Dell unveils alternative to Microsoft's Surface Studio
Microsoft’s Surface Studio has garnered lots of attention, especially from creative professionals, for its innovative take on the computing experience. This attention is well deserved as the Surface Studio looks to be a game changer for digital artists, content creators, photographers, and others. However, Microsoft isn’t the only company looking to improve the digital environment for creative professionals.
Earlier this week at the Adobe MAX conference in San Diego, CA, Dell teased a new device dubbed the Smart Desk. The Smart Desk aims to "[revolutionize] the productivity of digital artists, engineers, architects, and scientific analysts operating high-performance professional applications with the introduction of a new interactive zone," according to Dell's community blog. Dell has been working on this product since 2014.
While the Smart Desk appears similar to the Surface Studio, it has notable differences. The Surface Studio is an all-in-one device consisting of a base containing the PC components and a large touch-enabled monitor attached via a hinged stand. Users of the Surface Studio can position the display at an almost flat angle, seating it in a position more apt for drawing and touch input. Dell’s device has two distinct pieces: a large tablet used for stylus and touch input, and a stand alone monitor. Users will interact with the tablet portion, similar to using a Wacom Cintiq device, while the separate display will show the results. Several use cases were shown in a promotional ad, including a video editor scrubbing through a timeline to make cuts and edits on the tablet while the monitor displayed the actual video.
The LCD tablet features "ten-plus finger touch," which Dell hopes will encourage multiple users to work around a single device. With such a large workspace available, Dell says the device "allows for multiple desks to be clustered around specific projects," allowing for collaborative creation.
The promotional video also revealed a device similar to Microsoft’s Surface Dial. Dell’s dial appears to have the same functionality as the Surface Dial, allowing users to do things like selecting colors from a wheel interface. The dial has also been in development since 2014.
The Smart Desk is technically still in the concept phase. There is currently no information for pricing, specs, or availability. Even the name “Smart Desk” isn’t official at this point. Dell plans to formally announce the Smart Desk at CES in January of 2017.