updated 03:25 pm EST, Wed December 12, 2007
Windows 7 Multi-Touch
Microsoft's next version of Windows will support complex multi-touch features, according to a claim by company test engineer Hilton Locke. So far referred to only as Windows 7, the operating system will receive a Windows Technology update that should allow multiple points of contact and significantly more complex input options than the iPhone. Users of the Apple handset will be "blown away" by the additions to Windows, Locke hints without providing specific details.
The allusion confirms Microsoft's increasing focus on touchscreen devices. The company has long been a proponent of tablet PCs and touch input in Windows Mobile but has typically only provided control through a single point of contact and has largely designed its interfaces around a stylus rather than fingers. The Windows developer gave its first signs of a change in approach with the introduction of its Surface table, which relies on a series of hidden camera sensors to recognize several points at once as well as inanimate objects with embedded tags. A related technology has also been demonstrated in a notebook prototype but is not confirmed for shipping computers.
Dell today also revealed that its new Latitude XT tablet has a capacitive touchscreen that accepts multi-touch input without a stylus, though it notes that implementing the feature in current versions of Windows will require drivers and support from end-user programs themselves to work properly. [via ZDNet]