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Microsoft unveils new touch sensitive computer

Microsoft's entertainment and devices division - the same department responsible for Xbox 360 - has unveiled a new computer designed to be used without a mouse and keyboard.

Microsoft's entertainment and devices division - the same department responsible for Xbox 360 - has unveiled a new computer designed to be used without a mouse and keyboard.

Titled Microsoft Surface, the device looks like a coffee table with a 30 inch screen set into the top. Several people can interact with the screen at a time, using their hands to manipulate content - to stretch and shrink photographs, for example, or plan out a route on a map.

So far Microsoft has yet to demonstrate how Surface's unique features might be used with regard to videogames, but did confirm that it will play a key role in the company's 'Connected Entertainment' strategy.

"Entertainment and devices has a long history of bringing innovative product experiences to market - such as Xbox, IPTV and Zune. Today, E&Dās vision is anchored in delivering end-to-end hardware, software and services across different pillars of Connected Entertainment, such as music, video, communication and gaming," said E&D executive Tom Gibbons.

"Thatās exactly what weāre doing with Microsoft Surface... The new hardware and software in Surface, along with a predominant focus on the consumer experience, support the Connected Entertainment vision - making entertainment more personal, more interactive and more social."

Gibbons added, "As a new product category, we see the Surface computing group as extending Connected Entertainment to new devices, categories and platforms."

Microsoft Surface will initially roll out through partners such as Starwood Hotels, T-Mobile and Harrah's Entertainment, plus gambling game company International Game Technology. It will be priced at between USD 5000 - 10,000, but Microsoft plans to produce cheaper versions to sell to home users within three to five years.

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