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What's New in Microsoft Surface 2.0

The Microsoft Surface 2.0 platform has expanded and improved the user interface with a redesigned Attract application and application launcher that have a modern, uncluttered look and feel. In addition to the updated end-user experience, the Surface platform has been optimized for more stream-lined system administration, and the Surface SDK provides an improved developer experience with new tools, integration with Microsoft Visual Studio 2010, and more flexible APIs that simplify object and tag registration.

This topic outlines key areas of change and includes links to more detailed information so you can explore these enhancements further:

Improved Manageability

Surface 2.0 manageability was streamlined both for the experienced IT professional who is managing devices made for Surface as part of a large, heterogeneous network, and for the venue employee who may not be as familiar with Windows networking and system administration. The following is a list of manageability improvement highlights:

  • Surface Configuration Editor    A tool with a graphical user interface that you can use to perform most of the common Surface configuration tasks, such as customizing the Attract application and Launcher appearance, or adding customized text for error screens and out-of-order screens. For more information about the configuration tasks you can perform with this tool, see Surface Configuration Editor.

  • Standard Windows 7 Operating System   Surface software is deployed on a standard installation of the Windows 7 operating system, which means that administrators can use their existing skillsets to manage devices made for Surface. In addition, all of the process monitoring and memory management capabilities that are available with Windows 7 are also available with Surface. For more information, see Administration Overview.

  • "Out of the box" touch experience   You no longer need to attach an external keyboard and mouse to make minor adjustments to a device made for Surface. Instead you can use the Surface on-screen display and keyboard to perform common tasks, such as adjusting display brightness and speaker volume. This makes quick adjustments easy during busy times at crowded public venues. For more information, see Adjusting Surface by Using the On-Screen Display.

Enhanced End-User Experience

The user experience has been completely redesigned for Surface 2.0, offering a trim, sleek look and new opportunities for customization and branding. For more information about the look and feel of the Surface 2.0 end-user experience, see Interacting with Surface. For information about customization and branding opportunities, see Attract Application Configuration Tasks and Configuring Launcher.

Updated Application Development Framework

The Microsoft Surface 2.0 SDK presents new and improved developer tools, new input drivers, new APIs, Visual Studio 2010 integration including templates, samples and design time controls. For detailed information about these changes, see the Microsoft Surface 2.0 SDK documentation on the MSDN website.

Of interest to Surface administrators, the way Surface 2.0 handles tags and tagged objects (loyalty cards or game pieces like checkers) has been significantly simplified. As a result, Surface no longer differentiates between byte tags and identity tags and registering objects with Surface Shell has also been updated. In Surface 2.0, you can simply edit an XML file to register objects with Surface Shell and no longer need to edit the registry. For more information about the updated object registration process, see Configuring Object Routing.

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