In a world that’s moving toward ever-dinkier miniaturisation, it might seem counter-intuitive to bullishly mass produce a jumbo-sized digital device that needs to be mounted on a fairly large wall; and yet that’s just what Microsoft is intending to do.
Digital content producers, whether their forte is video production or content writing, are used to keeping their radar sweeping for new hand-held gizmos (we can only speculate about what impact wearables are going to have on the way we consume content, but that impact is a-coming). But ever since the computer colossus bought large-screen touch display manufacturer Perceptive Pixel in 2012, it’s been playing with ideas on how to use that technology to create truly humongous touch screens.
Now the cat’s finally been let out of the bag: according to a recent report by ZDNet journalist Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft’s Executive VP of Devices confirmed early this month that the company will mass produce touch-sensitive Perceptive Pixel Interface (PPI) screens that can reach epic proportions of up to 82 inches in size. To mangle the well-known line from Spielberg’s Jaws slightly, you’re gonna need a bigger wall.
The decision effectively means that Microsoft will produce touchscreens across the entire size range of its devices. Having acquired Nokia hardware, that includes the ones you slip in your pocket as well as ones that fit in your backpack like Surface; and, of course, the heavyweight beast that sits stolidly on the desktop.
With PPI displays, forget desktop space. You’ll need wall-space, and lots of it. But it does look rather enticing, with a hint of Minority Report about it (Windows 8 is just a lot more enjoyable in giant dimensions). At present, though, as well as a big slab of wall, you’ll need a deep bank account: the new screens are likely to run at about $7,000 (£4,300) a piece.
If they take off commercially, that eyewatering price tag is unlikely to last. Microsoft’s Chief Technical Strategy Officer, Eric Rudder, has pledged to lower the cost as quickly as he can, so that they’ll follow the downward price curve of the TV set.
It may be a little while off yet, but homes may soon have freaking great touchscreen displays adorning their walls to rival even the most monster-sized TV.