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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.




  1. JimAtLaw

    02/02/2009 at 8:01 pm

    I know of at least one very significant ISV already working on updating its apps for multi-touch, but with MS shifting the Windows 7 release up by months, I imagine a lot of developers will be caught off-guard and the apps to take good advantage of multi-touch availability may trail by a bit.

    Of course, I would just love to be surprised to the contrary, and anyone who can get good multi-touch stuff out the door fast may have a nontrivial first mover advantage among the few people who actually have multi-touch enabled Windows machines. (Hey, every market share point counts, and you need to do it eventually anyway, so why not now! ;-)

  2. Loren Heiny

    02/03/2009 at 1:01 am

    Jim, my prediction is that we’ll see a fair number of touch and multi-touch applications this year for Windows 7, Surface, and of course the iPhone. If multi-touch drivers make it to Linux, I bet we’ll see multi-touch apps there too, though rich touch support on a Linux-based webpad or similar is more likely first. Touch is one of the “in” things.

  3. Chad

    02/03/2009 at 1:14 pm

    Excellent!!! what problem is multi-touch solving? The fact that zooming was too difficult, or rotating. Other than image manipulation what use is multi touch? I don’t mean to be overly negative, I am really curious…

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