Microsoft Windows 7 : Speech, Touch, Ink

Microsoft Ina Fried has posted an article over on CNET about an interview that Bill Gates gave after a recent speech at Standford University.

He mentioned some very interesting things about the next version of Microsoft Windows – Microsoft Windows 7, to say the very least:

After decades of investing in things like speech technology and handwriting recognition, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates said that users appear ready for new ways of interacting with machines. And, he said, advances in those areas and in touch-based gestures will find their way into the next version of Windows, known as Windows 7.

“The version after Vista is a big step forward in terms of speech,” Gates said in an interview following his speech at Stanford University. “It’s a big step forward in terms of ink. It’s a big step forward in terms of touch.”

Microsoft has already hinted that iPhone-like gestures are a part of the next Windows, and Gates said that touch-screen is likely to be the most broadly appealing of the new interfaces.

“The likelihood is that touch will become mainstream on certain form factors very quickly because we are working hand-in-hand with the hardware companies,” Gates told CNET “Speech and ink it’s a little harder to say.”

The hardware is definitely driving this – with low-cost devices like the Asus Eee PC flirting with touchscreens, the iPhone (and other mobile phones on their way to market), etc, there will be a definite need for the software side of things.