German software company mirabyte is stepping into the game of making Windows more touch-friendly with an application called FrontFace. It is similar to other UI overlays, such as Thinix Touch and Microsoft’s Origami, but they seem to be emphasizing web integration.
Not a whole lot of information on functionality yet, nor are they at a beta testing stage. The launch screen is much like iOS with a big page of neatly arranged icons. I like the taskbar on the right side (this is where I put my taskbar in Windows), but the title bar at the top wastes a lot of precious space. They state in their UI description that the design accommodates small screens of netbooks and the like, but aside from the buttons and shortcuts on the side, I’m not so sure it’s an improvement over the single bar in Windows 7. Their notification center description indicates pop-up notifications will appear in the top bar, so it may prove useful for that.
There’s also no indication of any touch-specific control options. Their description of the web page interface mentions swipes to scroll up and down, but I see the web pages still include wide scrollbars. Pinch to zoom is also cited, but all these gestures are built into premium versions of Windows. They’re not showing us anything really special here.
But again, FrontFace is still being laid out at this point. We’ll wait and see where they go with it from here.
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