Is a living room Surface All in One really what we want or need?

Kip Kniskern

Last week, news broke that Microsoft may be working on a Surface All in One, combining a full size PC display with a small computer in a stylish (hopefully) package.

The initial reports came from the sometimes dubious DigiTimes, saying that Microsoft is cooperating with upstream supply chain players to develop a new All in One device, to be launched sometime in the second half of this year. That news was then augmented with a new report by Windows Central, saying that they had confirmed the reports, and that Microsoft was aiming the new devices at the living room.

Surface placeholders – “coming soon”

Finally, Shubhan Chemburkar, a developer from Pune, India visiting the Redmond campus as one of the finalists of a Windows Insider Continuum contest, snapped a couple of pictures inside Microsoft’s Building 88 showing 3 placeholders for new Surface devices “coming in 2017”, and, significantly, one “coming in 2016”

So it looks like we may indeed be getting a new Surface in the form of an All in One, coming presumably this holiday season.

Now, I argued with some of my colleagues when the news first broke that a “Surface Hub Mini,” a smaller and more affordable version of Microsoft’s $8-10,000 collaboration devices, might be a useful tool for small businesses or small groups within larger businesses.  Bringing the power of the Surface Hub to a more entry level price point could widen the scope of the Surface Hub, and I still think that would be an interesting idea.

However, do we really need a Surface PC in the living room? You can get a 55″ 4K TV from Best Buy right now for $699, and most living rooms already have some type of media-entertainment center set up, usually with a large screen. What good is a PC sized screen going to do in the living room?

Too large to hold in your lap to control your big screen and what’s on it or use as a secondary screen to tweet out inappropriate Game of Thrones spoilers, too small to gather around and watch, an All in One PC in the living room, while it may be coming soon, doesn’t seem to make much sense. Sure, it will bring touch and Windows 10 to the couch, but so would a Surface Phone, in a much more usable form factor.

What do you think, do you need a Surface All In One in your living room?