Microsoft Surface touch screen OS rebranded as PixelSense

Monday's reveal of the Surface tablet from Microsoft was certainly out of left field. However, one of the consequences of that announcement is a sudden rebranding of one of the company's products that was already using that name.

We are talking about the Microsoft Surface touch screen OS that the company has been promoting for the last few years as a different way to provide a large touch screen-based UI for products such as tables in locations like hotels and casinos.

With Microsoft deciding that Surface was a good name for their new tablet, the company also decided to rebrand the Microsoft Surface touch screen OS to Microsoft PixelSense.

Even though Microsoft has made this change, it is not 100 percent complete. For example, the official community forums for PixelSense are still labeled as being for Microsoft Surface. Also, the SDK for the OS is still referred to as the Microsoft Surface 2.0 SDK.

That may indicate that Microsoft made this change in branding at the last minute and didn't have a lot of time to get everything set up before Monday's Surface tablet reveal. In any case, when we refer to Surface from now on, it will be for the tablet hardware product, not the touch screen OS.

Source: PixelSense website | Image via Microsoft

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This was actually what I was wondering about when the made the initial announcement. It seemed odd to reuse the Surface branding...

Microsoft Surface touch screen OS

Surface was NOT a touch screen technology, nor an OS.

Surface was an 'image based' input technology, and was just an API layer on top of Vista, which was INTEGRATED into Windows 7, and was then just a set of applications.

Calling PixelSense/Surface a 'touch OS' would be like calling a Ferrari a horseless carriage. Really?

I'm just disappointed that the new Surface tablet won't have a PixelSense Display. I imagine holding a business card to the screen and scanning it directly into my contacts. Also, there'd be no need for a front-facing camera, because the screen IS the camera.

Shadow D. Wolf said,
I'm just disappointed that the new Surface tablet won't have a PixelSense Display. I imagine holding a business card to the screen and scanning it directly into my contacts. Also, there'd be no need for a front-facing camera, because the screen IS the camera.

That would be nice and I'm sure they're working on it. Maybe at some point in the future.

I really don't find the name, "Surface" to be so compelling that it justifies snatching it from an existing product. "Surface" seems to describe the former product better, too.

Skwerl said,
I really don't find the name, "Surface" to be so compelling that it justifies snatching it from an existing product. "Surface" seems to describe the former product better, too.

I have to agree. I think this had more to do with Microsoft's ever existing problem of coming up with good brand names that aren't ridiculously long and over descriptive...

It's fine. 99.999% of the world's population isn't aware of the Surface table. Just as the same percentage didn't know about the Cisco iPhone.

Oh ok. I asked about what they were going to call the "Surface" after the new Surface things came out. Things are clearer now.

Really dumb idea to rename. "Surface" doesn't make me think of a tablet, nor a laptop. PixelSense sounds like a callable routine in a program. It doesn't sound like a product, especially since it was clearly and well named as "Surface."

Larry the Lobster said,
Really dumb idea to rename. "Surface" doesn't make me think of a tablet, nor a laptop. PixelSense sounds like a callable routine in a program. It doesn't sound like a product, especially since it was clearly and well named as "Surface."

PixelSense was originally the name of the touch and vision technology behind Surface 2.0

lets face this, nobody cares about this thing whichever name it sports, and it was only like a cool viral video back in 2007.

there's really no confusion. that's like saying apple was wrong for branding their product the same as some cisco phone product.

Julius Caro said,
lets face this, nobody cares about this thing whichever name it sports, and it was only like a cool viral video back in 2007.

there's really no confusion. that's like saying apple was wrong for branding their product the same as some cisco phone product.

Weird that the Smithsonian and large number of researchers around the world disagree with you. But hey, what is a bunch of people at place like MIT compared to keen intellect, right?

PixelSense is an imaging input technology that will REPLACE all touch screen technologies in a few years, FYI.

thenetavenger said,

Weird that the Smithsonian and large number of researchers around the world disagree with you. But hey, what is a bunch of people at place like MIT compared to keen intellect, right?

PixelSense is an imaging input technology that will REPLACE all touch screen technologies in a few years, FYI.

Exactly. And I'd also like to point out that Apple calling their phone the iPhone when another company was using it and owned the trademark WAS wrong... LOL That's why Apple had to settle that to begin with.

They should have stuck with Microsoft Surface... for, well, "Microsoft Surface", and just called their new windows tablet something else!! ...would save a lot of confusion!

GreatMarkO said,
They should have stuck with Microsoft Surface... for, well, "Microsoft Surface", and just called their new windows tablet something else!! ...would save a lot of confusion!

Whose confusion though? Outside of Tech circles, who know what an MS Surface is? Only the companies that actually bought it I would say. It was not a common or popular (by virtue of it's purpose and price) device for the general public

GreatMarkO said,
They should have stuck with Microsoft Surface... for, well, "Microsoft Surface", and just called their new windows tablet something else!! ...would save a lot of confusion!

How about: Surface Tablet...

GreatMarkO said,
They should have stuck with Microsoft Surface... for, well, "Microsoft Surface", and just called their new windows tablet something else!! ...would save a lot of confusion!

Agreed. Honestly Courier sounds better and better describes the device honestly.

this is genius actually .. because

1. make porn
2. put porn girl on pixel sense, flat on the tablet in the kitchen
3 .....
4... (unable to describe apple pie)
....
WIN! ... satisfied males all over

zeta_immersion said,
this is genius actually .. because

1. make porn
2. put porn girl on pixel sense, flat on the tablet in the kitchen
3 .....
4... (unable to describe apple pie)
....
WIN! ... satisfied males all over

LOL!

TCLN Ryster said,

And how did the word "Surface" reflect it's predecessor's "amazing functionality"?

Simple. The surface is the screen. The surface of a table is where you interact with the OS.

Really dumb move. As screen resolutions get larger, the average consumer won't have to think about pixels. This name seems very backwards.

nvllsvm said,
Really dumb move. As screen resolutions get larger, the average consumer won't have to think about pixels. This name seems very backwards.
The average consumer will also never know about his product.

PixelSense is very relevant to the technology because of how well it handles multitouch, but also how well it handles per-pixel sensitivity. This idea was driven home in their original demonstration by laying a document onto the table and having that document instantly scanned into the system.

GreyWolf said,

No worse than a "retina" display that doesn't have rods & cones, is it?

Retina is associated with eyes therefore something you see, vision.... PixelSense is quite more criptic.
What I do not understand is why MS did not trademark the word "Tablet" ten years ago; they surely had the money to hire some "creative" lawyer and be able to do it.
For me a Tablet has always been what Bill Gates envisioned and showed ten years ago. How MS let Jobs and Apple predated it beyond comprehension: nowadays if you say "Tablet" the average user associates it with an iPad....

.Neo said,
PixelSense! Seriously?!

There's a good reason for the name. In the Samsung SUR40, the only product using Microsoft PixelSense, there's a sensor for every couple of pixels which allows it to actually see what you put on the panel. so the pixel can sense what is infront of it. Therefore it is PixelSense.

The name is not new, it was used from the time they announced MS Surface 2.0, but it was not the product name.

Fritzly said,

Retina is associated with eyes therefore something you see, vision.... PixelSense is quite more criptic.
What I do not understand is why MS did not trademark the word "Tablet" ten years ago; they surely had the money to hire some "creative" lawyer and be able to do it.
For me a Tablet has always been what Bill Gates envisioned and showed ten years ago. How MS let Jobs and Apple predated it beyond comprehension: nowadays if you say "Tablet" the average user associates it with an iPad....

Tablet is already trademarked. a tablet is a graphical tablet also known as a digitizer. a tablet PC is a PC with a tablet in the screen. a slateform laptop is a well pretty much anythign except tablet, slate, pad, flat touch screen web browsing device...

HawkMan said,

Tablet is already trademarked. a tablet is a graphical tablet also known as a digitizer. a tablet PC is a PC with a tablet in the screen. a slateform laptop is a well pretty much anythign except tablet, slate, pad, flat touch screen web browsing device...

Was "Tablet PC" trademarked at the end of the century?
I never heard of the word "Tablet PC" before Gates announced it in 2000....