Next Windows operating system to use multi-touch technology

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windows_7_multitouch.jpgSpeaking at the opening night of Wall Street Journal’s “D: All Things Digital” conference in Southern California yesterday, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates and fellow exec Steve Ballmer had a few things to share about the next step for the Windows platform. They were restrained when quizzed about the faults in the current OS, Vista, but acknowledged that in hindsight something could have been done better.

They then offered up a little peek at what Windows 7 (which we expect will be called something much more exciting like Windows Seascape or Windows Sunsettingbehindatropicalisland), a product not actually scheduled to ship until the end of 2009. With Vista proving that ‘looking pretty’ doesn’t necessarily make for a great computing experience, what can Windows 7 give us to get us excited? A multi-touch-sensitive interface.

Funny, I could have sworn that something like that has been around before. Can’t think where though.

You can actually see a video of it in action below. If you’ve seen the Windows Table Top PC concept videos before though, you can probably skip over it – it’s basically a lot of the same, but with things that look very much like Google maps instead of colourful blocks.

As has been proved by certain other products that will remain nameless, an effective, accessible touch screen interface, particularly one with multitouch technology, can be an extremely useful tool for computing. However, I think it will take a large leap to take it from mobile devices to home computers, which just aren’t particularly well suited to being used as touchscreen devices in their current layouts.

Laptops, however, have a better chance of making use of such a system and at the very least, a widespread roll out of multi-touch technology on a major Windows platform would inspire some very interesting design changes on the notebook computing front.

Gates and Ballmer were also quizzed about the Yahoo bid and they remained pretty quiet on the subject, sticking to what we already knew already. Ballmer did reiterate that despite early negotiations failing, nothing had been completely ruled out.

Microsoft (via NYTimes)

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