The last we heard about a consumer-oriented version of Microsoft Surface, Steve Ballmer was saying that the company was trying to get it out ASAP -- which is apparently three years, we've just learned. That's the word from Tom Gibbons, the MS VP in charge of Specialized Devices and Applications, who says Microsoft can "absolutely see how" to get Surface to consumers by 2011, but that it'll try to beat that deadline if possible. Of course, the $10,000 commercial version of Surface still hasn't been released to high-profile customers like T-Mobile and Harrah's, although it's starting to make semi-random promo appearances here and there. Still, though, 2011? We're getting pretty sick of old-school Hungry Hungry Hippos here, people -- let's make this happen.

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