Imagination Station, Milan, Playtable: by any other name, Microsoft Surface announced today

A quick note between mtgs today as I expect that the announcement of Microsoft Surface will get a lot of traffic and exposure today, as already noted in the US ISV Developer Evangelism Team blog, this entry from Jim Galasyn’s Learning Curve, a link to the video from Popular Mechanics from Andrew Duthie, and this from the WPF blog (with a link to the USA Today article).

A few additional links of interest…

Last week, Mary Jo Foley reported that Microsoft would “take the wraps off PlayTable” with “multi-touch, gestural- and object-recognition interface technology.”

This photo essay from zdnet —  “Mark Bolger, director of marketing for Microsoft’s surface-computing effort, shows off the company’s new “Milan” at a briefing in San Francisco. The tabletop computer, for which Microsoft has created both the hardware and the software, is entirely driven by touch–there is no mouse or keyboard.”

From the Seattle PI story on CES: “In the past year, there have been two offhanded references to a Microsoft project of that name (warning: strong language in that last link). A few weeks ago, I looked into this and encountered some tell-tale signs that a product is in the works, but no concrete information about what it is. It’s not clear if PlayTable would have elements of Microsoft Research’s Surface Computing “PlayAnywhere” project, last year’s Bill Gates CES mobile phone demo, the tabletop game in the Microsoft Home of the Future, some combination thereof, or none of the above. I did find these concept sketches of a children’s digital “Microsoft Imagination Station PlayTable” by a designer who does work for Microsoft, but at least one is more than three years old. (The designer didn’t comment when I contacted him.) There’s a chance PlayTable could be discussed at CES, but that’s pure speculation on my part.”

And this from Peter Stern Design… 

The Microsoft “Imagination Station”
Concepts for a childrens interactive playtable
PlayTable Sketches
PlayTable Module – Explorer Lab