I thought the MS Surface table computer prototype was pretty laughable, but they've managed to take the awkwardness up a notch with the Sphere prototype. All of the wonderful distortion of a spherical projection, combined with the limited shared visible space around the sphere to impede collaboration. Wonderful. So now I can view a distorted photograph, but the person next to me sees an oblique partially obscured view of the same photograph - unless they're on the other side of the sphere, then they see nothing. And vice versa.

[caption id="attachment_2023" align="aligncenter" width="320" caption="try to collaborate with one of these. i dare you."][/caption]

It's surprising, because there is some seriously cool technology under the hood, using the projector lens to detect multitouch control gestures. But they just don't seem to get what a touch interface can really do. It's not about flinging photographs around. It's about providing an adaptable interface that conforms itself to what you need to do at that moment. MS seems to get hung up on the metaphor of the projection device - flat == table, curved == sphere - rather than focusing on what a truly dynamic touch interface can do.