Microsoft

Microsoft provides a touch of Windows 7 at D6 conference

On Tuesday, in a joint keynote conversation at the D: All Things Digital conference, Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer provided the audience with a preview of Windows 7, including new multi-touch features that will be built into the operating system.

Last year, the D: All Things Digital conference delivered a historic joint appearance between Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. This year it delivered the first serious look at Windows 7.

On Tuesday, in a joint keynote conversation at D6, Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer provided the audience with a preview of Windows 7, including new multitouch features that will be built into the operating system. Although Microsoft talked about a few other features in Windows 7, multitouch stole the show.

"It's much faster to do certain tasks than using a mouse," said Microsoft Corporate Vice President Julie Larson-Green, who demonstrated Microsoft's multitouch technology at D6.

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Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the book, Follow the Geeks.

8 comments
danponjican
danponjican

Touch input interfaces are long overdue. I think this is a good move and will welcome it but I am still looking for MS Speech Server. Where is speech-to-text technology in our "high-tech" and "innovative" MS OS releases???

norb_houston
norb_houston

Id be more interested to see the minimum reqs for 7. Id imagine that itll go up again from the base of Vistas and require users to upgrade yet again......

pctyson
pctyson

The hardware comapnies must love Microsoft. All of the monitors/flat panels that you now own will be in the landfill in two or three years. What about multi-monitors? I can't see how a touch screen is going to be a great improvement. You will need a huge (note EXPENSIVE) touchscreen to replace the functionality of a mulit-monitor setup. The touchscreen has some "wow" features to it but so what? Computer users are going to grow tired of "eye candy" over time. It has become too expensive to try and keep up with the latest and greatest. This is especially true when we realize that what we already have is still wroking fine (ex: Windows XP). People want a simple computer setup that just works. One day they will build one like that. Oh yeah that's right they have. It is called a Mac.

nepenthe0
nepenthe0

Frankly, I'm disappointed. There was speculation that Windows 7 would revert to the familiar XP user interface, but [i]modular[/i] so that one could selectively install those features likely to be actually used and useful. Instead, we hear about something utterly irrelevant. If I wanted touch-pad functionality, I don't have to wait for Windows 7. Those of us (millions, actually) who have become familiar and facile with XP are awaiting further developments with considerable unease. I am [b]not[/b] willing to endure another Vista roll-out, which cost me weeks of utter frustration until I jettisoned Vista and reinstalled XP Pro. Now that XP's demise is officially pronounced (it will disappear from software shelves in exactly 1 month), I'll be seriously considering Apple if Windows 7 isn't leaner, faster, simpler, and thoroughly debugged. Rick/Portland, OR

Mycah Mason
Mycah Mason

I don't really see this as a breakthrough. Advantages: Looks cool/fun, multiple simultaneous touchpoints (makes for advanced UI features). Disadvantages: Fingerprints on your screen, you have to use two hands (clunky/slow). Also, most of these features can already be perfomred with a mouse with the scrolling wheel or click and drag. The only feature that might be trickier is the rotating feature. However, that would not be a difficult feature to build into a mouse and a simple driver update. I like the software, but the touchscreen seems like overkill to me. Touchscreens have already been around awhile and not been too popular. It just seems to clunky/slow for it to be productive, that's why so many of us stick to keyboard shortcuts ...no wasting time switching between input devices (slow). I think it's an interesting concept and has some great usfulness for some specific applications (gaming etc.), but for the mainstream ...nah.

LBiege
LBiege

Am I the only one thinking that moving a cursor w/ a mouse is actually more convenient that moving your finger on screen?

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

Touch screen is one of those things that looks very cool and impressive in a demo but when you start thinking about people using it for everyday tasks, it starts to breakdown because it is a radical departure from the current work style - and it is difficult to see how it makes UI faster, in most cases. Very interesting stuff, but it will be a novelty until someone figures out how it will make a UI faster and easier for the average user.

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