Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Microsoft Lets You Look AND Touch

Microsoft executives last night demonstrated the user interface for Windows 7, which will bring touch-screen technology to PCs.

At the Wall Street Journal’s annual D6 meeting, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and chief executive Steve Ballmer said that “multi-touch” will give customers the ability to use their fingers to control their screens, as opposed to existing mice, keyboard and pen-based user controls. This capability is similar to what is seen in Mac OS X products like the Apple iPhone and iPod touch.

Microsoft’s multitouch technology was originally developed for Microsoft's tabletop Surface device, which is used by hotels and casinos. According to Gates, the technology represents the beginning of computing based on a new generation of input systems, such as "speech, gesture, vision, ink."

A key feature of the technology allows for multiple touches simultaneously; for instance, dragging five fingers across a screen would draw five separate lines. The executives said this technology is perfect for editing digital photos and navigating Internet-mapping services.

Ballmer said Windows 7 will arrive in late 2009.

A video demonstration of Windows 7's multi-touch capabilities is available for viewing on the Microsoft blog.

-- Michelle Savage

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