Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Promethean introduces its table-sized tablet just as Microsoft distances itself from its version

MindShift reports that Promethean has just introduced a table with an integrated 46" touchscreen LCD for classroom use called the ActivTable. Up to six students can interact with the device at the same time, and Promethean offers a collection of "activities" designed for four- to 11-year-old children. The ActivTable will sell for $8,000; adding the entire suite of interactive tools can cost as much as $4,000 more.

Promethean's timing is a little off: Microsoft launched a table computer called Surface (yes, that's where the company got the name for its new tablets) in 2008. Samsung took over production of a second-generation version of the device this year, and the same day that Microsoft announced its Surface tablets, it quietly renamed the table computer to PixelSense. The original Surface computer has found a few customers, but by and large, it (and Samsung's version) have been seen as overpriced toys. (Samsung's SUR40 is priced at $8,400.)

If Microsoft's table/computer had ever gotten much market traction, it wouldn't have been possible for the company to adopt its Surface brand name for its new tablets without causing a great deal of market confusion. Given Microsoft's experience, and at its $8,000 price, Promethean's ActivTable is going to have a steep uphill battle for sales.
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