I like the rest of the world read about our Windows 7 Multi-touch capabilities and personally thought it was brilliant move on our part. As this paves the way for mainstream use around multi-touch devices, something that the next generation of applications should consider more.
That being said, one journalist (ZDNet's Mary Jo) comment did catch my eye. She states - "..I am still a non-believer. Do you want touch on your Windows notebook? I, for one, do not..."
hmmm... Yes, I agree, I don't want multi-touch on my Macbook Pro, as well the ergonomics just don't suite it, yet if you believe that the industry is going to rest on current designs as being the future templates for laptops going forward.... think again.
As multi-touch is one of these components that still in many respects needs wide-spread adoption if you will. In that if you were to seed the market with Windows 7 (hypothetical here) and say 70%+ were to have multi-touch capabilities, what would that signal for hardware vendors?
Apple for example has proven in many respects that consumers are attracted to the multi-touch component found within user experience. Nintendo Wii also has proven that with a "hands-on" form, consumers will and have enjoyed the experience.
What is the next generation of laptops likely to look like? well take the below picture.
It's a future design concept (LG eBook), but essentially the notion that today's laptops will exist tomorrow is something I just don't put a lot of stock in (Apple's made some strong hints in this space with Apple AIR).
If you take the sleek thin design found within the LG eBook and combine it with multi-touch, well, some interesting fusion between function and form can take shape here.
Still not convinced?
Ok, well let's look at the theory behind the XO Laptop as surely it hints at the value add of multi-touch?. It's design centers purely around the existence of a laptop combined with multi-touch capabilities - that's it in it's distilled form.
Getting the point now?
The future of tomorrows laptop has not been defined, and if you think the Windows 7 Multi-touch is something to just gloss over as a wasteful feature with little consumer demand? Think again, it's being prototyped today in many labs and is high on the wishlists of many technologists.
That being said, having a dream to own the next hollywood style multi-touch device is one thing, but we here at Microsoft are actually quite serious about this space.
An example, let's look at what the Microsoft Future Health folks are cooking up in their labs. Could you name one hospital anywhere in the world that would not want this vision of the future? What impact could such a technology have on sustaining human life? How could it improve accidents within hospitals?
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Now's the time to get your head into the XAML Game..