Microsoft to Bring Multi-Touch to Windows 7

Microsoft is going multi-touch crazy. First it was the Microsoft Surface technology, which debuted last year at The Wall Street Journal's (WSJ) fifth edition of its All Things Digital Conference (D5). Next came multi-touch walls, which Bill Gates demonstrated only a few weeks ago at Microsoft's own CEO Summit. Fast forward to last night, and (not coincidentally) Bill Gates showed off Microsoft's latest multi-touch foray at WSJ's sixth edition of its All Things Digital Conference (D6)-- this time multi-touch is going to be an integral element of the next version of Windows, Windows 7.

"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."

This is a natural progression of technological development for Microsoft. Each version of Microsoft's multi-touch technology piggy-backs off the advances of previous iterations. By the time that Windows 7 ships (which could be as early as sometime next year), the technology should have reached the threshold where the cost to physically implement it is minimal.

The multi-touch interface is quickly becoming ubiquitous and might very well be on its way to becoming the next tipping point for how we interface with our computers and electronics. The most popular multi-touch devices currently on the market are Apple's iPhone and iPod touch. Some enterprising engineers have even published open-source plans for an inexpensive,
DIY Microsoft Surface-like device. AUO has recently showcased what it calls its "in-cell multi-touch technology," where the touch functionality is integrated directly "into the TFT manufacturing process without adding an additional [layer of] glass." This should make for a more efficient and cost-effective means of manufacturing multi-touch panels.