updated 09:45 pm EDT, Wed March 28, 2012
Company to require five-finger digitizers
Microsoft has shed light on the touchscreen gesture technology that will be implemented in Windows 8, including the hardware requirements that will be necessary for a consistent experience across multiple devices. The company notes that Windows 8 will run on the hardware currently on the market, however upcoming touchscreen PCs built specifically for Windows 8 will be required to integrate five-finger digitizers.
The "fundamental gestures", which were previewed earlier this year at Microsoft's Build conference, will require no more than two fingers. Such gestures provide basic control over interface actions, panning, selection, zoom, rotation, and app or system commands.
Although only two fingers are necessary for core functions, Microsoft admits that two-finger gestures "can be very limiting" for certain applications. To avoid potential limitations, Windows 8 hardware will enable developers to take advantage of five-finger gestures for application input.
"The reason we went in this direction is a response to developer feedback," Microsoft managers wrote in a blog post. "Developers do not want their creativity to be limited, and in particular, they let us know that they want to be free to use whichever multi-finger gestures or controls are useful."
The company has also outlined several specific areas in which older hardware may prove inconsistent. Certain touchscreens on Windows 7 PCs are said to have problems registering individual taps, swipe to select, swipe and slide gestures, and swiping from the edge.
"We can overcome some of these issues with updated drivers, but this is entirely up to the hardware partners to evaluate and support," the company adds.