Fans of Microsoft's Surface multitouch table now have another set of venues at which to paw over it, as the company rolls out the interactive touchscreen device in several Sheraton hotel lobbies. As of today, select hotels in New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle will all be getting Surface together with a suite of customized applications that includes music, guidance about the city and travel information.
Promo video of the Sheraton Surface in action after the cut
Of the features, the most useful is likely to be CityTips, which has 360-degree satellite maps and tools to search for local restaurants and bars, entertainment, recreation, shopping, transportation and services, such as banks and pharmacies. There's also the ability to listen to Sony BMG artists, turning the Surface into a touchscreen jukebox, and browse information and galleries of other Sheraton hotels. Sadly the cross-Surface interaction features seen in the Rio iBar implementation don't appear to have been included.
Surface uses an internal projector and cameras to track multiple points of contact touching its horizontal display. Previously Microsoft has demonstrated it with photo and video browsing, together with games. You can see our hands-on demonstrations here and here. The company also recently introduced a spherical version, although as of yet this has not been installed in any public locations.