Microsoft and Intel working to improve laptop trackpads for Windows 8.1

While Microsoft and many PC OEMs have been pushing for more touchscreen laptops to be released, what about the good old fashioned trackpad? As it turns out, Microsoft is working with Intel and other companies to bring about improvements to laptop touchpads that might start appearing around the time of the Windows 8.1 launch later this year.

During the BUILD 2013 developer conference last week, in a session called "Power Up Your Desktop App with Windows 8.1" Microsoft program manager James Clarke took a few minutes to demo something he called Precision Touchpad. The demo, which begins at the 53 minute mark, showed Clarke working with a laptop with a prototype trackpad that offered the same kind of precise interaction with the laptop screen as one might expect with a touchscreen display.

Microsoft not only wants to make the trackpad experience better but also have it be more consistent among different notebook models. Clarke states, "If you were to go into, for example, a Best Buy and try a bunch of different touchpads, you’d probably come away with very different experiences, very different materials, some of them are rough, some of them smooth, some respond well, others don’t ..."

Precision Touchpad hardware will also allow notebooks to have improved gesture support, along with better two finger scrolling and more. Clarke says that the first notebooks that will have the trackpads with these improved features will start showing up in limited availability late in 2013, with a bigger launch in 2014. So far, there's no word on which PC OEMs will participate in this Precision Touchpad launch.

Source: Channel 9 via The Verge | Image via Microsoft

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@NoClipMode, Well, you don't do you? Apple's trackpads are ingenious and have yet to be matched/copied/cloned. Quite possibly because Apple patented the hell out of it.

If Microsoft can set a standard for trackpads then perhaps things might improve. I've used dozens and dozens of notebooks over the last 20 years and every single one of them has a crap trackpad. No one has got close to how well the MacBook trackpad works and how it's so tightly integrated to the whole software and operating system.

Acer had some good trackpads!!! Some of the more recent laptops from IBM, and Toshiba really suck though, (they're kinda built into the laptop case, like actually physically part of it). One moment you're typing and suddenly the text is all gone because of static sensitivity. It's ridiculous.

Izlude said,
Acer had some good trackpads!!! Some of the more recent laptops from IBM, and Toshiba really suck though, (they're kinda built into the laptop case, like actually physically part of it). One moment you're typing and suddenly the text is all gone because of static sensitivity. It's ridiculous.

Pretty difficult for IBM laptops to suck considering that IBM no longer selling laptops.

i wish they would, i dread using trackpads on pc laptops, i have a HP and it's trackpad has to be the worst i have ever used.

Samsungs have some good trackpads on pc's

This is good news, im glad Microsoft and Intel are working on dragging up a good standard of trackpad.

I'd like to know who these "other companies" are, because so far, Microsoft and Intel are carrying this industry. Intel with Haswell, and the Ultrabook standard, and marketting money, Microsoft with showing OEMs how to make a proper tablet, married to a great OS.

Come on OEMs. Lenovo and ASUS are the only companies I'm interested in buying anything from (besides another Surface device)

Since it's about touchpads I imagine it would be the touchpad OEM like Synaptics (which is founded by the designer of Intel's first microprocessor)