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.

"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer
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