Microsoft's Touch Pack for Windows 7, consisting of six touch applications, has been installed on new Windows 7 PCs by OEMs for some time, but now it is accessible to consumers. Microsoft's Windows and Service teams worked to integrate touch-screen functionality into Windows 7 long before the operating system's release, leading not only to a number of laptops and desktops capable of multitouch input, but possibly a new generation of tablet PCs.
Microsoft has released its Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows 7 to users with
touch-screen devices. The Touch Pack
comprises six applications designed take advantage of the operating system's
multitouch capabilities: three games and three Microsoft Surface applications.
"Until today, the Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows 7 was only available
for OEMs to put on new Windows 7 PCs capable of Windows Touch," Microsoft
spokesperson Brandon LeBlanc wrote
on The Windows Blog April 21.
"Due to feedback and requests from both
partners and customers, we are releasing the Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows 7
for anyone with Windows Touch-capable devices to download."
The games are Blackboard, Garden Pond and Rebound, all of which involve
touching elements on a screen in order to win; the applications are Surface
Globe, which lets users explode an Earth rendered in either two or three
dimensions, Surface Collage, a photo-manipulation program, and Surface Lagoon, which
lets users interact with a "water simulation" that includes fish and
The download, along with more details on each of the six programs, can
be found here.
PCs running the Touch Pack must include multitouch-enabled
"The Touch Pack for Windows 7 is a good way for you to be able to truly
test the multitouch investments we've made in Windows 7," LeBlanc said in
his blog post.
Microsoft's Windows and Service teams worked to integrate touch-screen
functionality into Windows 7 long before the operating system's release. During
the Windows 7 launch in New York on
Oct. 22, Microsoft
positioned several multitouch PCs around its presentation area
attendees to tap and swipe through various applications. Subsequently, various
manufacturers have introduced laptops and desktops with touch screens.
But the growing consumer tablet PC market segment, as heralded by the launch
of Apple's iPad, may shift the focus of touch-enabled Windows 7 from hybridized
laptops to tablets. Hewlett-Packard
is already prepping a tablet PC running a modified version of Windows 7,
others will likely follow. Whether those tablets will be able to replicate the
success of the iPad, which sold nearly a half-million units in its first few
days of release, is much more debatable.
"The market will play host to a flood of 'me too' tablets in 2010, but
it's an immature product category with an unproven use case," CCS Insight
analyst Geoff Blaber told Reuters in an April 7 article. "Apple's brand
and service offering mean the iPad will be an exception in a category that will
struggle to gain consumer acceptance."