AMD Technology Powers Next-Gen Microsoft Surface

Microsoft's Surface has been an interesting technology platform ever since the company launched it back in 2007. The original Surface was built around a 30" LCD, ran at a resolution of 1024x768, could respond to up to 52 touches simultaneously, and was based on a 2.13GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 2GB of DDR2-1066. Despite these impressive statistics, the unit's high price ($12,500 and niche market status limited its practical deployment. Now, that may be about to change. At CES last weekend, Microsoft unveiled an impressively updated Surface Surface 2.0 is built around Samsung's SUR 40" LCD panel (a 77 percent increase), a Phenom II dual-core at 2.9GHz, and a Radeon 6700M. The display's resolution is much improved (1920x1080 instead of 1024x768), it's now wall-mountable, and MS has replaced Surface 1.0's Vista OS with a polished version of Windows 7 that includes support for WP7. Then, as if that wasn't good enough, Redmond slashed the price on the commercial version from the original $12,500 to a slightly less staggering $7600.

Microsoft's original Surface...

AMD is pleased as punch to be the company powering the new Surface 2.0. "AMD embedded solutions allow designers to take advantage of the industry-standard efficiencies of x86 without sacrificing performance," said Patrick Patla, corporate vice president and general manager, Server and Embedded Division, AMD. “Never has this been more apparent than with Samsung SUR40, which takes full advantage of the highly visual and interactive capabilities of AMD’s current embedded processors and leading graphics. And, we expect to see a wide array of unique designs and form factors emerge as our next-generation embedded platform, the AMD G-Series based on AMD Fusion technology, comes to market."

And it's decidedly sexier replacement

If Surface 2.0 takes off (relatively speaking), it'll be a nice feather in AMD's hat as the company rebuilds its brand perceptions and goes chasing for the embedded market. Along the way, we hope it picks up additional software developers. The original Surface was interesting precisely because it offered a very different set of capabilities compared to other devices—hopefully Surface 2.0 extends what made the first one interesting.