Microsoft adds touch screen control

Probably one of the worst kept secrets of the IT industry was revealed yesterday by Bill Gates. Microsoft plans to give its next version of Windows touch screen controls.

Chairman Bill Gates and chief executive Steve Ballmer showed off the new Windows features based on software it calls “multi-touch” that will be released as part of Windows 7 due for launch in 2009.

The duo revealed the plans for the new touch interface at Wall Street Journal’s D: All Things Digital – three day conference. Ballmer said touch screen controls was one example of how Microsoft would improve on existing Windows software.

“We are at an interesting juncture where almost all of the interaction is with the computer and mouse, today, and, over the years to come, the role of speech, vision, ink, all of those will become huge,” Mr Gates said.

In a demonstration of touch-screen capabilities to be offered in Windows 7, Microsoft showed a new application called “Touchable Paint” that lets a user paint with their fingers, as well as software to organize photos or navigate maps by touch.

“It is not about complete replacement of the mouse,” Julie Larson-Green, Microsoft’s corporate vice president in charge of Windows Experience Program Management, said in a first-time demonstration of multi-touch features to run inside Windows 7.

meanwhile, Mocrosoft’s latest OS has been slow to find approval with consumers, with many users finding the interface jarring and unresponsive. Ballmer said the company is trying to learn from the Windows Vista response so that the same issues are not faced for consumers when they upgrade to Windows 7, such as lack of compatibility for older applications and peripherals.

“We will polish it,” Mr Ballmer replied. “We will change it, but there are ways to change it and there are times to do it.”

Source: Reuters

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