Microsoft has been talking about touch technology for what seems like forever. Now Windows 7 will rely heavily on touch and it's really easy to be skeptical about Microsoft's latest plans. But this time could be different.
At the D6 conference, Microsoft will show off a bit of Windows 7 and its touch/gesture functionality. The news is being kept under wraps but once the floodgates open that's all you will hear about. Microsoft's Steven Sinofsky gave a little more Windows 7 color News.com's Ina Fried.
So why should we get on the touch bandwagon now?
Ironically, Apple is one reason. Apple's iPhone has created a bunch of folks that are used to touch as a navigation tool. If you don't buy into the touch navigation you will at least have heard enough about it to give it a try.
Meanwhile, Microsoft has been tinkering with touch and gesture technology forever (all resources). At some point, Microsoft will get it right. And Microsoft's Surface (gallery right) could have broad implications for the industry--assuming it gets traction beyond vertical markets. These experiments will eventually add up to something (we can debate what that something is forever).
And let's not forget the dreaded Tablet PC (reviews). Here's what's funny about the Tablet PC--if you talk to folks that actually have one they love it. Ed Bott can give you an earful about how his Tablet PC is handy on an airplane and recognizes his handwriting. Other folks fall into the same camp. The problem: There are too few of these Tablet PC fans to make a market beyond vertical niches like health care.
Microsoft's bet may be that Windows 7 + Tablet PCs = Mass adoption. At the very least, you'll have some touch ability built in to your PC and displays. The big question: Will you buy into it?