:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag
Its not about who uses it, its more about how MS will hire just about anyone to develop for them and they end up releasing products that SHOULD be much better. Visa and xbox are good examples.

MS owns Visa? A licence to print their own money perhaps :)
only_happy 10th January 2011, 13:17 Quote
I do 3D CAD Co-Ordination, if they could get this to work with any of the packages i use then i'd happily use it. A small market i think though.
Photoshop could be fun on it too.
Meridicus 10th January 2011, 15:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag
there is 1 guy who developed linux's multi-touch in 2007 and his product:
* is free
* doesn't create additional processes
* is MUCH more responsive than MS surface
* has other PRACTICAL features like multiple mouse pointers and multiple keyboards that can work on separate applications
* and is currently built into xorg

So you're saying 1 man can produce a better product than the whole team at Microsoft Research who have been working on Surface for a number of years now?

Sure.
Cthippo 10th January 2011, 18:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meridicus
So you're saying 1 man can produce a better product than the whole team at Microsoft Research who have been working on Surface for a number of years now?

Sure.

Sure, why not?

The table is fundamentally a hardware item, not a software one. MS has helped develop the hardware, which was the hard part. Under the hood it's an x86 computer with some interesting hardware add-ons. It wouldn't be hard for someone to take another x86 compatible OS and write custom drivers for this hardware. The MS development team is understandably tied to the Windows design philosophy and not everyone adheres to that philosophy.
schmidtbag 10th January 2011, 18:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meridicus
So you're saying 1 man can produce a better product than the whole team at Microsoft Research who have been working on Surface for a number of years now?

Sure.

its not that he can produce it, its already released. the major flaw about his product is programs aren't designed to have more than 1 of the same input device interact with it, but microsoft surface won't be any different once that is officially released.
it is hard to believe that 1 guy can create a competitive product against a large paid team, but its not completely unbelievable either. look at indie games for example - minecraft was basically just made by 1 guy and he makes more money from this ugly looking game than EA would make on some of their highly acclaimed releases.

once a company becomes too large, they begin to focus more on what they THINK people want, and their products are forced to stick with a pre-made plan. microsoft is huge and can kinda do whatever they want and think they can get away with it because of how many followers they have. microsoft's idea for vista completely assumed what people wanted and thats why it failed. windows 7 (supposedly) listened to what people wanted, and it is doing MUCH better.

based on my comment earlier about companies focusing on a pre-made plan, thats why most games these days just don't compete with the fun value of the classics. games made by large companies today are short and all the funds for the game is spent on realism or at least visual and audio details, because thats apparently what people want to see. but look at a company that equally divides their funds on all aspects of the game such as blizzard. almost every game blizzard ever made was game of the year and is continuously being played or even sold literally 10 years after their release.

and yet some companies bitch about how nobody buys their games (or pirates them instead). gee i wonder why.

@cthippo
actually creating a multi-touch table is pretty easy, i know someone who did it with a foggy acrylic surface and a high-speed infrared webcam. the other technologies like the surface being able to detect and communicate with other electronics, however, is complicated and MS has spent a lot of time on that. however, those are the exact things that i find pointlessly expensive and gimmicky.

touch screens in general are gimmicky. its not practical for everyday computer usage and its very impractical for certain programs. touch screens have been around for almost 30 years, the only reason they're popular now is because apple made ipod touch and suddenly everybody wants to follow them.
eddtox 10th January 2011, 22:20 Quote
@schmidtbag: Your posts suggest that you either do not understand what MS was trying to do with the Surface, or choose to ignore it, so you can bash them for it.

The surface is so expensive and has required so many people to work on it because it is an experiment into a completely new form of interaction, designed to recognise different objects placed on it, etc. To say that MS sucks because one guy could develop multitouch software on his own is either ignorant or disingenuous or both.

Multitouch is an already existing and mature technology which has been around for a few years.

You can argue that multitouch does some of the same things that the surface is trying to achieve, and you could argue that some of the other things it is trying to achieve are unnecessary, but that doesn't mean you just get to ignore the work that's gone into those features and make out that MS are a bunch of incompetent plebs.

As for touch screens, they are the best input method - but only in specific circumstances and if they are well-implemented. The only reason they are popular now is that apple made the ipod touch and got it right.
schmidtbag 10th January 2011, 22:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by eddtox
@schmidtbag: Your posts suggest that you either do not understand what MS was trying to do with the Surface, or choose to ignore it, so you can bash them for it.

The surface is so expensive and has required so many people to work on it because it is an experiment into a completely new form of interaction, designed to recognise different objects placed on it, etc. To say that MS sucks because one guy could develop multitouch software on his own is either ignorant or disingenuous or both.

Multitouch is an already existing and mature technology which has been around for a few years.

You can argue that multitouch does some of the same things that the surface is trying to achieve, and you could argue that some of the other things it is trying to achieve are unnecessary, but that doesn't mean you just get to ignore the work that's gone into those features and make out that MS are a bunch of incompetent plebs.

As for touch screens, they are the best input method - but only in specific circumstances and if they are well-implemented. The only reason they are popular now is that apple made the ipod touch and got it right.

I'm aware of what surface does. But everything surface does has already been accomplished elsewhere EXCEPT the ability to communicate with the objects it senses, which as far as i'm aware are only other microsoft products (and we all know that zune and windows phone aren't the most popular). i don't bash it because i feel like it and dislike MS, i bash it because of how in comparison to hobbyists, Surface is an embarrassment.

The multi-user detection and multi-application control has been done by the Linux developer I discussed earlier, and he finished this 3 years ago.
Theres another individual developer who has found a way to use Kinect to recognize objects, so this guy is using Microsoft products and within a month or so of Kinect's release, hes already completed what MS has been trying to do for years now.

don't even say "well maybe they're just trying to make it stable" because windows is unarguably the least stable OS. windows 7 happens to be pretty stable but its still behind mac and linux in general use stability.

i'm not ignoring what they've done, i'm saying they're wasting their time on futile gimmicky features that are proprietary to other MS products and overall extremely unnecessary considering the price. this may be a handful of a sentence but its pretty straight-forward point of view.
eddtox 11th January 2011, 10:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag
I'm aware of what surface does. But everything surface does has already been accomplished elsewhere EXCEPT the ability to communicate with the objects it senses, which as far as i'm aware are only other microsoft products (and we all know that zune and windows phone aren't the most popular). i don't bash it because i feel like it and dislike MS, i bash it because of how in comparison to hobbyists, Surface is an embarrassment.

The multi-user detection and multi-application control has been done by the Linux developer I discussed earlier, and he finished this 3 years ago.
Theres another individual developer who has found a way to use Kinect to recognize objects, so this guy is using Microsoft products and within a month or so of Kinect's release, hes already completed what MS has been trying to do for years now.

don't even say "well maybe they're just trying to make it stable" because windows is unarguably the least stable OS. windows 7 happens to be pretty stable but its still behind mac and linux in general use stability.

i'm not ignoring what they've done, i'm saying they're wasting their time on futile gimmicky features that are proprietary to other MS products and overall extremely unnecessary considering the price. this may be a handful of a sentence but its pretty straight-forward point of view.

Surface is at its core a MS R&D project to see what new things they can come up with. Comparing it with multitouch is like saying a petrol engine will get you from A to B, so research into electric/hydrogen engines is gimmicky and a waste of time.

The individuals you have mentioned have done amazingly well in developing the software they have, and ms is known to have problems integrating the work of different departments, but comparing the two is a bit like comparing apples to oranges.

As for ms having the least stable OS, I bag to differ. Although I haven't used vista much, both XP and windows 7 have been exceptionally stable, running for months on end without a crash. The same can't be said about my attempts at running linux.

I'm not trying to bash linux, because I love what the community is trying to achieve, but making out that linux is better than windows across the board is generally not true.
schmidtbag 11th January 2011, 17:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by eddtox
Surface is at its core a MS R&D project to see what new things they can come up with. Comparing it with multitouch is like saying a petrol engine will get you from A to B, so research into electric/hydrogen engines is gimmicky and a waste of time.

The individuals you have mentioned have done amazingly well in developing the software they have, and ms is known to have problems integrating the work of different departments, but comparing the two is a bit like comparing apples to oranges.

As for ms having the least stable OS, I bag to differ. Although I haven't used vista much, both XP and windows 7 have been exceptionally stable, running for months on end without a crash. The same can't be said about my attempts at running linux.

I'm not trying to bash linux, because I love what the community is trying to achieve, but making out that linux is better than windows across the board is generally not true.

first, i appreciate the fact that you've kept this discussion civilized.

i'd have to disagree with the engine comparison. i'm not comparing Surface to just basic multitouch, i'm comparing it to multi-USER. part of what makes surface unique is it's ability to detect multiple people. a more accurate approach to the engine comparsion would be an electric engine with colored lights and gages on it telling you how fast you're going and how hot it is, when its just wearing out the battery quicker and its something nobody will use (since they would be on the inside of the car). those are cool, but gimmicky features that aren't necessary. ms surface detecting a windows phone and being able to drag files to it is cool but completely unneeded.

i'm not against different input technologies or other innovations in general, but when something costs several thousand dollars, i want it to be USEFUL, which ms surface is not enough of, and thats my main gripe. if they released surface for as much as $200, i'd complain a lot less about it (but i'd still complain haha).

when i mean stability i don't mean crashes, because even mac has plenty of crash issues and my windows setup rarely crashes. i mean just overall responsiveness. i used to be a hardcore windows user and it used to be all i would ever work on. i was great at optimizing the performance of windows, but sometimes explorer will lock up just from it waiting for a DVD to spin up. sometimes i can't start task manager when a game is failing. sometimes windows will refuse to do anything until catalyst control center loads at startup (which can take about a full minute). sometimes i have to wait a good 15 seconds for the start menu to open up and i only have about 15 shortcuts in it; i can't do anything until it opens. sometimes i have to wait about 5 seconds just to right-click on an icon on the desktop and again have to wait until it opens. these things happen on fresh installs of windows, and my over year-old linux setup is much more responsive and the only thing that ever caused it to crash on me was overclocking too much or hardware failures.

i didn't say linux is better. there are plenty of things that it needs that windows and/or mac already have. for example, you said that your experience with it wasn't perfectly stable. this is probably due to the fact that you might have had incompatible hardware or didn't know how to set something up. maybe you accidentally changed something it didn't like and you weren't sure what it was. these are problems related to linux itself and not as much the user.
each OS has it's problems. window's main issues are its the most unstable, its naturally insecure (theres a LOT of depth to this), its the least 64 bit friendly, and its unreasonably resource consuming. the problem with macs is they're very restricting, they're overall performance is slower than windows and linux (there are tests on this), and they're extremely limited on hardware. the problem with linux is its the hardest to use, almost everything in it is still under development (which can cause individual program instabilities), and lack of commercial support.
eddtox 11th January 2011, 19:45 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag
first, i appreciate the fact that you've kept this discussion civilized.

i'd have to disagree with the engine comparison. i'm not comparing Surface to just basic multitouch, i'm comparing it to multi-USER. part of what makes surface unique is it's ability to detect multiple people. a more accurate approach to the engine comparsion would be an electric engine with colored lights and gages on it telling you how fast you're going and how hot it is, when its just wearing out the battery quicker and its something nobody will use (since they would be on the inside of the car). those are cool, but gimmicky features that aren't necessary. ms surface detecting a windows phone and being able to drag files to it is cool but completely unneeded.

i'm not against different input technologies or other innovations in general, but when something costs several thousand dollars, i want it to be USEFUL, which ms surface is not enough of, and thats my main gripe. if they released surface for as much as $200, i'd complain a lot less about it (but i'd still complain haha).

when i mean stability i don't mean crashes, because even mac has plenty of crash issues and my windows setup rarely crashes. i mean just overall responsiveness. i used to be a hardcore windows user and it used to be all i would ever work on. i was great at optimizing the performance of windows, but sometimes explorer will lock up just from it waiting for a DVD to spin up. sometimes i can't start task manager when a game is failing. sometimes windows will refuse to do anything until catalyst control center loads at startup (which can take about a full minute). sometimes i have to wait a good 15 seconds for the start menu to open up and i only have about 15 shortcuts in it; i can't do anything until it opens. sometimes i have to wait about 5 seconds just to right-click on an icon on the desktop and again have to wait until it opens. these things happen on fresh installs of windows, and my over year-old linux setup is much more responsive and the only thing that ever caused it to crash on me was overclocking too much or hardware failures.

i didn't say linux is better. there are plenty of things that it needs that windows and/or mac already have. for example, you said that your experience with it wasn't perfectly stable. this is probably due to the fact that you might have had incompatible hardware or didn't know how to set something up. maybe you accidentally changed something it didn't like and you weren't sure what it was. these are problems related to linux itself and not as much the user.
each OS has it's problems. window's main issues are its the most unstable, its naturally insecure (theres a LOT of depth to this), its the least 64 bit friendly, and its unreasonably resource consuming. the problem with macs is they're very restricting, they're overall performance is slower than windows and linux (there are tests on this), and they're extremely limited on hardware. the problem with linux is its the hardest to use, almost everything in it is still under development (which can cause individual program instabilities), and lack of commercial support.

Likewise :)

I agree with much of what you say, except I would still say that surface is an interesting research project, even though they have yet to work out how to make the most of it.

Of course, I'm not suggesting that anybody actually goes out and buys one of their surface monstrosities, but I would like to see what they can make of it and maybe in 10-20 years the technology will be sufficiently polished to be more than a gimmick.
schmidtbag 11th January 2011, 19:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by eddtox
Likewise :)

I agree with much of what you say, except I would still say that surface is an interesting research project, even though they have yet to work out how to make the most of it.

Of course, I'm not suggesting that anybody actually goes out and buys one of their surface monstrosities, but I would like to see what they can make of it and maybe in 10-20 years the technology will be sufficiently polished to be more than a gimmick.

true, although i've noticed that most new products these days aren't exactly practical - most things that we NEED have already been invented and perfected. as i see it, theres a good reason the mouse and keyboard haven't been obsolete - they're cheap, easy, very responsive, and don't get in your way when looking at the screen. as i see it the only thing that will make them obsolete are mind controlled computers. imo, touch screens are just simply annoying. they can smudge, scratch, your hands are in front of you, typing on them limits the amount of total view space, you can't physically feel the "keys" that you type, nobody wants to hold their arms in front of them for over a half hour, and its a pain in the neck (literally) to always look at your lap, in case if you want to rest your arms instead.

the technology for mind controlling a computer is already available but as far as i'm aware it isn't cheap and its not perfected.
eddtox 11th January 2011, 21:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag
true, although i've noticed that most new products these days aren't exactly practical - most things that we NEED have already been invented and perfected. as i see it, theres a good reason the mouse and keyboard haven't been obsolete - they're cheap, easy, very responsive, and don't get in your way when looking at the screen. as i see it the only thing that will make them obsolete are mind controlled computers. imo, touch screens are just simply annoying. they can smudge, scratch, your hands are in front of you, typing on them limits the amount of total view space, you can't physically feel the "keys" that you type, nobody wants to hold their arms in front of them for over a half hour, and its a pain in the neck (literally) to always look at your lap, in case if you want to rest your arms instead.

the technology for mind controlling a computer is already available but as far as i'm aware it isn't cheap and its not perfected.

Touch screens are useful when there is limited physical space and user interactions are few and/or simple enough to be performed adequately with a finger. It's not so much that they are great, but they are the least bad alternative for such applications.

Also, using one's finger seems to be much more intuitive for those who are not accustomed to computers.

I would love to get me one of those eeg-type input helmets :D
bemused 11th January 2011, 21:28 Quote
I'm still wondering what you would use them for? In a world of mobility and video collaboration the market for a fixed horizontal display you have to stand around to use seems a bit old hat to me.

I do an awful lot of remote collaboration using tele presence and web collaboration technologies and I couldn't see me using this in any real productive way. A vertical smart board where I could share with a number of remote users at the other end would be handy but a table I'm not so sure.
bemused 11th January 2011, 21:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meridicus
So you're saying 1 man can produce a better product than the whole team at Microsoft Research who have been working on Surface for a number of years now?

Sure.

There are some pretty famous examples of the few overturning huge industry giants. JamesDyson for example.
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