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Microsoft Reportedly Planning TV-Size Touch-Screen Devices

Microsoft officials say the company is planning mass production of television-sized touch interfaces.

Microsoft Reportedly Planning TV-Size Touch-Screen Devices
National Museum of American History / CC BY NC SA 2.0
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Microsoft is thinking big. Television big.

Speaking at Microsoft's Australia Partner Conference on Wednesday, Microsoft's Stephen Elop says the company wants to start mass production of new touch-screen devices.

These are displays from Perceptive Pixel, a company Microsoft acquired in 2012. And they're big screens for big applications, like televisions or commercial kiosks — ZDNet says some current screens are 55 inches.

You might have seen them before. CNN has one it calls the Magic Wall.

But they've been an expensive curiosity, according to Softpedia. Perceptive Pixel's displays used to go for $75,000-$80,000 — a figure Microsoft has since cut down to the relatively affordable $7,000-$8,000 range.

The reports indicate Microsoft wants to work these displays into the rest of the Windows ecosystem to make it as useful as any PC or tablet — especially in collaborative scenarios.

Microsoft does have experience with the form factor. It's been developing tabletop-sized touch screens for several years. (Video via VentureBeat)

That technology is now called PixelSense, and it's still aimed at the commercial market. (Video via Samsung)

Whether Microsoft's new displays will ever break into the consumer market remains to be seen. But TechCrunch suggests there is a niche — a 55-inch one, on your wall.

"With its Nokia hardware purchase, Microsoft sells touchscreens [sic] that are best suited for your pocket. With Surface, touch screens that fit best inside your backpack. And with PPI displays, touch screens that can only fit on a huge slab of open wall."

Elop didn't provide pricing or availability details on Wednesday, but unless mass production really gets going, you'll probably want to save your pennies.

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