Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows 7 revealed

One of the features that was initially shown off about Windows 7 was the touch capability; that talk seems to have died down lately, amongst the beta and RC releases, but an announcement today has brought it back into the limelight. A post over at the Windows Team blog has just revealed the Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows 7. This pack brings a range of touch-friendly applications, of which we will detail below.

Microsoft Surface Globe:

The first of these applications is called Microsoft Surface Globe. This, as you can imagine, is a multi-touch capable globe (think Google Earth) that uses the Virtual Earth 3D engine to display a rotatable 3D version of the world. You can visit various locations and regions, get information about some areas, and bookmark your favorites. To add to this, some cities are even constructed in 3D, providing a very realistic and detailed experience. If you want to watch a quick video of this in action, please head to this link. Also, there's a screenshot of this below.

Microsoft Surface Collage:

Next up, we have the Microsoft Surface Collage. This tool allows you to choose a gallery of photos, and then move them around and scale them however you please. If you've watched a video of Microsoft Surface before, you'll have an idea of how this works. Once you've got an arrangement that you like, you can choose to save it as an image then use it as a desktop wallpaper. Again, a screenshot is included.

Microsoft Surface Lagoon:

Microsoft Surface Lagoon is a very interesting looking application. It is, essentially, a screensaver for your computer that you can interact with using your hands via multi-touch technology. It depicts an underwater scene with sand, water (of course), and fish. By interacting with it, you can have fish gather around you and also run your fingers through the virtual water.

Microsoft Blackboard:

Microsoft Blackboard is another rather intriguing piece of software. It is a puzzle game, that uses simulated physics combined with multi-touch to get the user to solve it. You use gestures to create seesaws, fans and gears that can all be resized and moved around. Everything is pieced together on a virtual blackboard (hence the name), and the goal is to get balloons and balls to a lightbulb.

Microsoft Rebound:

Microsoft Rebound is a game that is played against friends or AI, which appears to be somewhat similar to Air Hockey. The aim is to "use your fingers to propel a ball and annihilate your opponent" whilst playing in an electrified court.

Microsoft Garden Pond:

Microsoft Garden Pond is another game, though this one has a more relaxing tone to it. The idea is to guide some origami creations to peaceful areas of a pond, or direct them around using your hands to complete set goals. To move the origami, you interact with the water, making ripples.

Obviously, in order to use these applications, you will need a Windows 7 PC that supports multi-touch. This pack will be available to PC suppliers, who will choose themselves which applications to install (or not install), so that means that these will become available when Windows 7 itself is released. After Windows 7 is widely available, Microsoft state that they, "will look at making the Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows 7 even more broadly available based on feedback from customers and partners."

GottaBeMobile have a full video demonstration, embedded below.

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wow this looks so cool. Shame its all useless fluff. Is anyone really going to use this except to keep their kids quiet for a few hours?

Hmmm, I wonder if this would make interactive white boards (think Smartboards or Promethium boards) when doing normal OS stuff. We use Smartboards here at the school district I work at but we won't be moving to a different OS for at least 1 more year.

It's merely a pack of touch-capable applications. I'm sure it'll be made available either by Microsoft or a PC manufacturer like Dell.

MS come on, make this available to people like us and people that may already have touch screens.
No point just releasing it to system builders.

OMG watching the video review.... This guy is a total game n00b... why is he doing the review???
Has he ever seen Google Earth???

Chipshop said,
I was shouting at the screen when he was playing the boat game, idiot. All he did was moan about there being no help, common sense!!!!!!


Here's some feedback: release the pack with RTM. I don't want to go buy a new computer instead of just a touchscreen.

Ok, even for a Mac user, I must say this is pretty nice!!! That google earth thing looks slick, even though I'd prefer if it were integrated right into Google Earth, but I must admit Google Earth is not-so-pretty and not-so-user-friendly.

Those games look nice too! Man, I can't wait until touch capabilities get deployed on the Mac, it's about time! I know of a hack for Macbook, but this is not really what I want.

duneworld said,
Hopefully Google will make Google Earth touch capable soon enough... if they haven't already.

Virtual Earth is even better

Sorry for the confusion. I knew it wasn't Google Earth that's why I said, it'd be nice if it were integrated :P

Hmm... but what about those of us who install our own copies of Windows? Ah well, it'll probably be all over the internet within a few days of its release. XD

djdanster said,
I am failing to see a download link. or are there no links available yet?

Not only are you failing to see a download link, you're failing to read the article :)

It clearly says at the bottom that these apps will be made available to system builders first when Windows 7 launches. Microsoft will "look at" making it more broadly available at a later date depending on demand.

Give me touch ability sensitive enough to travel around Windows, like the iphone, and i will be impressed. Otherwise, i will just be interested.

Windows 7 touch is pretty good. A lot of the major interface changes have been centered around the fact that you need to be able to touch it with a finger and not just a stylus or use a mouse.

ccoltmanm said,
Give me touch ability sensitive enough to travel around Windows, like the iphone, and i will be impressed. Otherwise, i will just be interested.

Xp is sensitive enough to use a finger with a pointer. the problem is the siz e of the buttos and things like that

ccoltmanm said,
Give me touch ability sensitive enough to travel around Windows, like the iphone, and i will be impressed. Otherwise, i will just be interested.

Using the word "sensitive" makes no sense here. The hardware is "sensitive", the software is "compatible".

Both of which apply to Win7 on good touch-sensitive hardware, fortunately.