Microsoft Will Mass-Produce Its Big-Ass Touchscreens

Remember the Big-Ass Table? Microsoft isn’t done making huge slabs of touch-capable screen, it turns out. The company’s Stephen Elop announced this week that Microsoft intends to “mass-produce” its Perceptive Pixel (PPI) displays, which are touch-enabled and can stretch to up to 82 inches in size.

ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley reported the quote, which Microsoft confirmed to TechCrunch.

Microsoft bought Perceptive Pixel in 2012. The purchase brought the software company the ability to build large — very large — touchscreens that suited its Windows 8 push well. However, the screens saw limited commercial uptake, so far as I have been able to tell (they did become what I can only call internal status symbols at Microsoft — if you could get one for your office on campus, it meant something).

Microsoft’s intention to mass-produce the hardware means that it will sell touch-based screens of all sizes. With its Nokia hardware purchase, Microsoft sells touchscreens that are best suited for your pocket. With Surface, touch screens that fit best inside your backpack. And with PPI displays, touch screens that can only fit on a huge slab of open wall.

Elop didn’t elaborate on price, but we do have some data to go on. As I reported in early 2013 from Microsoft’s campus:

And the prices [of PPI displays] are coming down. The 55 inch PPI display, according to Microsoft’s Eric Rudder, the Chief Technical Strategy Officer at the firm, will run you around $7,000 at present. In conversation on Microsoft’s Redmond campus, Eric indicated that he was working to quickly lower the price of the displays.

They will ride the lessening cost curve of the television set world, it would seem. This puts the 55 inch PPI but a few generations from being affordable enough for the average enthusiast. The 82 inch behemoth will likely take longer, but the question of its affordability is a when, not if question.

So what price can we expect? Make your own guess, but we could be just a few generational cycles away from being able to afford putting a frakkin massive touchscreen display in our homes.

I always found Windows 8 to be a far more enjoyable experience on a PPI than any other display size — almost as if the operating system were designed for more screen real estate.

Windows 9, it seems, will be different.