Windows 7: Getting in Touch With Touch

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The new OS’s support for touchscreens should encourage a fl urry of third-party applications.

BEFORE WINDOWS 7, touchscreen support wasn’t part of the Windows operating system itself. Instead, all-in-one PC vendors used stopgaps ranging from HP’s elegant TouchSmart suite of software to kludgy touchscreen apps from MSI and Asus. But Microsoft’s new OS supports touch gestures, and PC manufacturers are likely to take advantage of the growing popularity of touchscreen interfaces. By the time Microsoft releases Windows 7, we should see quite a few announcements for multitouch all-inone
PCs and laptops, with more due in 2010. The evolution of touch on Windows 7 owes a lot to Microsoft’s collaboration with touchpad maker Synaptics to standardize on common gestures between touchpad and screen. “The experience on the screen should be the same on the touchpad,” explains Ted Theocheung, a general manager at Synaptics. “We talked with Microsoft to eliminate this Wild West of gestures.” Since 2008 his company’s Synaptics Gesture Suite software has supported gestures on touchpads. Apple introduced gesturebased navigation on its notebooks in 2008. According to Theocheung, the basic gestures used for navigation will be a limited, shared set. “It’s all about helping with basic navigation—pinch for zoom in and out, a gesture to rotate objects and images, and scrolling gestures with two fi ngers to move the screen up and down, or left and right.” Due out this fall, Synaptics‘ Gesture Suite 9.4 will introduce gestures that you can use on both the touchpad and the touchscreen.

The final features of Synaptics’ latest multitouch-capable Gesture Suite software were not available at press time, but you can expect Gesture Suite 9.4 to support a series of three- and four-finger gestures (Apple’s newer laptops support four-fi nger gestures that
relate to system commands). Windows 7 will support scrolling and reverse-scrolling by touch, so you can move two fi ngers down the screen to scroll downward, or move them up the screen to scroll upward. Software developers can map gesture commands from the touchscreen to the touchpad. (Today, the rotation maps to a keystroke command.)

Source of Information : PC World November 2009

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