We usually stick to hardware here at SlashGear, but Microsoft's announcement that it will be including MultiTouch in the upcoming Windows 7 OS is interesting enough to bend the rules. Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer sat down with Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher at D to discuss the new inclusion, with a demonstration of MultiTouch working on a somewhat modified Dell Latitude XT Tablet PC. Apparently much of the work that the Surface team has been doing is rolled into Windows 7, which will see a release in late 2009.
Image via Engadget. Check out the demo video of MultiTouch on Windows 7 after the cut
Microsoft demonstrated several apps, including a new version of Paint in which all ten fingers could be used to simultaneously draw and photo management with two-finger zooming, dragging and rotating. New 3D slideshows, grid and scatter views are incorporated, and according to the demo MultiTouch has been extended throughout the OS. A common criticism of current touchscreen functionality in Windows is that it feels tacked-on as an afterthought, rather than being integrated fully (e.g. to write in a text-entry box you must call up a separate input panel, write and choose insert, rather than write directly into the box).
A new mapping app was also shown, featuring information from Microsoft's Live Local and Virtual Earth. Microsoft has been careful to point out that the software shown is all for demo purposes only, but versions could be developed for Windows 7 and the underlying code is that of the real OS. Gates reiterated his support for the Tablet PC platform, and this seems an obvious push to capitalise on consumer awareness of MultiTouch from the iPhone.