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Microsoft is working on Surface All-in-One PC destined for your living room

Microsoft is developing a new Surface all-in-one (AIO) PC running Windows 10. The information comes from a reliable source who has confirmed the news with Windows Central and it follows an earlier report by Digitimes.

While Digitimes claims a Q3 2016 release for the alleged Surface AIO, our sourcing suggests such details are undecided at this time. Like other next-gen Surface products the timeframe for a Surface AIO will partially depend on availability for Intel's new Kaby Lake 14 nanometer processor, the successor to Skylake.

We can also add to the original report that the company is positioning the Surface AIO for the living room. The device is evidently targeting a "modern and elegant" design and is meant to be something akin to a premium appliance or furniture.

Unfortunately, any details about specifications and the Surface AIO design are not known at this time.

Our last report claimed that Microsoft is aiming for an early 2017 launch of new Surface tablets, and a planned "Surface phone", all linked to Windows 10 Redstone 2 general availability. Bringing the Surface AIO into that launch window would seem to make sense.

All-in-one PCs are an exciting development in modern computing. By combining a display with high-end hardware into a single device, the experience is similar to an appliance rather than a traditional PC tower, external peripherals, and messy wires connecting them all together.

Currently, Apple's iMac and Lenovo are the market leaders in AIO devices. Lenovo recently launched the Yoga Home 900 PC (seen above). That device features a 27-inch Full HD display running Intel Core i5 or i7 Broadwell CPUs. The device weighs 16 pounds but is a single, large tablet that can run on an internal battery for up to three hours. The Yoga Home 900 can be propped up on a Surface-like kickstand or laid flat as a table-top tablet, which is ironically reminiscent of the original Surface (now called Microsoft PixelSense).

While bringing Windows 10 and modern computing to the home's congregation area seems like an obvious market, no one has fully cracked it yet with any success.

Is this the consumer PixelSense?

Putting all the pieces together and it appears that Microsoft is combining its original PixelSense table-PC concept from 2005 with its new Surface Hub. However, instead of being marketed at large institutions this device is destined for consumers in the living room. This claim is complete guesswork on our part, but the dream of PixelSense for consumers has always piqued people's interest.

Creating a device with advanced 3D touch sensors, a high-resolution display with Windows Ink, and other technology could result in an amazing AIO experience. With the larger size, Microsoft could have more space to add newer hardware as well.

Microsoft specifies PixelSense as having four main features, which could be related to this Surface AIO project:

  1. Direct interaction or the ability to "reach out and touch" the interface
  2. Multi-touch contact similar to tablets that have at least 10-points of touch recognition
  3. Multi-user experience where multiple users can use the surface at the same time
  4. Object recognition or identifying things like you placing your phone down on the surface.

Microsoft has demonstrated placing your phone on the PixelSense surface and transferring photos and documents instantly to the computer. Users could then interact with the photos similar to the famed Minority Report sequence from the hit 2002 film.

Some of the technology and theory behind PixelSense can be seen in a 2012 video posted by Microsoft on the ongoing project. The Microsoft PixelSense blog (opens in new tab) went dormant in June 2013.

The original Surface based on PixelSense was commercially unveiled in 2007 by then Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. It would be very interesting if exactly ten years later in 2017 the device becomes a consumer reality. Of course, like all projects in development at Microsoft things could change when determining final product viability. For now, continue to watch this space.

Would you want a large Surface for your living room? If so, what would it need to have in order to be different?

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

  • Very exciting. I have this information on good authority, however, there are more questions than answers right now. This could be a very big deal, however. Especially if my ruminations on PixelSense are accurate.
  • I know. Do you think this is something people will go for?
  • Without any firm details, I would prefer to not make any guess on product viability. If Microsoft is introducing PixelSense tech into a consumer product, sure, this could be huge. Just a large PC in the living room? I dunno, ask Lenovo ;)
  • We definitely need some firm details
  • Firm details are Microsoft is going to announce this,  tease you with amazing features,  cut out said amazing features then cancel the project all together. 
  • I am sorry Steve. While I am a good sport for sarcasm and humour, I am really getting sick of all the rant about MS cancelling its projects before they see the light of the day or soon after. If you really get a data on all projects that MS has worked on over the past decade or so, you will see a fair bit of them being cancelled. However, you will be hard pressed to find too many companies doing any better. Those that don't have such projects will hardly be doing any innovation at all. If you are into technology domain, you are bound to find out that something maynot work out only after you have invested time and money on it. Reasons could be anything uner the sky. What I do appreciate abotu MS (and google, FB, Apple etc. for that matter) that they continue to work on innovation. Of course they have the resources to be perseverant, but other way to look at it is that becuase they are so perseverant, that is why they have the resources.  This device may or may not see the light of the day, but I am confident that MS will keep coming up with new products that are truly innovative.
  • Hemanlive,  They (microsoft) have canceled so many projects, features in the past few go rounds,  that it has soured me Just a tad,  while yeah,  I am having some fun,  I am gone from microsoft products now and am running  apple,  the only MS products we have left now,  are our two surfaces and soon they are gone for new Ipads.   Good riddance to the MS side of computing.  The land of failed promises and lackluster follow through.  I was so close to pulling the trigger on 950xls but sooooo glad we have the iphone 6s's 
  • Great!
  • Agreed
  • We should ask Lenovo
  • First thing I thought of was Xbox streaming :)
  • Very exciting
  • This article reminded me of this:
  • I can imagine a device with a screen around 30-40 inches and less than half an inch thick using proprietary magnetic mounting. The mounting could sit into an indented area on the back of the device so that there is no gap between the aio and the wall or table. They will surely have something very cool!
  • It definitely has to offer more than Lenovo did. And I think it has to be significantly larger. The deal killer might be that, to get those things, it will have to be very expensive. But the right combination of things that it offers just might overcome price.
  • Surface has the large scale covered.
  • That's exactly what I thought of... The Surface name was originally for the table version offered to corporations. This sounds like a rehashing of that for a consumer
  • I would agree. We actually had one of the 2nd Generation Surface Tables from Microsoft. When they first announced the Surface tablets it actually screwed with my brain a bit, since the Surface had already existed, but was table sized.
  • Ok thanks
  • Here comes the 'I am going to unlock with my Microsoft Band'-pc....?
  • That would tie in nicely too.
  • Word!
  • Word 2!
  • Excel!
  • Thats a Powerful Point!
  • This! Bob finally comes into his own.
  • Lol, how many drinks are you down?
  • You may be too young to know what Microsoft Bob was.
  • It would be great to announce this at a hardware event like they did with surfacebook - announce the refreshes of the phone(s) and other hardware and then the reveal of the AIO. As a coffee table device this could be the surface name going full circle, not that anybody could ever afford the original "Surface" table, the legs alone were pricey for a consumer.
  • The surface started out a a table device, they have several of them at the galleria mall.
  • The original Surface were indeed expensive, but that's I think because it wasn't meant for consumers anyway. Also those times, that was the early times of multi-touch tech which would be expensive, even first iPhone is ridiculously considered expensive that time. Original Surface and PixelSense table are more than having big touchscreens, it can actually detect objects which is something we even don't have on modern touchscreen devices. It was called Surface and and later PixelSense for a reason. I hope that this is the consumer Table PC that the original surface did, only more affordable for consumers and hopefully more useful. Should be suited for both entertainment and productivity.
  • I hope it's not a coffee table design. SMART Technologies made those for a while - I owned one. It's great for passive interaction or groups like in education - but as a consumer system, it really doesn't work well. Mind you - if they're making an AIO with a more standard design - you realise that an obvious use would either a built in projector for movie nights or at least the ability to use your large screen TV as a display for showing movies. And if you're going to do that - maybe a TV tuner integrated with DVR features and a useful TV guide feature... in fact - why not create an entire application designed to work well on a large screen TV with nothing but a remote control? It could handle live TV, IR Blaster control of cable boxes, DVR, Guide.. and do that for many countries, not just the US, and let's add in DVD and BluRay and streaming... A nice clean easily read UI would wrap up the whole package... It would be, I dunno.. some kind of "media center". Nah - no one has that.
  • Bullcrap, nobody wants a table computer in the living room as everyone has tablets. They just could make a big screen TV with windows or just make an Imac clone but with detachable tablet touchscreen.
  • Personally, I was hoping this is what the Xbox hardware would be for. I guess this proves that they want the Xbox to be a full Windows 10 gaming machine rather than a box for all sorts of entertainment in the living room.
  • I guess this proves that they want the Xbox to be a full Windows 10 gaming machine ...
    My thoughts exactly. Gaming, movies, TV.
  • Really. I already have that with 8.1 Media Center and no Xbox in sight.
    Seems like the visionary old guard at Microsoft have long gone and we trying to reinvent electricity after we lost the knowledge.
  • Re' Hiseona,
    So true. Microsoft knows how to build Windows Media Center for the whole house using a HTPC.
  • They don't have the knowledge anymore.
    They've lost the code and are practically helpless on how to start over with Media Center
  • Some people don't get it. Guess what else, maybe they'll buy steam!
  • MS couldn't afford Steam, and Gabe wouldn't sell to them. It would be the single biggest catastrophe to happen to PC gaming, and mean a swift end to discounted games. MS don't do discounts well, and when they do they pander to retailers by always being worse than the retail prices. I've seen games in the XBL store sitting at $99 (typical price in Australia for a AAA title) for 2 years when you can then buy it for $15 in a shop.
  • I wonder how they will seperate this Surface AIO from the herd. Love to hear more about this thing
  • From what I've heard, it's more like a Surface Hub for consumers.
  • Yeah, a touch TV running Groove Music is what the consumer wants.
  • Is there actually anything you Like? 
  • Windows 8.1
  • 'nuff said
  • Well imagine watching Groove Music music
  • Why don't you imagine I do
  • It's called a 'jukebox' -- I have one and it will get a good workout on July 4th.
  • Ya.. except I dont wanna have to touch my TV... .I just wann tell it what to do.. ALA Xbox One !  Which.... dunno what happens when they kill kinnect...  how will I say...   "Xbox watch Discovery Channel"    or Xbox "Turn Off"  etc....  Having to touch the screen is a step back from total laziness that consumers feel entitled to....   ;)
  • Sorry, but it's an enterprise level device.
  • Any rumors about an Amazon Echo/Google Home competitor?
  • Like Cortana in a physical box? I don't know why it would be good, when Cortana is on all of your win devices, and can answer you anyway :D Other than that, Amazon Echo failed, just like Google Home (will).
  • Echo is a hit. Not sure what you base your assertion upon. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • The echo is a phenomenal piece of technology that still sells out frequently. You're drunk if you think it's a flop. I use mine constantly. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • "Phenomenal piece of technology"? What? A digital assistant in a separate box? A device, that can't do anything else? Wow, it's so amazing :D Just tell me one real scenario where you use it :D
  • Ask the many people who are buying the Echo instead. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • You mean I can say the following anywhere in my house.
    'Alexa lock the doors'
    'Alexa turn on the bedroom lights to 20%'
    'Arm my alarm'
    'Read me the news'
    'Play some music'
    'Open the garage door'
    'turn on the air conditioning'
    'Start my car'
    Etc etc. Etc But no, that's not good tech at all... and it's certainly not at all comparable to the voice activated computer on star trek. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I just don't know how I could be so stupid to think a voice automated home was revolutionary. God I'm an idiot! Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • And you could do all of this, when your phone is in your pocket. That's why I say, that it's not innovative at all :D It's just a device with only one function took out from a phone, or a PC. Would you buy a device, that you only could use WhatsApp on it for example? Call it WhatsApper :D It's redundant.
    P.S.: I'm more of a Star Wars guy, than a Star Trek one :D
  • You can't voice command smartthings from a phone. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • You can. Or google now on that shiny lagdroid can't be integrated into apps? :D
  • Nope- google it. Only option is custom code for voice control on anything other than echo. And it's spotty at best. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • All pretty cool sounding futuristic star trek things.  But personally, i'd rather have less technologies like this around me.  Adding "smart" features to everything doesn't necessarily make things smatter or more efficient or even useful.
  • Cortana being on all my devices is precisely why I'd want a separate Cortana device - my PC and Xbox are always in the same room, and I'll frequently have my phone and Surface there as well. So that's potentially 4 devices, with a wide range of only somewhat overlapping capabilities that are all going to wake up and try to respond with varying levels of success when I invoke Cortana. It'd be much nicer to have an Echo-like device that could process the commands, and route them to the appropriate device over the network (either implicitly via context where possible, or via explicit disambiguation where necessary).
  • I'm thinking that'd be a great features to add into Cortana, especially for W10M. You pick and choose what to do with your devices through your phone's Cortana, so can turn on your heater, record your favourite TV programme, readying your coffee machine, etc., anywhere. Like this, Cortana would be a real personal assistant. Let's talk about a cool name here: "Cortana hub"?
  • Yeah, that's a great idea. But not on a separate device, but on your phone, PC, and XBO, as you said :D
  • I thought Pixel sense was something else when announced I alsways that it was cool.  If I am correct I think it was geared towards POS places like restaurants and allowed people to split checks and notified when in need of a refill (again I could be wrong).  But cool in all as long as this price doesn't cost me a semester of my kids college savings ;) 
  • Right, it initially was a commercial play for companies to use a demonstration device. The question was always lingering if/when it goes to consumers.
  • Thanks I thought it was pretty cool technology, I remember looking at the price for these at the time I want to say it was like 10k and the only businesses I could find using it were in WA or Canada.  Cheers to the living room push I hope it comes before I finish my basement!
  • To me this going be far more interesting to see than a surface phone, tablet or book /Runningaway
  • Well that depends. Without any firm details on both devices we don't know how they will be received by the public. Maybe this device is somehow lacklustre and the surface phone groundbreaking, or vice versa. But right now, this does sound a bit more interesting than the surface phone.
  • I so want this. Bring it on, Microsoft!
  • +1 Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • an xbox lite for your non gaming consumers to have a proper "smart" tv would be a safe deal for microsoft, this thing i cant even think of a use, why not just deploy a bunch of 10" atom tablets around your house
  • I rather call it Windows TV since they're making Xbox branding solely for gaming again, not general entertainment. This is why we don't use Xbox brand anymore for entertainment media. But that's just my take, Xbox TV still make sense. But yeah, we seriously need that since not everybody want and need a gaming console if they just want for smart TV purposes. A Windows TV device would be cheaper than Xbox One S with smaller hardware but have same UX of Xbox One, only without much of the gaming aspects and tweaked to focus on entertainment instead. It would be still possible to play games from Windows Store and Xbox Streaming like PS TV. Even better, the Windows 10 TV operating system used on Windows TV/Xbox TV is open for OEM to be used on their SmartTV. Microsoft has to take a piece in Smart TV market and just don't let Google and Apple dominate this space, which is important if Microsoft to be visible on consumer space.
  • I hope whatever interface they use can be adopted to be used on any display powered by Xbox/Scorpio/Kinect/Cortana.
  • "Apple's iMac" are the market leaders in AiO devices"
    Hahaha, that made me laugh. A giant screen with no touch or biometric authentication.
  • yeah, but 5K display and being a Mac it has its audience, just not in a living room.
  • Yeah I have seen designers buying an iMac and installing Windows on it, just for that screen. So an AIO with high DPI display and windows will be very well recieved by pprofessionals, atleast thats the case here in India. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • 50" windows 10 4k tv i want
  • Sweet...
  • I think I would actually use what this comes out to be
  • An AIO that sits on your desktop where you can tilt and pull the screen down for drawing and other creative purposes would be nice. Whatever MS does, I'm sure it'll have a few surprises like when they revealed the Surface Book.
  • I'm so excited for this. But the question remains. How will they position it? As an AIO PC? A living room smart device a smart tv or something akin to X Box living room features? Gaming akin to XBox? Surface hub but for the consumers? Potentially tho they could throw all of them in here to make up for a killer premium All In One. But knowing Microsoft they will probably be unable to communicate the message properly and will alienate people in the process. My suggestion? They could apply the same approach they do with continuum. A quick action toggle in action center to switch between modes. PC mode. TV mode. X Box mode. Conference Hub mode. Etc. Of course that will mean some complexity merging all these SKUs but isn't that the purpose of Universal platform? Shouldn't the OS platform SKUs itself be universal given enough leeway which such a large screen device can certainly provide. As much as I would want to see such a device I would advice Microsoft to just play it safe and place this device as an iMac competitor with stunning industrial design, 5k or better resolution with accurate colours, powerful processing and graphic compute. In the meantime they may want to figure out a way to merge all these SKUs for large screen devices in a stunning UI and UX kind of like what they did with windows 10 for 2in1s.
  • As for pixelsense, I don't know I don't see much utility for it except maybe in kitchen or architects or children doing their homework's or drawing/painting. It's good for a minority report esque show off but not very practical and usability limiting. At least not right now. But it's not to say that such an interaction model can't exist in future. Microsoft has touch and holographics oriented UWP platform which with advent of real holograms may work with pixelsense tabletop form factors. As of right now Microsoft needs to do what it did with surface hardware. Innovate category defining orientations. Like with 360°/detachable hinges and stand they introduced different modes like tent and tablet mode for PCs. Similarly with AIO they could use foldable legs, stand and wheels for different orientations. Like a canvas mode standing on two legs, or a table mode standing on four legs, or a table top mode propped flat on table, or a desk stand mode on a stand, or a wall hanging TV mode. With powerful processing and graphic compute, high resolution display, synergy with peripherals and other Microsoft devices, Surface Pen and multi touch multi user input support, XBox Controller and Surface Remote support, and mechanical industrial design innovation of Surface team, Microsoft really could put out another categories defining product in Surface family.
  • As I see, I'm not the only one waiting for a Windows 10 TV :D But this will be good too.
  • Hah, that would be interesting but screen size preference would be tricky.
  • Size preference is usually a very personal thing. Some people like big, some like small
  • I could go for a Dell XPS 60" AIO. My 27" has been amazing for me.
  • Yeah I got one of those already. Plugged a $99 Lenovo compute stick into the living room TV. No touch screen though.
  • Windows 10 TV as an OS or hardware or both? They should really enter to SmartTV space by releasing a lite version Xbox but just call it Windows TV with Windows 10 TV OS that basically a stripped down and redesigned Xbox One Dashboard. Microsoft can also license the OS for any SmartTV OEM interested to use Windows 10 TV OS instead of other solution.
  • In the Surface Lab video tour they showed a lot of examples of wood material in sizes that could be used for keyboards. I'm wondering if they are using wood for this AIO. Also, I hope there will be some sort of connection between the Xbox One / Project Scorpio for additional processing power for games and professional software (video or 3D rendering). Possible names:
    - Surface One
    - Surface Station
    - Surface Home
  • PixelSense along with the McLaren rumored 3D touch are interesting. I hope we can see Microsoft apply this in a relevant way and by that I just mean in a way users can find useful.  Whether or not this is a table PC or something, I'm not sure and don't particularly care, but I do hope it serves its purpose in inspiring further adoption/evolution of the Windows 10 ecosystem.  I may not be so excited for mobile (and specifically something produced by Microsoft), due to well, the last several years of owning one... but I am excited for Windows 10 as a whole.
  • In the PixelSense video, he described it as cameras in the display. Makes me wonder, is it possible for some hacker to use your display as a webcam? Regarding what I'd expect from a Surface in my living room, I wouldn't buy such device. I've replaced most of my Desktop needs with my Surface Pro + Docking Station. All that's left is simply adding a Thunderbolt port on the Surface Pro, making it capable of handling external PCIE Desktop-class graphics when docked. Unless this replaces living room TV (without any privacy-ingasion concerns) and can double as an external touch-and-pen-equipped Monitor for my Surface Pro, I wouldn't consider it. Posted from my OnePlus One.
  • Best case I can think of to bring back Media Center (yeah yeah I know its a dead horse.. )
  • Am guessing this will launch with together with the surface phone
  • Surface TV?
  • I already got my DELL Inspiron with swiveling arm....too late Surface. My comment doesn't matter anyway.
  • Exactly. I use inspirion at work.
    Never used the touch function. In fact its a hindrance when you have a discussion with someone and point to the screen only to drag something accidentally.
  • Maybe in your little world. Some of us like touch. I guess you are a glass is always empty kinda guy.
  • Well when the batteries go out in your Bluetooth mouse and keyboard I bet touch comes in handy.
  • Not really. Autodesk still haven't bothered to make their programs touch friendly, which I fail to understand.
    It would be good to take a Surface 4 with Revit 2017 model to site instead of a PDF version and be able to rotate a building model in a discussion.
  • Oh no... "elegant design" again... All Microsoft's products except xbox are changing to this boring silver+white combinations... I miss colorful "nebula" design of old Lumias (L920/730/830/1520) and if next wave of Lumia phones will folow this boring iPhone-like phylosophy I will probably leave Microsoft's ecosystem...
  • Yeah man what you're asking for didn't sell. If I were you, I'd start packing bags
  • Bye Felicia!
  • This is literally what I want. I have a surface pro 1 but I just use it to stream to my tv. Having this right on my living room table brings the surface closer to me (currently sits under my tv) and gives me a larger screen to like, do stuff. Since im not buying a phone this fall, I'll buy this CASH if its real