The next version of table top touchscreen computer, dubbed Microsoft Surface 2, could come as early as 2010 according to one of Microsoft's development partners.
Speaking to an audience at the South by South West (SXSW) Festival, Chris Bernard, user experience evangelist for Microsoft, declined to mention any release date but given the fact that the large touchscreen devices are expensive, it is unlikely that they will become common place in the next few years.
His intervention came after Erik Klimczak, creative director at Clarity Consulting, unintentionally stated that a second version of Surface with a higher definition would be available within 12 months.
Currently, Surface is limited to XGA resolutions which is just enough for everyday tasks; a more advanced version of surface codenamed Second Light (ed: no Silverlight or Second Life) will come with a secondary projector to allow secondary pictures to be overlaid on the table top.
Infrared sensors are also expected to be integrated to allow the computer to interact with the graphic user interface without having to wear esoteric peripherals.
Surface, which some have called Microsoft's answer to the iPod Touch only bigger, is still very much a niche player that's available for thousands of pounds. It will be interesting to find out whether Microsoft modify the Surface for a more traditional environment.
You can follow ITProPortal.com on Twitter @itproportal.
As a sidenote, CSI fans have already seen the Surface in action thanks to a partnership between Microsoft and the producers of the award winning series. Microsoft has also managed to introduce Photosynth, its 3D Photo stitching technology, to millions of viewers as well, as well as the likes of HD View and tablet PCs.