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Microsoft Bringing Multitouch to Windows

by Jonathan Allen on Oct 26, 2008 |

Microsoft is planning on publicly releasing the Surface SDK at this year's PDC. This is seen by some as the next step towards bringing their multitouch technology to the Windows operating system. According to CNET's Ina Fried, Microsoft will incorporate multitouch in Windows 7 as an attempt to refocus the consumer market back on the operating system,

1. Multitouch is going to be ubiquitous. And by this I don't just mean on every Windows machine. I also expect Apple to have a similar feature on its computers, and quite possibly ahead of Windows 7 final ship date.

2. We're going to see touch on a lot more machines ahead of Windows 7. I expect this will help convince PC makers to include touch screens even in Vista machines so they can be "7-proof." Touch can come in many forms. We've already seen that the laptop's touch pad can prove to be a cost-effective spot for gesture sensitive touch, and I think we will see other interesting gesture recognition approaches beyond just making the full screen touch sensitive.

3. User interfaces are a key selling point in Microsoft's No. 1 longterm Windows goal--making the OS matter. Windows is not just under attack from Apple. It's also under attack from forces that threaten to make the OS less relevant, whether it's browser-based applications or (pardon the phrase, boss) Web operating systems.

Developers wanting to get a head start are being encouraged to attend a presentation at the PDC.

This session introduces the newly available Microsoft Surface SDK. Hear about the unique attributes of Microsoft Surface computing, dive into vision-based object recognition and core controls like ScatterView, and learn how the Surface SDK aligns with the multi-touch developer roadmap for Windows 7 and WPF. Additionally, learn how you can become a part of the expanding partner ecosystem for Microsoft Surface and leverage your existing investments in WPF and Visual Studio to build engaging end user applications. Attendees of this session will receive access to the Microsoft Surface SDK.

Jared Bienz of Microsoft's ISV Developer Community thinks the SDK will be part of the general package all attendees get. However, the wording of the announcement suggests that it may be restricted. A seperate article by Ina Fried says that Microsoft has capped the SDKs at 1200 copies.

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