Microsoft today announced with great fanfare that it would be launching a new 30-inch touch sensitive screen coffee table called the Surface, however as the news came in, I couldn't perhaps feel that I'd seen it all before.

It's not a new idea and far from it, Philips last year were touting a touchscreen gaming console that, wait for it, looked like a coffee table and HP even touted one with virtually identical features the previous year to that, called Misto.

Of course if you go back further any kid who found himself in a hotel lobby in Europe has surely played on space invaders on a coffee table while waiting for the rain to clear.

So after all this time are we likely to see them in the home any time soon?

Touchscreen is certainly coming and coming in a big way, at the start of the year it was Apple and the iPhone, HP with its massive 19-inch touchscreen computer for the kitchen and even HTC is expected to launch a new device next week that, wait for it again, will allow you to control it by touching the screen.

It's only natural, we all like to touch to get a better understanding of what we are dealing with, whether it's scattering virtual pictures around a coffee table or reaching out to touch something even if there are signs saying "No touching".

Where Microsoft differs however in today's announcement, is that it has the resources to plough on regardless hoping that the technology will succeed, prices will come down and within 5 years we will all have touchscreen coffee tables in our living rooms and think nothing of it.

Microsoft say that the unit is due to go on sale initially for commercial customers like hotels, shops, restaurants and casinos and would work especially well to order food or drink to your table or provide entertainment like the coffee table we reviewed in the Revolution Bar in the Mirage hotel in Las Vegas.

Taking the commerce stage one step further T-Mobile stores in the States will be allowing customers will place a handset they like the look of on the table to find out more.

Of course Microsoft has tried this before and failed - the Tablet PC hasn't exactly been a crowning success, although manufacturers are slowly trying to push the technology on us once more in the vain hope that now touch is groovy again, we'll grab it with open arms.

Whether you like it or not for now the future doesn’t seem to be about voice, but all about touch, so who's up for getting all touchy feely then?