Print 39 comment(s) - last by MrPoletski.. on Jun 1 at 9:26 AM

Microsoft Surface Globe

Microsoft Blackboard  (Source: Microsoft)
Touch Pack for Windows 7 offers three games and three applications supporting touch

Microsoft is working hard to get the next iteration of the Windows operating system ready for launch. Microsoft is under lots of pressure from users and corporations to make a better OS this time around than Windows Vista turned out to be.

Microsoft confirmed that the Windows 7 operating system would launch this year. The Windows 7 Team Blog has offered up some details of the new multi-touch interface for Windows 7 called Windows Touch. Microsoft has been working hard to closely integrate touch capability into the so-called DNA of Windows 7. Yesterday, Microsoft debuted the Touch Pack for Windows 7 and offered information on the applications that comprise the pack.

The Touch Pack includes three casual games and three Microsoft Surface applications created specifically for Windows 7. One of the applications is called Microsoft Surface Globe. The application sounds a lot like Google Maps with a 3D globe that can be navigated using multi-touch gestures. The application allows users to fly around virtual buildings in some cities.

Another of the applications is Microsoft Surface Collage. Collage allows users to take the digital images stored on their computer and arrange them into a collage that can then be saved and used as their desktop background and on a desktop slideshow.

The final Surface application is Microsoft Surface Lagoon, which is a virtual water environment with schools of fish. Using a finger, users can create ripples in the water and touch a point to have the fish school around their finger.

The first of the games is Microsoft Blackboard, which allows players to create a machine on a virtual blackboard using gears, fans, seesaws and other objects to move balloons towards a light bulb. Controlling the action is done using multi-touch gestures.

Microsoft Rebound is a game that is like Pong. Using a finger players hurl a ball around the screen to destroy an opponent. The game can be played against the computer or against an additional player. The final game application is Microsoft Garden Pond. Players use fingers to make ripples in the water of a pond and propel origami creations towards specific areas on the pond to meet goals set in the game.

All of the software in the Touch Pack will be offered to OEMs who will be able to include some, all or none of the applications on Windows 7 PCs designed for Windows Touch.

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By MrPoletski on 5/28/2009 11:23:47 AM , Rating: 2
So where do I buy a touchscreen upgrade for my current too-nice-to-replace 24" LCD then?

M$ had better plug the touchscreen market loads otherwise these features are only going to see any use on handhelds.

Fancy that, a desktop OS with a load of features integrated into 'its DNA' that you can't (or don't want to) use.

That, Gentlemen, is Windows™.

Disclaimer: I am not for a second suggesting that any other alternative OS is better or worse.

RE: Nice
By MrPoletski on 5/28/2009 11:31:41 AM , Rating: 3
after a bit of searching for touch screen overlays, I found this:

A touchscreen overlay for 20-24" screens. Turns any screen into a touch screen.

Yes £1038, bout $1500-$2000 for you yanks, depending on the time of the month...

RE: Nice
By CZroe on 5/29/2009 5:11:54 AM , Rating: 3
Well, something like Windows 7 should bring the prices of such things down. The mini 9" touch panel people are adding to their netbooks is much cheaper.

RE: Nice
By Mandin on 5/28/2009 11:34:38 AM , Rating: 1
I know this is the first round of touch apps for Windows 7 but these seem pretty lame. They are about as exciting as getting the "Ultimate Extra Sounds from Microsoft Tinker" or "Hold'em." It would be nice if right from the start users could do something productive with Touch and not just play games or make collages. MrPolestski brings up the very valid point that almost no one has touch monitors at this point and with these being the apps available why would anyone want to invest in one.

RE: Nice
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 5/28/2009 12:24:54 PM , Rating: 4
Microsoft is answering another question nobody asked.

Anyway, touch is just a quicker way to use a mouse. All applications work with touch overlays. I don't see why you need to build anything into the OS. We have been using overlays on large screens for many years. It's actually a pain since you have to go to the keyboard for anything other than left and right clicks and drags. Or bring up the touch keyboard, which is a laugh trying to type on a vertical flat screen at eye level. I think that is why MS is showing touch on a coffee table type monitor.

If you have a working coffee table monitor on top of a broken coffee table monitor, you might be a redneck. Just sayin'....

RE: Nice
By futrtrubl on 5/28/2009 12:42:49 PM , Rating: 3
You're forgetting this is Microsoft's version of MULTI-touch.
Simply using touch screens as a mouse has been around for a while and doesn't require anything new in OS (beyond mouse functionality, which does have to be in the OS). Multi-touch can't just work over-top the mouse stuff so yes it does need to be put in the OS.

RE: Nice
By mindless1 on 5/28/2009 5:39:01 PM , Rating: 2
Touch isn't necessarily quicker than using a mouse. For continual user input it may be slower most of the time. It's simply faster to move your mouse a couple inches once one has hand-eye coordination, than to reach up your arm and press on a screen, and less tiresome for more than a few dozens of touches.

It may be more convenient for limited input applications, may benefit those that can't devote a mousing surface next to the monitor, or those who have a job where they are frequently letting go of the mouse to do manual labor actions, interacting with physical things besides a computer so they aren't regrabbing and relocating the position of the cursor on the screen.

RE: Nice
By Souka on 5/28/2009 6:54:34 PM , Rating: 2
Try using a touch interface for an hour or more... your arms will hurt, and likely your neck and back later on...this especially true for horizontially mounted displays (like the MS-Surface tables)... verticle like a whiteboard is better, but faster? Nope...

Much more effecient is the good-ole mouse...but it sure ain't as cool...

RE: Nice
By ggordonliddy on 5/28/09, Rating: 0
RE: Nice
By acer905 on 5/28/2009 11:44:49 AM , Rating: 2
Biggest available on tigerdirect is 19" for $609.99

Biggest available on newegg is 19" as well, for $634.99

Or, straight from, a 25" all in one pc w/multitouch for $1,6499.99

There is also a 22" for $1,149.99

RE: Nice
By MrPoletski on 5/28/09, Rating: 0
RE: Nice
By Chudilo on 5/28/2009 12:12:12 PM , Rating: 2
I played with that HP touchscreen yesterday at staples.
It's not interesting at all.
All it does is provide you with a way to move and click the mouse by touching the screen.
What I would think MS is trying to do is provide you with a secondary way to interact with your PC. however for the time being all they can do is to provide an API for 3rd party developers to use.
I'm envisioning something like zooming in and out of photos by spreading fingers, or dragging the canvas in PhotoShop without moving the mouse. I'd love to be able to move a window out of the way with my hand or fingers leaving the mouse pointer exactly where it was.

RE: Nice
By MrDiSante on 5/28/2009 2:53:34 PM , Rating: 1
It already does.

Scroll – Drag up or down on the content (not the scrollbar!) of scrollable window to scroll. [...]This works in most applications that use standard scrollbars.

Zoom – Pinch two fingers together or apart to zoom in or out on a document. [...] This works in applications that support mouse wheel zooming.

Flicks – Flick left or right to navigate back and forward in a browser and other apps. [...]This works in most applications that support back and forward.

Drag – Touch and slide your finger on screen. Like a dragging with a mouse, this moves icons around the desktop, moves windows, selects text (by dragging left or right), etc. This works everywhere.

Taken from It also has more stuff that your royal highness didn't request. Next time before you complain about something think for a few seconds or do some research.
1) Are these HPs multitouch or just the standard Tablet PCs that have been available since at least XP.
2) Are these HPs running Windows 7, which hasn't been released, or Vista?
3) Why don't I look up Windows 7's capabilities with all of 2 minutes of googling if I'm not sure.

RE: Nice
By bhieb on 5/28/2009 12:13:47 PM , Rating: 2
I don't really get it either on the desktop side. Smudges and such are an annoyance why would I want a mechanism to make that worse. Not to mention if you have a 22 or large screen you should really be back further than arm's length anyway. Nice for tablets and maybe a niche computer, but mainstream I doubt it.

RE: Nice
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 5/28/2009 12:28:22 PM , Rating: 2
Niche computer, I agree. Itronix have used touch monitors on their ruggedized laptops for ten years at least since if you are in the field wearing gloves, the mouse pad or nipple on a laptop is unusable.

RE: Nice
By acer905 on 5/28/2009 12:35:51 PM , Rating: 2
With regards to smudges, if they would use a matte finish it would really kill the visibility of any smudges on the screen. I see people constantly cleaning off their glossy iPhone screens, while the screen of my iPaq is clean looking (granted, it doesn't get as dirty either due to my use of a stylus, but even when i forget the stylus it still looks nice)

As for the distance, i agree. It would be somewhat cool to have a small, extremely rectangular multitouch monitor, about the same dimensions as a keyboard, that could be positioned like a keyboard. With that you could load up a virtual keyboard, hit a side button to switch to a virtual paint set, hit another to switch to a game of some sort, etc... That, i think, would make an interesting keyboard/mouse replacement/alternative (also, have the space reserved for numpad in the virtual keyboard be able to switch back and forth between numpad and a laptop style mouese by use of the num lock key... finally a good use for that button)

RE: Nice
By mindless1 on 5/28/2009 5:43:01 PM , Rating: 2
The problem with a matte finish is higher friction, you would wear smooth spots into that finish because your fingers aren't made of clean teflon or similar.

It would be cool to replace a $10 input device with a multi-hundred dollar one so you can press extra buttons to switch to a different mode instead of just clicking an icon?

I think this is mostly a "monkeys like shiney things" scenario, that there are definitely going to be apps that benefit, but not the common tasks we do most on a PC, meaning even less of a benefit for the hundreds of dollars higher cost.

RE: Nice
By fishbits on 5/28/2009 1:07:43 PM , Rating: 2
Touch implementation, for the time being, is largely a defensive move. It's very easy to put together commercials that look cool and impressive. Then have one OS that can't do those things. "You can't do this on a Mac/PC," shot of some dweeb in a bland setting clicking on a mouse with a forlorn expression. OS makers HAVE to have touch, even if only to avoid this marketing scenario.

People are weird. Forget that the typical user would get next to no real benefit from proposed touch implementations, nor would he buy very pricey hardware to enable it. He just doesn't want to be the guy whose OS can't enable dealing cards in an online game by swiping his finger across a screen... just like the guy in the commercial. Even though in reality that would get old after 4 hands.

I'm sure there will be good implementations of touch down the road, but for now it's mostly a faddish thing.

RE: Nice
By jvillaro on 5/28/2009 2:10:40 PM , Rating: 2
I think all you guys are not thinking in the future. Netbooks were going to be an niche computer... Look at them today. LCD's, powerfull grafic cards, uuuhh ahhh no personal computers are never going to sell, thats only for large businesses.
Maybe it's dificult now to see how it will play out but you have to wait and let it play out. Give this tecnology to us the developers and make it available to mainstream, I'm sure you'll start to see some good stuff (and some bad ones too). It makes sense that you aren't going to use this tech for typing a Word document on your traditional PC but things tend to change and we'll see what comes out of it.

Developers, developers, developers!!!

RE: Nice
By mindless1 on 5/28/2009 5:45:50 PM , Rating: 2
I expect to see more crap designs where they steal all your screen real-estate to make big colorful buttons to push and large empty spaces.

Given how much more monitor resolution we have today, it's a bit insane when I look at this webpage I'm typing on and see that over 70% of the space is wasted, and this webpage isn't even one of the really bad ones. Add big touch-screen buttons and you often make a problem worse.

RE: Nice
By bhieb on 5/28/2009 12:33:10 PM , Rating: 1
To come to your defense what is with the big down rate? Your absolutely right there are not affordable touchscreens for the desktop. Even if there were I have yet to see a demo of any software that remotely makes me want to lean forward, reach out (because resting my arms on my chair is so uncomfortable I'd like to keep them outstretched all day), and start touching my screen. From and ergonomic perspective alone it makes no sense.

There is a place for touchscreens on laptops and such, but a desktop come on. Nice that they include it but it will be a gimmick just like it was in the tablet days.

RE: Nice
By MrDiSante on 5/28/2009 3:09:28 PM , Rating: 2
Because prices for tech never ever come down. PCs didn't cost upwards of $3000 in the early 1970's and that isn't about $7000 adjusting for inflation. And you can't possibly get a perfectly good computer with a Core 2 Duo processor for about $700 today.

The prices are pretty steep (although I wouldn't say exorbitant) at the moment, but I imagine that as this stuff becomes more and more popular and the manufacturing process gets more and more mature, it'll be perfectly affordable and you'll be telling your kids about how you grew up in a time when people could only use mice and keyboards to interact with their computers

RE: Nice
By mindless1 on 5/28/2009 5:49:51 PM , Rating: 2
More like you'll be telling your grandchildren there was a time people actually had to use their arms and hands like in the days when pen and paper were used.

I agree it will become more affordable, but then they'll obsolete what became affordable and move on, supporting the latest bells and whistles to the point where you're stuck on the upgrade treadmill again but with now one more, of the more costly parts to a system, thing to upgrade. I don't know about you but my mouse and keyboard survived my last upgrade fine, and I have a spare new set should they fail because it was affordable to have backup parts stocked.

RE: Nice
By Flunk on 5/28/2009 8:54:15 PM , Rating: 3
Why is it that everyone who thinks that symbols can be liberally substituted for similar-looking letters never has anything intelligent to say.

pr0n apps
By chmilz on 5/28/2009 11:31:21 AM , Rating: 4
I'll probably get downrated for this, but the porn industry (and Japanese anime) will likely be all over touch features, and will likely be a driving force behind the tech.

RE: pr0n apps
By GWD5318 on 5/28/2009 11:34:06 AM , Rating: 5
If they build it, you will come!

RE: pr0n apps
By MrPoletski on 5/28/09, Rating: 0
RE: pr0n apps
By Souka on 5/28/09, Rating: -1
RE: pr0n apps
By Souka on 5/28/09, Rating: -1
RE: pr0n apps
By mindless1 on 5/28/2009 5:53:42 PM , Rating: 2
Give credit to Adobe and 3rd party marketing departments for the spread of the Flash virus. Streaming video was coming either way, that pron did it to some extent was only possible because the tech had already been developed, pron merely had one of the larger content delivery for profit models on the web because the music and movie industry don't have to limit their products to specialty shops so they believed they could force physical media distribution on us awhile longer.

RE: pr0n apps
By AnnihilatorX on 5/28/2009 12:56:56 PM , Rating: 2
I don't see how you need interactivity for a video, but a game yeah.

I also predict screen cleaners would also get a nice boost in sales.

Similar game
By teohhanhui on 5/28/2009 11:35:11 AM , Rating: 2
I think Microsoft Blackboard is reminiscent of Crayon Physics Deluxe. It's a fun game.

RE: Similar game
By MrPoletski on 5/28/09, Rating: -1
RE: Similar game
By dav115 on 5/28/2009 7:05:06 PM , Rating: 1
"nah, too easy to cheat, just throw a pillow at your screen and you've dropped a nuke..."
Haha, if I knew how to rate posts I would rate you up

RE: Similar game
By MrPoletski on 6/1/2009 9:26:52 AM , Rating: 2
well everyone else rated me down, perhaps they can't understand humour?

you posted in this article so you cant rate other posts in this article.

Globe = Earth
By CZroe on 5/29/2009 5:07:56 AM , Rating: 2
"One of the applications is called Microsoft Surface Globe. The application sounds a lot like Google Maps with a 3D globe that can be navigated using multi-touch gestures. The application allows users to fly around virtual buildings in some cities."

Sooo... what you're saying is that it's a lot like Google Earth? Why not just say so?

By callmeroy on 5/29/2009 9:49:43 AM , Rating: 2
Regardless of the games or other cutesy apps, like be real here --- multi-touch for a consumer grade OS isn't really that practical. Aside from the small segment of the consumer population that will be ANYTHING on the sheer "new" or "cool fad of the moment" factor, the only practical use or interest I see is for the following audience:

1) Kiosk applications
2) Learning applications -- mainly thinking of elementary aged kids here
3) Disabled people --- with certain ailments or disabilities multi-touch could be easier than using a keyboard or mouse for these folks

...and a distant #4...

MAYBE some kind of business presentation setup --- picture a Win 7 box on a large (or as large as you can get touch screen) used in a conference room to add some "ooh...ahhh" to the dog and pony show power point presentations...

Aside from that select usage --- I can't see beyond the "cool or neat" factor why on Earth the average home user (re: the over whelming majority of users) would care for or need touch for a desktop OS.

...especially with the high cost of the monitors....

Not for desktops
By hemmy on 5/30/2009 1:25:16 PM , Rating: 2
Touch screens and multi-touch features offer nothing for a desktop computer. Where I work, we design road profiling equipment, and with each system sell a Panasonic Toughbook with it (many models have touch screen capability). The software we make is done keeping in mind when the customer wants to collect info simply pressing the buttons on the screen is much easier than using the rather pathetic touchpad.

Shill for M$
By grandpope on 5/28/09, Rating: 0
“Then they pop up and say ‘Hello, surprise! Give us your money or we will shut you down!' Screw them. Seriously, screw them. You can quote me on that.” -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng referencing patent trolls
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