Introducing the Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows 7

At Wall Street Journal’s D: All Things Digital conference about a year ago today, Julie Larson-Green first introduced Walt Mossberg to Windows 7 and its multi-touch capabilities, which we call Windows Touch. While we’ve been working on bringing natural user interface to you in many Microsoft products, we first introduced multi-touch in Microsoft Surface. Since then, the Windows and Surface development teams have been collaborating closely on bringing multi-touch to Windows, and last year demoed a few applications they created to run on Windows 7. Today, we thought it would be fitting on this “anniversary” of first talking about Windows Touch to introduce the Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows 7.

While touch is built into the “DNA” of Windows 7, something that was talked about in the Touching Windows 7 blog post on the E7 Blog, we thought it would be fun to give you some applications that show what’s possible with this new way to interact with your PC. The Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows 7 is a set of six multi-touch optimized applications and games that are designed to truly showcase the capabilities of Windows Touch in Windows 7. It consists of 3 casual games, and 3 Microsoft Surface applications that have been created for Windows 7.

Let’s take a closer look at what’s in the Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows 7…

Microsoft Surface Globe

Microsoft Surface Globe pretty much puts the whole world in your hands (well, kind of!). It uses the Virtual Earth 3D engine to display a 3D version of the world. Using multi-touch, you can navigate to different regions, get local information, and “pin” your favorite locations. You can even “fly” around 3D models of buildings in some cities. The Microsoft Surface Globe was one of the apps Julie Larson-Green demoed at last year’s D: All Things Digital conference. To see the Microsoft Surface Globe app in action – take a look at this video.

Microsoft Surface Collage

Take your favorite digital photos and arrange and resize them using only your fingertips with Microsoft Surface Collage! Once you have your photos in an arrangement you like, it’s simple to save your collage and make it your desktop background. I’ve made a whole series of backgrounds and cycle through them with the desktop slideshow.

Microsoft Surface Lagoon

Microsoft Surface Lagoon is a screensaver that you can interact with using multi-touch. It recreates the natural environment of water and schooling fish. It is really relaxing to run your fingers through the “water” and hold your finger down and watch the fish gather around.

Microsoft Blackboard

Solve a puzzle game of physics, called Microsoft Blackboard, by creating a nifty machine on a virtual blackboard. Use gestures to rotate and resize gears, fans, seesaws and more to move balloons and balls toward the light bulbs – and victory.

Microsoft Rebound

Use your fingers to propel a ball and annihilate your opponent in Microsoft Rebound. Play against the computer or challenge a friend and battle it out in the electrified court to see who the champion is.

Microsoft Garden Pond

Finally, with Microsoft Garden Pond, you can guide your origami creations to peaceful areas on the pond or direct them with gestures to complete goals that have been set for you. Gently move the origami by making ripples in the water.

In order to use the Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows 7 – you’ll need a Windows 7 PC that supports multi-touch. The Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows 7 will be available to PC makers (OEMs) who will have the option to pre-install some, none, or all of the applications available in the Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows 7 on PCs designed for Windows Touch (PCs that meet the logo requirements for Windows Touch) – so you should start to see these applications showing up on some touch PCs around the time Windows 7 is made broadly available. After general availability of Windows 7, we will look at making the Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows 7 even more broadly available based on feedback from customers and partners.

The Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows 7 is a great example of immersive experiences software developers can create for Windows 7 and multi-touch. We thought now would be a good time to share what some of the team has been working on – and give you folks a glimpse into what’s possible – and we look forward to continuing this conversation as the touch community grows.

PLEASE NOTE: The Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows 7 will be available to PC makers (OEMs) that have a direct contractual relationship with Microsoft.