Even though it was in its infancy when first unveiled, Microsoft's Surface PC was one of the most drool-worthy concept designs the company has ever created. And although it claimed that consumers shouldn't expect the technology until 2011, the company said on Monday that it could be coming sooner than originally planned.

Speaking to industry analysts, Microsoft's chief executive Steve Ballmer told those listening that his company had received a slew of messages from consumers asking for the technology as soon as possible. Although the firm originally planned to install the Surface PC in restaurants and other service industries first, Ballmer thinks Microsoft should "follow [its] nose" and give consumers what they want.

Pricing still a concern

Unfortunately, Ballmer failed to address one major concern - pricing. According to its most recent estimates, Microsoft expects the Surface PC to cost anywhere between $5,000 to $10,000 depending on its use. And while that price may be suitable for some consumers, the vast majority would balk at such a high cost.

That said, most people believe the Surface PC should live up to its hype. And with an expected ship date that could be much sooner than the original 2011 timeframe, Microsoft's next-generation computer could be worth the extra money.