Touch is the future, we’re told. It’s been incredibly successful for the iPhone, and it’s available on the HP TouchSmart and the Dell Latitude XT. But the announcement that Microsoft will build multi-touch controls into its Windows 7 operating system means it will become widespread.
The word is that Apple is also planning touch in its Snow Leopard OS update.
Microsoft has launched a Windows Touch Logo program, intended to let consumers know when a computer has been optimized for the new system.
Windows Touch will features controls familiar to iPhone users, like tap, double tap, drag, scroll, zoom, flick and rotate.
In a posting on the Windows 7 engineering blog, the Touch development team wrote:
"Quite a few folks have been a little skeptical of touch, often commenting about having fingerprints on their monitor or something along those lines.”
"We think touch will become broadly available as the hardware evolves."
Chris Bernard, who’s a Microsoft user interface evangelist, told the BBC:
"Windows 7 will help take touch into the mainstream.”
"While Surface and machines running Windows 7 are different devices we have evolved a common vocabulary of touch.”
"Gesture and touch are the two biggest changes to how we interact with our computers since the launch of the first Graphical User Interface, and the use of the keyboard and mouse."
Some programs, like Windows Media Center and Internet Explorer, will be optimized for touch, even those that are ‘touch unaware’ will have some degree of touch control.
A release candidate for Windows 7 is due at the end of May, and the full release is expected early next year.