Loren Heiny: Will the multi-touch ecosystem be ready for Windows 7 launch?

Loren Heiny is up to his old tricks asking probing and insightful questions again. With talk about Windows 7 moving from beta to a Release Candidate as the next public effort, he’s wondering if we’ll see hardware and drivers that make the cut for multi-touch when Windows 7 goes Gold and actually ships. Good article. But then when Loren starts probing they inevitably are.

On the notebook/Tablet PC side it appears that the N-Trig digitizer is the only game in town for now for most of us since the HP Tx2 and the Dell Latitude Tablet PC both use it. However, N-Trig has been very slow to make a driver available for Windows 7. The good news is that N-Trig has available a multi-touch beta driver on its site. The bad news is that the driver still shows issues with multi-touch on at least the Dell Latitude I’m testing it with and worse yet the driver does not support the Tablet PC pen.

Yes, Windows 7 is still in beta, but as Steven Sinofsky points out, Microsoft’s engineering team is ready to lock down their code with RC1, and so for developers and users like myself without a good multi-touch driver available it means that essentially Microsoft is getting very little feedback on multi-touch before locking down and shipping Windows 7.