Windows 7, Gestures, Embedded Touch screens, and You

Windows 7 hits the streets for real on Thursday. This will be a huge release for consumers and business IT users. I’ve been using the RC version for a few months now and really like it for my home PC. I’m sure I will like even more for my work PC’s when that time comes. But what about those embedded applications, kiosks, and displays that currently use Windows XP-Pro? We’ve heard or seen demo’s of Windows 7’s new features for multi-touch and gestures? Can we start using those features right away? Can we experiment with them?

I’ve had a chance to do some experimenting with Windows 7 and touchscreens. To utilize Windows 7 gestures and multi-touch features, you will need a HID compliant touch screen, that also reports itself as a HID-Digitizer and not a HID-Mouse or other proprietary device. Unfortunately this means that most if not all existing touch screens will NOT be able to take advantages of these
built in Windows 7 features. These existing Touch screens (HID, Serial or USB-Driver) WILL work with Windows as single touch devices (with existing WinXP drivers), but Windows 7 will not
recognize these devices as digitizers and make use of all those cool gestures and multi-touch
features available to that display. Most likely existing touch screen hardware will not be field
upgradable either. New hardware and firmware will be required to ensure that touch data is
properly and accurately reported back to Windows 7 as a HID-Digitizer device.

To be clear, if you have an existing touch screen with drivers. The drivers and the touch screens
will work with Windows 7, just as it did with Windows XP. Furthermore if you have a HID compliant touch screen or embedded display it too will work with Windows 7, just as it did with Windows XP. Only touch screens that are multi-touch capable AND report to Windows as a HID Digitizer will be able to take advantage of the native multi-touch and gesturing of Windows 7.

Windows 7 will be a great tool for use in industrial display applications, we just have to get
new touch screens to market to make that happen.