At PDC, I got my first hands-on experience with Windows 7 running on the HP TouchSmart units in the partner expo area. A few things I picked up from the keynote that I really liked:
My personal experience with Windows 7 is that, while it looks like Vista, it’s overall a lot easier to deal with in many ways than Vista is. The multitouch is easy to use and very responsive, and certain UI elements (like dropdown lists, for example) increase in size when you touch the screen to make the acceptance of finger input easy. (If only my ancient WM5 phone had that, since I use my fingernail a lot). The hands-on lab I did had a lot of C++ in it to handle the multitouch aspect. I heard from the Surface team that the Windows 7 multitouch system is distinctly different from the Surface system and API, although they are working closely together to provide a very consistent experience for developers.
I look forward to running the pre-beta and forthcoming pre-release builds of Windows 7 in my test bed. If you have any suggestions for virtualizing a sandbox for this, please let me know – I’m not sure what kind of virtualware I need to accomplish this.