Surface Dial could be a wireless remote for Surface PCs and artists

Surface Book
Surface Book (Image credit: Windows Central)

File this under speculation but recent information about a 'Surface Dial' and patents were revealed this morning in addition to Surface Studio. While the latter makes sense for an all-in-one Surface PC, many heads are scratching on what 'Surface Dial' could be.

A few weeks ago, Leon Zandman found references in the Windows 10 code for a radial controller that "can be paired and has haptics" for feedback. Twitter user WalkingCat posted some of the references as well speculating RadialController could be the software for Surface Dial.

References in Windows 10 for a 'RadialController'

References in Windows 10 for a 'RadialController'

Interestingly, back in June, Christian Jolicoeur tweeted an image of his Windows 10 Settings following an Insider update. The image references settings for 'Wheel' under Devices that are usually paired with a PC e.g. Mouse, Printers, Bluetooth, etc. The description of the app says:

Use the wheel with your left hand and the pen with your right hand

There is also a toggle for Vibrate i.e. the haptic feedback references noted above.

Could this be the Surface Dial?

Could this be the Surface Dial?

Christian goes on to speculate that maybe this device is similar to Wacom's Express Key Remote, which has "17 customizable buttons" and a "Touch Ring" that "allows for instant one-touch access to timesaving shortcuts in all your favorite creative applications." That device is primarily aimed at graphics professionals and acts like a handheld shortcut for frequently used features.

Putting all those clues together and it seems as if Surface Dial is a handheld device for an artist to streamline their actions. The Wacom express Key Remote retails for $99, and that seems in line with what Microsoft would charge for a similar feature for its Surface line, including that new Studio-centric PC.

Surface Dial could be similar to Wacom's Express Remote

Surface Dial could be similar to Wacom's Express Remote

This information also meshes with the Surface Mouse and two Surface Keyboard desktop accessories already discovered.

Of course, with just two days lefts all should be made clear very soon.

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Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.