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Windows 7 Beta 1 Multi-Touch Is Much Improved



ntrig I documented my experience with the Windows 7 pre-beta, N-Trig’s Win 7 multi-touch driver, and the Dell Latitude XT Tablet PC back in November. Most folks will remember that experience as being pretty lousy.

Well, there is finally some good news to report. I just finished installing Windows 7 Beta 1 and the latest N-Trig multi-touch drivers for Windows 7 on the XT, and I’m pleased to report that the experience is much improved. Picture zooming,   rotations, zooming in web page, etc are all much smoother and I what I expected when I first tested it. Zooming could be still be improved, but it is much better than the pre-beta. In addition, there is no vectoring when switching from pen to touch, inking, etc. (See update below) This feels like a solid multi-touch experience. Microsoft and N-Trig should be commended.

There are no N-Trig dialog feedback dialogs, and no N-Trig control panel options other than an About panel. Windows 7 has clearly taken over the multi-touch experience from beginning to end.

I’ll be working up an InkShow to show off the changes. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: I don’t know what happened to allow my pen to work, but according to N-Trig’s documentation, pen functionality isn’t supported in this latest beta release. After a reboot or two, my pen functionality stopped working. Oh well, at least it is working according to the documentation. I’ll probably keep testing it out, then revert back to the version that supports the pen. The touch functionality is greatly improved, though.



  1. Joe

    01/12/2009 at 8:33 pm

    Pen support is back in the Multitouch drivers now then?

  2. Antimatter

    01/12/2009 at 8:37 pm

    The release notes say pen doesn’t work still; how are you using it?

  3. Rob Bushway

    01/12/2009 at 8:58 pm

    well, after reboot my pen stopped working ( which is correct according to the documentation). So, no – pen is not supported in this version, and it doesn’t look like I’ll be able to test that aspect anymore.

    I was using the pen, though….very odd.

  4. Joe

    01/12/2009 at 9:13 pm

    i decided to try it out myself to see how much of an improvement, and wow, you’re right. Accuracy is so much better than the previous win 7 beta.

  5. SH

    01/13/2009 at 10:48 am

    Multitouch zooming, etc is super smooth
    only regret is that the pen functionality becomes very unreliable.
    Win7 is amazing!

  6. Patrick Moorhead

    01/13/2009 at 9:28 pm

    Rob, how would you compare the speed and accuracy of the Win7 multitouch to an iTouch or Storm?

  7. Rob Bushway

    01/13/2009 at 10:39 pm

    I don’t have much experience with the storm, but I do with the iPhone / iPod Touch.

    You’ll need to define accuracy – the keyboard response and visual feedback is, in my opinion, better in Windows 7 than the iPhone – bigger keys, better visual feedback – keyboard is resizeable and auto adjusts to the location of the character.

    Zooming a webpage is more fluid on the iPhone than on Windows 7. Panning and scrolling is on par with iPhone, maybe slightly be better than the iPhone, due to back and forwards – quite accurate and good sensitivity controls. The boundary feedback is quite nice too.

    Zooming a picture is on par with the iPhone.

    overall, though, I think the experience slighly more polished on the iPhone, but give the team some time, I think it will be darn close.

    I love having right click options available to me on touch, and that is where windows 7 exceeds the iPhone for sure.

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