posted by weildish on Sat 7th Feb 2009 10:59 UTC
IconOne of the big hypes of Windows 7 was the new integrated touch and multitouch features unheard of in previous systems. On paper, it all looks nice, but the folks over at Engadget recently tested out these said features of the beta on an HP TouchSmart PC, and were underwhelmed by the efficiency of the features.

In the video it all looked rather exciting in a geeky sense to be using touch with Windows 7, and still it was quite functional; the heightening of the taskbar seemed perfect in that it's the appropriate size for one's fingers to navigate, and the gestures seem to work well in theory, but there's going to have to be some major tweaking before the beta become a final release if these touchscreen capabilities are going to take off.

Among these tweakings is making the entire UI big enough that touch is plausible; a good percentage of the interface was still too small for touch to be effective causing gestures to work when they're not wanted and to not work when wanted. It reminded me of trying to use my fingers to type on the on-screen keyboard on my old Dell Axim x51. Those of you who have attempted to use certain features with your fingers instead of a stylus in Windows Mobile 5.0 will understand.

Also, functionality is not standard between all applications, such as scrolling in Firefox is impossible while using touch. Microsoft really needs to get on the ball and make sure that touch is as easily integrated into all programs as is a mouse. Still, I give them an A for effort, and the touch capabilities still look good (for a beta).

See it for yourself as well as read what the reviewers had to say in full.

Of course, we can't pass this off as a final judgment for Windows 7's touch capabilities as it is still the Beta version. Let's just hope for the sake of those who are planning on getting touchscreens that Microsoft will improve upon all of these points.

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