Later today, Microsoft is expected to show prototypes of a coffee table-shaped computer that eliminates the need for mouse or keyboard.
The Microsoft Surface, due to be demonstrated at today's "D: All Things Digital" conference, features a 30-inch display under a plastic tabletop. Users can touch or move objects on the screen.
In addition, the screen recognises and interacts with devices placed on its surface. This includes things like cellular phones, which users would be able to place on the display and update information or download data.
Microsoft plans to manufacture the computer itself, selling initially to corporate users for between $5 000.00 and $10 000.00. Within a few years, the price should reach consumer levels, along with various different formats.
Steve ballmer, chief executive of Microsoft, said in a statement: "We see this as a multibillion dollar category, and we envision a time when surface computing technologies will be pervasive, from tabletops and counters to the hallway mirror."