Microsoft Surface Launched by AT&T

AT&T recently launched Microsoft Surface in its stores in an effort to show customers that it is indeed a provider of innovative retail services. Microsoft Surface is a table-like screen that features multi-touch technology and is currently on display in AT&T stores in San Francisco, New York, San Antonio and Atlanta. Should the initial launch be successful, AT&T plans to showcase Microsoft Surface in over 2,000 AT&T stores nationwide.

A company executive at Microsoft says this joint effort by Microsoft and AT&T will provide shoppers with a fresh, exciting experience and that this development may change the landscape within which consumers shop. The Surface personalizes shopping experience through its multi-touch interface that enables shoppers to manipulate the table screen with gestures and touches. Users, for example, can access national, state and local maps and manipulate the maps according to their preference. Another noteworthy feature of the Surface is its handset recognition technology that enables the screen to “recognize” mobile devices placed on top of it, and displays information such as cellphone features accordingly. The Surface enhances a shopper’s experience by allotting him to view a graphic-rich rundown of mobile handset features. When two mobile handsets are placed next to each other on top of it, Surface will show a comparison of these devices.

As of this launching, the Surface can recognize eight cellular phones offered by AT&T including the Blackberry Curve 8310, the LG Shine and the Samsung BlackJack II.

Even as the Surface is being launched, the companies are already developing additional innovative features that can be added to the device. Future developments may include the “drop and drag” capability wherein customers will be able to access multi-media products such as video, graphics, ring tones, graphics, video and other content dragging the items from the Surface and dropping these onto their mobile devices. Additionally, this capability will also cover cellphone services. There are also reports that in the future, the recognition capability of Microsoft Surface will not be restricted to cellphone models, but that it may soon be able to recognize personal handsets as well.

An analyst says that while this development does enhance shopper experience, it is still too early to tell if it will have an impact on sales figures. The analyst notes though, that the potential of improving AT&T’s retail environment with the Surface is high as it could help educate its salespeople about the intricacies of mobile handsets and services.