The 80-inch Windows 8 tablet computer used by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer could be coming to a meeting room near you. According to Microsoft, the company will be selling the device to businesses in the near future.
“Steve Ballmer has an 80-inch Windows 8 tablet in his office,” said Microsoft vice president Frank Shaw in a recent interview with Wired’s UK division. “He’s got rid of his phone, he’s got rid of his note paper. It’s touch-enabled and it’s hung on his wall.”
Shaw went on to say that Ballmer uses the device as a whiteboard and to check his email.
Finally, he told Wired that Microsoft plans to sell the device soon.
This isn’t the first 80-inch tablet shown off by Microsoft. Back in January the company showed off a Microsoft-powered Sharp Aquos touchscreen display at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. However, Shaw says that this new device is being produced by someone other than Sharp. He did not provide further details on the manufacturer.
It’s not yet clear when Microsoft will make its giant tablet computer available to consumers, though Shaw did indicate that it will be marketed at businesses first. However, if it proves popular enough with the suits, it could make its way into the homes of consumers.
“It’s not a consumer thing now, but we know historically that that’s how all things start,” Shaw noted. “The idea that there should be a screen that’s not a computer, we’ll laugh at that in two years.”
Given the rather tepid response of consumers to Windows 8, the release of new and unique devices like this one could arouse some much-needed interest in the upcoming operating system.
In fact, Microsoft should be considering releasing its 80-inch tablet alongside Windows 8, which is expected to ship sometime this fall.
Shaw did make clear that Microsoft sees great potential for touchscreen devices moving forward. “Every screen should be touch, every screen should be a computer and should be able to see out as well as see in,” Shaw said.