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The £5,000 Windows Vista coffee table

If you’re like me, your coffee table holds anything but coffee. In my house, it’s dominated by magazines, remote controls and CDs. But how about a coffee table that holds those three things virtually, therefore without the clutter? Enter Microsoft’s Milan ‘coffee table’ PC.

As we’ve discussed here, Milan is designed to fulfil a number of functions, but at up to £5,000 a pop there’s no surprise it’s being targeted at leisure, hospitality and retail environments, rather than the home, initially. T-Mobile, for example, plans several in-store Milan kiosks that allow customers to check out products via the intuitive touchscreen display.

Touchscreens seem to be the technology of the moment – already this year Apple has announced the touchscreen-enabled iPhone – due to go on sale in the US in June, and the UK later this year – while HP has launched the TouchSmart PC (see our TouchSmart review).

Microsoft believes touchscreens are the natural way to control many applications and you could see media centre PCs being controlled in this way.

The touchscreen-enabled Milan might also be a convenient way to pick songs while relaxing on the couch – no need to hunt for the remote control, use the built-in Music application Microsoft is including with Milan. It even interacts wirelessly with digital cameras and the Zune media player. According to Microsoft you could place either device on the surface of the screen and Milan will download content automatically. And all for just £5,000!

Clearly this is not destined for our homes anytime soon, but a number of large companies in the US have already placed orders, so that should help Microsoft test market acceptance and the usability of the device.

But, in the meantime, the rest of us will have to settle for Ikea's finest.

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