Microsoft's new computer

Touch sensitive Surface.

Microsoft's hardware whiz-kids have unveiled a new computer designed to be used without a mouse and keyboard, GamesIndustry.biz is reporting.

It's called Microsoft Surface and it looks like a coffee table with a 30 inch screen set into the top.

Several people can interact with the screen at once, using their human-paws to manipulate things: to stretch and shrink photos, for example, or plan out a route on a map.

There's no word yet on how the unique creation will feature in the videogame world, but Microsoft did spout that it will be a key part of its "Connected Entertainment" vision.

"[The] entertainment and devices [division] has a long history of bringing innovative product experiences to market - such as Xbox, IPTV and Zune. Today, E&D's vision is anchored in delivering end-to-end hardware, software and services across different pillars of Connected Entertainment, such as music, video, communication and gaming," said E&D executive Tom Gibbons.

"That's exactly what we're doing with Microsoft Surface... The new hardware and software in Surface, along with a predominant focus on the consumer experience, support the Connected Entertainment vision - making entertainment more personal, more interactive and more social."

Gibbons added, "As a new product category, we see the Surface computing group as extending Connected Entertainment to new devices, categories and platforms."

Microsoft Surface will initially roll out through partners such as Starwood Hotels, T-Mobile and Harrah's Entertainment, plus gambling game company International Game Technology. It will be priced at between USD 5000 - 10,000, but Microsoft plans to produce cheaper versions to sell to home users within three to five years.

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