Microsoft has more than once hinted that it is interested in releasing the Microsoft Surface to the general public, assuming that it can cut the price down significantly enough. We haven't heard many details about what Redmond has been up to on this front, but now some intriguing ones have surfaced (pardon the pun). Microsoft recently sent out a marketing survey for a horizontal multitouch computing device codenamed Oahu (which appropriately translates to "The Gathering Place"). Oahu is likely to be consumer version of the Microsoft Surface, and Microsoft is currently estimating that such a device would set a family back $1,500.
According to the survey's description of Oahu, it really is a Microsoft Surface: more than one person can interact with it at the same time, touching icons open up programs, games, or music, fingertips are used to expand and shrink objects on the screen, an on-screen keyboard can be used to input information, it communicates wirelessly with other devices (such as digital cameras, cell phones, and MP3 players), and there is no wait time to start it up. The survey also notes that Oahu can come as a freestanding table, placed into a piece of furniture, or built into a countertop. Microsoft also makes a point to emphasize that the device is in no way portable and that the size allows four people to sit around it "comfortably."