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Microsoft Surface renamed PixelSense as table becomes tablet

Microsoft's new tablets are called Microsoft Surface -- so the touchscreen table formerly known as Surface is now PixelSense.

Microsoft has unveiled its new Windows tablets, the Microsoft Surface and Surface Pro -- but they're not the first Microsoft Surface. Remember the touchscreen table? It's now been renamed the PixelSense.

The gadget formerly known as the Surface is a giant flat touchscreen the size of a coffee table that you use to find information wherever it's placed in places of business and such, like the bit in Die Hard where Bruce Willis tries to find his wife's name. Cute toy indeed.

The folks at Microsoft obviously decided not to splash out on a new name for the new tablets -- maybe they couldn't be bothered getting new business cards printed -- so they've kept the name, simply adding a 't' to the end of Surface table.

I wonder if Microsoft chose to continue the name simply because it's a trademark already owned, or as a subtle reminder that Microsoft has been doing touchscreens out and about for years.

We were playing with a Surface way back in 2009, when it cameoed in trade show booths and posh banks. They're rarely spotted in the wild, however.

Since then, Microsoft teamed up with Samsung for the Samsung SUR40, which we checked out earlier this year. Click play on our video below to scratch the surface of this £8,000 table:

Now playing: Watch this: Samsung SUR40 touchscreen table

Samsung still makes the touchscreen table, running Microsoft's multi-touch software -- and it's this software that's now known as PixelSense. The software is clever enough to recognise not just multi-touch gestures from several people gathered around the table, but also objects placed on the table. That could offer such sci-fi possibilities as talking to special tags.

Do you think the Surface name was worth continuing, or should Microsoft have come up with something a bit more dynamic? Have you ever used a Surface in the wild? Is interactive furniture the future or best left in sci-fi movies? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.