Would you like your own Microsoft Surface computer but don’t own a hotel chain, telephone company, Las Vegas casino, television network or themepark? If so, you need to sign yourself up for some Microsoft market research. To be precise, Microsoft recently delivered a marketing survey centered around a multi-touch computing device codenamed “Oahu”. It is, of course, a (hypothetical) consumer variation of the Surface computer.
Obviously one has to be skeptical of anything on a marketing research survey, I mean its whole purpose is to test out radical ideas in shallow waters. Having said that, these surveys also inherit some practicality or why would they waste the time and money right? Now let’s have a look at what they say about “Oahu”.
The survey starts off with this hefty foreword,
The following questions refer to a computing device called “Oahu” that has an innovative multi-touch screen. Oahu is a flat screen that sits horizontally like a table top. You can interact with Oahu by touching the screen, instead of using a mouse, and more than one person can interact with Oahu at the same time. You and others can move objects on the screen with your hands and touch icons to open up programs, games, or music. People using the device can also use their fingertips to expand and shrink objects on the screen. The screen recognizes people’s hand movements and touches and reacts accordingly. You can bring up an on-screen keyboard to input information. Oahu also works with other devices (such as digital cameras, cell phones, and MP3 players) by getting information from or sending information to them. Oahu is on with no waiting time to start up. Oahu can come as a freestanding table, placed into a piece of furniture, or built into a countertop. The type of Oahu devices we are asking about today are not portable but if they are furniture or tables, they can be placed anywhere in your home.
Then the survey asked the participant of several different “forms” of Oahu – table for meals, a countertop or games table. Here’s a couple of “table for meals” sample experiences. Interesting how many things you can do on the same table you eat food on.
- Family hub – Help your family stay organized by sharing and managing calendars (by bringing everyone’s input into one place), leaving messages, paying bills and planning each day in a central environment.
- Homework helper – Help your children with their homework or oversee their play activities while getting dinner ready.
- Information access – Quickly check information (e.g., recipes) or control the home (e.g., change music controls).
- Morning start – While eating breakfast, read newspaper headlines and e-mail, get updated on the daily commute, or use your fingers to expand your calendar and get details on the day’s events.
- Content creation – Create and edit your personal content (e.g., recipe books, calendars, and grocery lists)
The survey then goes on to ask some further questions about what we already know about the surface – casual games and wireless sync with portable devices. It however finishes with quite a bombshell – a hypothetical price.
Please rate how likely you would be to purchase the Oahu Stand-alone games or casual table, if it has the following features:
- Fixed location
- Size allows for 4 people to comfortably use it at the same time
- Looks like a Stand-alone games or casual table with a screen built into it
- Can have an onscreen keyboard
- Interact with it using “touch”; you can use multiple fingers or both hands
- Automatically gets information from and sends information to your portable devices when you put them on the screen
- Costs $1,499
For those who are curious, the name “Oahu” has some symbolic meaning. Besides being the name of the Hawaiian island – home to Honolulu, Pearl Harbour and Lost, it is indirectly translated as “The Gathering Place“. Fitting as the Surface computer encourages multiple people to interact at the same time.
Now I’d like to do a bit of marketing research of my own. Would you purchase a Surface computer if it was $1,499?
Thanks to Kieran for forwarding this.