I’s time for another “OSNews Asks”, a blatant rip-off of just about every other website in existence. Anyway, today we want to focus on multitouch. The technology behind it has existed for a long time, but only recently have companies like Apple (iPhone, trackpads) and Microsoft (Surface, Windows 7) begun promoting it. We have a question for you, about multitouch in desktops and laptops.
With Windows 7, Microsoft will be the first to bring system-wide multitouch frameworks and APIs to the desktop. If you follow the OSNews podcast, Kroc and I discussed this very subject in episode 4, and we came to the conclusion that by providing these APIs and frameworks, Microsoft is giving adventurous and talented developers the tools to design desktop applications with multitouch in mind, or maybe even solely for multitouch. So while “desktop multitouch” may make no sense now, Microsoft is laying the foundations for a whole new generation of applications that we may not even have thought about.
Personally, I can see a number of specific uses for multitouch on a desktop (or laptop, for that matter). For instance, in video players, it would allow for very accurate seeking, and with the appropriate gestures, you could walk frame-by-frame easily. Sure, you can do that with a mouse or keyboard, but seeking could be a lot more accurate using your own fingers instead of a mouse. Cutting out the middleman, so to speak.
I can also see a usefulness in games. Card games come to mind, but it could also be handy in real-time strategy games, as a means to select and dispatch units across the map. I’m sure game developers (especially independent) will be all over the multitouch frameworks in Windows 7.
So, the question we’re asking you is this: what use do you see for multitouch on desktops and laptops? What applications could make use of this technology to make your life easier? Fire away in the comments!