The Windows Touch Team at Microsoft has posted a very comprehensive look at touchscreen interfaces and interaction with Tablet PCs in regards to the upcoming . The post is their first on this subject, and it sounds like they will be discussing it much more in the upcoming weeks/months.
They plan on touch being a “ first-class way to interact with your PC alongside the mouse and keyboard“, instead of in the past, where it usually felt more like an add-on (or even an afterthought). They also plan on it not only being used to scroll through a web page or zoom in or out on a map or photo, but also finding its way into games.
They discuss how touch in Windows 7 has evolved and built upon the experience they’ve been gaining since the Tablet PC days of Windows XP. They also mention where they think touch is headed:
We think touch will become broadly available as the hardware evolves and while it might be the primary input for some form factors (such as a wall mounted display in a hospital, kiosk, or point of sale) it will also prove to richly augment many scenarios such as reading on a convertible laptop or a â€œkitchen PCâ€.
Among the gestures that will work with existing applications:
– Tap and drag
– Forward and back
– Zoom and rotate
There won’t be a totally seperate user interface/shell either – they are working on integrating it directly into Windows 7, with some of the UI elements being optimized for touch input (such as taskbar buttons, etc.).
It’s a very extensive article, and it’s pretty clear they are making touch a major focus of Windows 7.
Read: Engineering Windows 7