Last year, at the Wall Street Journal's D: All Things Digital conference, Bill Gates introduced a groundbreaking new computing experience called Surface. Surface harnesses touch and multi-touch capabilities to provide users with a natural way to interact directly with computing devices. Expect to see the table-like Surface devices in hotels, retail establishments, restaurants and public entertainment venues.
Touch is quickly becoming a common way of directly interacting with software and devices. Touch-enabled surfaces are popping up everywhere including laptop touch pads, cell phones, remote controls, GPS devices, and more. What becomes even more compelling is when this experience is delivered to the PC -on a wide variety of Windows notebooks, in all-in-one PC's, as well as in external monitors. In working with our broad ecosystem of hardware and software manufactures, we're excited to be showing some of the great work and investments we are working on in Windows 7.
Tonight, at this year's D:All Things Digital conference, Julie Larson-Green showed Walt Mossberg how a few of the multi-touch innovations first previewed in Surface will ultimately enhance the next version of Windows. A transcript of the demo can be found here: http://d6.allthingsd.com/20080527/gates_ballmer/.
Below is an abridged version of the demo that Julie delivered this evening. Please note, the applications you will see are for demonstration purposes only...but it's all Windows 7 underneath.
Video: Multi-Touch in Windows 7
Multi touch has always been the way to go. It is simply a small enhancement, and I believe what made multi-touch a big hit is that it makes people think “this is nice, just imagine what you can do with this…”. it motivates people to think about new ways to approach issues from a different angle, and even though 95% of the time you can do just right without it, microsoft made sure that the rest 5% are taken care of as well.
I hope that "DuoSense" doesn't mean only two points--if it does, you guys are already behind the times. TUIO and open-source solutions have already surpassed this... Also, I hope the things aren't that laggy, it's no better than my current, $100 homemade multitouch system!
wow! amazing! its almost like i've seen it before. what was that place... umm... oh yeah! IPHONE, IPOD TOUCH, AND MACBOOKS!!!!! way to come out with some new technolology microsoft!!!
Just curious how this might adapt to persons with handicaps, such as speaking, seeing, or writing--who are just now getting accustomed to software that is able to transfer their handicap to a use. Could MS come up with a speech-directed application adaptable to M7, for persons who can't use their hands??
Will Windows7 enable touch on PC/Laptops not made with a touchscreen? That would be amazing if it were possible to take the ordinary screen and make its touch capable, not having to run out and buy a new laptop just to use windows7. Most people will not be able to afford it.
Shouldn't this be a Windows Vista Ultimate Extra?
Multi touch screens will ROCK the future!!
I am doing a bit of research on multi touch and Surface computing!!
"Ok, it might not be a necessity to have a touch screen for Windows 7. I think it is cool not to have to use the mouse but, its usless for gaming."
True enough, but some folks seem to be missing an obvious point. I would think that Multi-Touch functionality can be disabled/enabled like most Microsoft features. Don't want to use it? Don't enable it and continue using a traditional input device (like a mouse). We shouldn't all assume just because Multi-Touch is being introduced, it's the de facto standard and nothing else will exist.
"I , like many 1000's of people will never afford it for a minimum of 5+ years. IPhone started at $699 for a botched batch. Sprint's Instinct is poised to come out on the 20th of June for less than half that. These are just glorified phones, MP3 playes and mini tv's causing havock on the highways. How long has LCD and Plasma TV's been selling? I just bought one and I wouldn't have if it weren't for my inheritance."
Like I mentioned before, tech like this is always expensive on the first run. However, it has to start somewhere and enter the market for it to eventually become more affordable.
"What happened to everyone that wanted Vista? They had to spend money to upgrade or buy a whole new computer. And what about support for the best OS, XP? It ends this year. I say build up XP with all the new patches and add ons with backward support for hardware used in Windows 98. Many of my friends are still using 98 believe it or not."
This is not only logistically unrealistic for MS to do, it's also kinda dumb. One of the biggest reasons (but certainly not the only) for instability in Windows is poorly written drivers, and maintaining backwards compatibility with old hardware/software. MS should and is moving away from having to maintain and support hardware/software 10+ years old. Seriously, if you are in that much dire straits to be using such old software, the Compatibility Options in XP/Vista, or using VPC to virtualize Win98 on the same box is much more of an efficient approach to the situation. Or they could actually join the 21st century and buy newer versions of the software and a new computer. If it's a business, they should include this in their budget, if it's an individual, being cheap isn't an excuse. A brand new complete system can be had from many OEM vendors for less than $500. About the cost, and in some cases cheaper than, a good car stereo.
Plus the FUD about Vista needing "all new hardware or upgrades to run" is a little misleading. Vista's minimum requirements pretty much mirror systems built within the last 2-3 years, and Vista will "run" not to the best of it's ability, but it will function. Aero will not even enable itself if the system doesn't meet minimum specs, plus more of the eye-candy can be disabled to help speed up performance of Vista. I've installed and used Vista with all the eye-candy turned off running sufficiently on P4's with 768-1GB of RAM. It's not pretty, but it gets the job done. The one good thing about Vista is that it uses Superfetch, it puts tons of stuff into your RAM for faster folder access....etc. Basically the more RAM you have, the more RAM it'll use....for overall performance.
"These are the facts. Oh, I also forgot to mention, what about Gates' computer for every child?"
And this has something to do with Multi-Touch/Windows 7 how exactly?
I didn't say you *couldn't* bitch, whine, piss, or moan, it would be just preferable to happen somewhere else. Because, honestly, where does bitching, whining, and moaning get us?
But yeah, you're free to bitch & moan where-ever on the Internet you wish, and the same goes for me. Isn't democracy wonderful? :)
Your comment, "The advent of the original Windows graphical user interface forever changed the way people used their PC's." was picked up by the Financial Post, and I must say I find it strange that you would say such a thing!
It wasn't Microsoft, it was Xerox that invented the graphical interface, but it was Apple that perfected it and brought it to market a full eight years before Microsoft did, or didn't you know that?
Also, Multi-Touch, an Apple trade mark, by the way, not only was brought to market a year before, as seen in the iPhone, but OS X is not only coming with an even more powerful multi-touch - it's already available now in a limited way, and offered by third parties, as can you can see in this YouTube video that I presented on my little blog:
It wasn't Microsoft, or Apple, for that matter, that developed multi-touch, it was the pioneering work of Jeff Hann! Like the gui, it was Apple, however, that perfected and brought it to market first.
There is nothing new or innovative in Windows 7 multi-touch, rather it is all copied from others. With over 200 multi-touch patents, including 'pinching,' etc., Microsoft could have more legal problems with touch for Windows 7 than any other, as Steve Jobs stated very clearly at the iPhone's introduction - we plan to forcefully enforce them!
You know what else I see in the future of Windows? Transparency. A lot, of transparency. Have you used Windows Mobility Center with Windows Aero on? Beautiful! I would love to see that on all my other open windows.
And I would love to do that with my computer, my HP TX2030 is touchscreen and I eagerly await that update! (P.S. That dell was my second choice, but I could not locate one)
Ok, it might not be a necessity to have a touch screen for Windows 7. I think it is cool not to have to use the mouse but, its usless for gaming.
I , like many 1000's of people will never afford it for a minimum of 5+ years. IPhone started at $699 for a botched batch. Sprint's Instinct is poised to come out on the 20th of June for less than half that. These are just glorified phones, MP3 playes and mini tv's causing havock on the highways. How long has LCD and Plasma TV's been selling? I just bought one and I wouldn't have if it weren't for my inheritance.
What happened to everyone that wanted Vista? They had to spend money to upgrade or buy a whole new computer. And what about support for the best OS, XP? It ends this year. I say build up XP with all the new patches and add ons with backward support for hardware used in Windows 98. Many of my friends are still using 98 believe it or not.
And yes dmaynard, we can bitch, diss or Whine if we want. This is freedom of speech. Don't like it? You go to another forum or ignore it..
These are the facts. Oh, I also forgot to mention, what about Gates' computer for every child?
Maybe it's because I may not be a visionary, but most of the latest mediatized technologies seem to be specifically built for nice presentations and less for usability in real life applications. I don't say Multi-touch UI, Aero, or Ribbon UI in Office 2007 are bad, on the contrary, they are nice features, but they seem to help me little with my work. I had preffered for the UI stuff to be little more a marginal subject and the focus to be on certain complex functional features (i.e. better search & document management (like it was intended in WinFS), technology standardization and transparency, better speed (perhaps an alternative to everything that is XML based) ). Unfortunately, it is more sad that this approach is followed also for the development tools & technologies, taking for instance .net framework. It is extremly easy to build a sample aplication that allows browsing data in a database with only few mouse clicks, but if you get into the real world and need to build an enterprise application with multi-user support, concurrent data access, you find out that you lack support for features like pessimistic concurency. You have now LINQ and Entity Framework but still no basic features older thechnologies had or favoured, like, data pagination, pessimistic concurency, layer separation. I definetly think there is a lot more room at MS for delivering quality goods that rise up to the level of the advertising. Anyway, for now Windows is(overall) the best OS on the market, but you never know when Google may decide to build up an OS.
Actually with the touch feature integrated into Windows and maybe the next version of Office, it would be kinda fun to bring back Clippy in Office 14..
You could ask him for help, if he gets it wrong you could fling him round the screen with the touch of your fingers... wouldn't add much to the bussiness productivity of Office, but it would be fun!
Multi-touch, or gesture input will become as ubiquitous as using the mouse. However, as pointed out by others, using a touch screen isn't always the best input device. So how about this:
A peripheral device that looks and feels much like a mouse pad. You use your fingers to input gestures (just like on the touch screen), or control the mouse and a stylus for handwriting.
With such a device the mouse becomes obsolete and best of all, it would work with any hardware - meaning no reason to upgrade your PC in order to use Windows 7 and its multi-touch feature. Sure, laptops will have have touch pads that are multi-touch enabled, but those touch pad are useless when the laptop is connected to an external monitor and keyboard.
This device can be made today using Sima Systems' multi-touch technology.
Very exciting stuff.
I look forward to the day when I can fluidly perform all my computing tasks by touch instead of the awkward and archaic mouse & keyboard setup.
One question though:
Part of the reason computing grew so rapidly was because the tasks were very cerebral and required minimal physical activity. Therefore, developers could work much longer and faster because there endurance was mental instead of physical. Do you think that gesturing for extended periods of time will cause users to fatigue more quickly than with a keyboard & mouse?
As a windows mobile developer , i must say that adding dual touch few magic GUI things ontop of current window mobile 6 does not appeal to developers. After all on the base its win CE running . Need to change the architecture and heavy weight kernels.
The future is hand held devices and on that speed is important.
Just to clarify some things.
iPhone does have multi-touch. Apple didn't "invent" Multi-touch (going to cut the fanboi's off at this one before it even starts), this technology has been in use for years by governements and our military.
What is profound about the efforts of MS and Apple with this technology is to make it more accessible for the end-consumer and that has to start somewhere. I would imagine that's why a 1st gen iPhone cost $600-$700 dollars, that's fairly pricey for a glorified blackberry with a multi-touch screen and it's MS that get's the backlash for "making Windows more out of touch with your users"? Please. Progress has to start at some point, and part of that progress is making things affordable, and for that to occur competition has to drive end-cost down, and features up to be attractive to customers. As multi-touch gets more prevelent, touch screen tech will lower in price as with ANY "new" technology that forges itself on to the market.
I love how the haters demonize MS for anything. They try to push a new paradigm of computing and it sucks because "it costs so much!" *whine*. If they don't push, they are lambasted for not being as "innovative" as other campanies (e.g. Apple). So if all your gonna do is bitch, go bitch about it on some other forum and quit wasting precious bandwidth with your rediculus whining.
Razorwindmo46, multi-touch capabilities are just a minor part of what Windows 7 will be. There are quite a few home users that are dishing out $399 for iPhones because of the touch features. The average consumer has shown keen interest in touch features for PCs and devices. Regardless, I doubt the entire success of Windows 7 will be dependent on this single feature either.
ppedersen, this is a demo of technology that will be in Windows 7 not a exact feature. Julie Larson-Green at D6 yesterday said multi-touch capabilities will be built in throughout Windows 7 and even demoed it being used with Paint. Expect productivity to certainly be tied with having multi-touch capabilities.
Hey, this might be good and then bad. Any one ever think what the cost is going to be to REPLACE your monitor just so you can use it?
I'm willing to bet this is going to bomb just like Vista because the cost of the touch screens. For mobility there are only going to be 3 phones that can even use this. As for home users it will be awash because the majority of users wont spend the $$$.$$$ for new touch screen monitors. Hurrah to Microsoft to make Windows even more out of touch with your users.
Woo hoo! Paint with multi-touch!
I read the article on CNet http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-9953243-56.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-20 and watched the video. From watching the video, I got the idea that it is slow in recognizing touch and to me it seems it would be a bit cumbersome to use if not also a little bit of a fancy feature with not enough productivity attached to it. How would this feature greatly assist word processing, creating apps, working with databases, listening to music, working with email, drawing, etc.?
Uh, doesn't the iPHONE already do this? Great technology though. Good to see it incorporated in Windows.
Windows 7, cant wait!
You know that touch and the physical user interface can be really quite addictive, Its one reason why the original IPOD and Nintendo DS and Nintendo Wii were/are so successful.... then people may really reconnect to their computing experience when this stuff becomes mainstream.
Very Cool, touch screens and flash based hard discs should be manditory for the next version of Windows, at least in its most expensive incarnation... so the Windows experience isnt compromised by older hardware.
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I think you still need a keyboard instead of a standalone tablet. This all looks really cool but is pretty reminiscent of the iPhone albeit on a larger scale. And it'll take some getting use to putting my fingers on a computer screen after growing up being told "Don't touch the screen"!
I can see some CSI episode where they dust the computer screen for prints!
It would be really good if Microsoft can work with OEMS and other hardware vendors to make this dream come true!
Hmmm, it doesn't make a difference if there is 7 or Vista under it unless we see multi touch in Windows itself. Sorry, but I can't really see the big news here because this seems to be an WPF app that maybe could also run on XP or Vista (as on the Surface computer).
The multi-touch in Win7 is the cat's meow!
i change my notebook for this :(
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There's something about seeing that video that makes me seem Windows 7 is going to be a good upgrade. All it did was show multi-touch, and I'm already looking forward to the launch.
Awesome video! I can't wait to hear more about this soon.
Two Win7 posts in one day too!