A “Surface” for real-world budgets

A few things have struck me when I have seen the Microsoft Surface interactive tables in the wild.

1 – Cool.

2 – Buggy.

3 – Crazy expensive.

I don’t know if Point 2 is addressed with this, but a new Surface-style touchscreen product set to debut in a couple of months at CES certainly addressed cool and most certainly improves on the price-point.

Tech blogs are reporting on a teaser video released by the Montreal firm EXOPC, for something called the EXOdesk. The product is billed as a 40-inch interactive surface that is an¬†extension of the touch UIs developed by the company for tablets running, a little ironically, Microsoft’s Windows 7.

The company has a series of touch apps for tablets and this is, in many respects, just a bigger playground to run them on. The interface is based on HTML5 (not Flash).

The current Surface product has an MSRP north of $12K, and the new generation due in 2012 is about $4K less, but still a budget buster for a lot of (or most) companies. The attraction of the EXOdesk is the $1,300 price tag being teased by the company.

It would not be as slick as the Surface and not offer as many opportunities, and be supported by a small Canadian company instead of a Fortune 500 firm. But for a retailer, public facility or private company looking to offer interactive communications on what amounts to a huge tablet, this will definitely get a look.

The company has also shown a massive 65-inch wall-mounted touch screen prototype at Computex in Taiwan.