updated 11:55 am EDT, Thu March 26, 2009
Windows 7 Touch Logo
Microsoft has outlined plans to standardize Windows 7's multi-touch support across PCs. Called the Windows Touch logo program, the approach will test displays for their accuracy and responsiveness to ensure that users can perform the same finger-based commands on any system, including tapping some smaller on-screen buttons, pinching to zoom, or rotating. The program would reward PC makers for providing truly accurate touch input.
In addition to the program, Microsoft also notes that there will be three classes of apps that support touch in Windows 7. Every app will have at least basic support for scrolling and simple zoom, but a mid-level of software will also have simple recognition of touch by stopping scrolling at certain points or having more touch-friendly input points. Fully-aware apps will recognize more complex gestures, including custom controls.
Microsoft expects more active involvement in the Windows 7 Touch program by the time the Windows 7 Release Candidate build is available, which is informally due in May. The company has lately posted a similar timeframe on its TechNet download page for the future OS.
The update shows multi-touch becoming an increasingly important aspect of the operating system, which has Microsoft under pressure to deliver advanced touchscreen support before Apple. The latter already has multi-touch support through the trackpad but so far limits its touchscreen input to its years-old Inkwell technology.