Microsoft renames its old Surface computer as PixelSense

Making room for a new Microsoft-branded tablet, the table-top, multitouch computer that Microsoft unveiled in 2007 gets a new name.

Steven Musil
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Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
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The device formerly known as "Surface" gets a new name. Screenshot by Steven Musil/CNET
A table-top Surface device at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel, near the San Francisco Airport, in 2008. Stefanie Olsen/CNET

With Microsoft's unveiling of a laptop today carrying the "Surface" name, the company has bestowed a new name on the product that formerly carried the Surface moniker.

The table-top, multitouch computer that Microsoft unveiled in 2007, which was largely relegated to retail outlets, hotel lobbies, and museums, has been rebranded as PixelSense. The original Surface, which resembled a 1980s sit-down arcade machine, wasn't much of a gadget for consumers, thanks largely to its $12,500 price tag.

But the new name is a bit of return to the product's roots. The device's panel features 2 million sensors that have been built into the panel, between the pixels, and that trade off between picking up visible or infrared light. The technology that powers the recognition of that data, which was around 1 gigabit per second, is something Microsoft called PixelSense.

The tech titan unveiled version 2.0 of the device at last year's Consumer Electronics Show. The new version is thinner, more accurate to the touch, and can be put in places the previous one couldn't.

Priced at $7,600, the newer version sported a 40-inch-wide, 4-inch-thick screen that offers full HD 1080p, with a 16:9 aspect ratio and 1920x1080 resolution.

Click here for complete coverage of Microsoft's Surface tablets.