Non-touch: Still on the Windows Mobile 7 feature list?

Non-touch: Still on the Windows Mobile 7 feature list?

Summary: It's been quite the week for rumors and tips on things Windows Mobile and Zune-related. Why not close out the week with one more? This one is about the "non-touch" gesture-recognition capabilities Microsoft originally was planning to include in Windows Mobile 7.


It's been quite the week for rumors and tips on things Windows Mobile and Zune-related. Why not close out the week with one more?

Microsoft history buffs may recall that in January 2008, word leaked out (via an alleged internal Microsoft presentation) about what Microsoft was planning, feature-wise for Windows Mobile 7 (WM7). This was back when WM7 was a 2009 release codenamed "Photon," and before Windows Mobile 6.5 was on Microsoft's mobile roadmap.

Word was that WM7 would include new levels of touch and gesture recognition capabilities that would make Windows Mobile phones credible competitors to the iPhone. At the time, Microsoft declined to comment on whether information from that presentation was real or not.

Well, it turns out the presentation was, indeed, real. I'm posting a few slides from it, passed along by a source of mine, which focus on some of the gesture-recognition capabilities the Softies planned to make part of Windows Mobile 7 Photon.

Check out the full Windows Mobile 7 "non-touch" image gallery here.

Why post this now, when the info in those slides is at least two years old? If you look at the slides, you'll see a few interesting things:

Windows Mobile 6.1 and 6.5 phones already provide some level of gesture recognition. At TechEd 2009 this week, in fact, one of the talks focused on ways developers can write gesture-friendly Win Mobile apps to take advantage of the sensors, accelerometers and the like that are part of newer Windows Mobile devices.

(In case you were wondering why I don't just ask Microsoft about all this, the company isn't willing to talk at all about WM7. I asked yesterday for a comment on WM7 and got this statement back from a spokesperson: "We have not announced Windows Mobile 7 or anything related.")

Multi-touch is expected to be a requirement, not an option, for WM7 devices. I wonder if some of these original non-touch gesture recognition capabilities will make it onto the final WM7 feature list too. Would that kind of functionality make Windows Mobile more compelling, in your mind?

Topics: Microsoft, Hardware, Mobile OS, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software, Wi-Fi, Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • ?h

    "Would that kind of functionality make Windows Mobile more compelling,
    in your mind?"

    ?h ... no.

    sorry, coudn't resist.
  • Apple releases something, Microsoft 'rumors' copies

    Microsoft development is a bunch of bozos. Cut out the middleman and buy direct from Chinese copiers.
    • Right...

      Apple invented touch screen, they invented gestures, they invented everything! Anything that was released before that does something an Apple product did later was actually copying the device no one knew existed, just by way of Steve Jobs being so amazingly awesome and covered in win-sauce that his thoughts sometimes bleed out to other developers.

      Give me a break. Apple's motto should be, "#1 in marketing, everything else doesn't matter".
      • No, But Microsoft Is Late In The Game As Usual

        Their lateness is usually their disadvantage.
        • No, it's their advantage. And for one reason only:

          Their majority status. (85~90% of PCs use Windows client OSes).

          All they need do is sit back. They don't need as much of an R&D department. Which is typical for their M.O.; "Delegate" responsibility (which means shoving it to everyone else when not "borrowing" it from everyone else.)
    • You mean Indian copiers...

      I was working with a Mac sales associate last week, on a PC. Installing Windows Media 11, and doing a folder explore, he lamented the glass-like look that it and vista copied from OS X. He's right - and Vista implements it poorly too. Before the similarities were pointed out, Vista's UI mechanisms were a little strange at times, but now it's ever more clear. No pun intended.

      Then we got to Linux; my turn to chime how Microsoft clearly nicked KDE's look for Win7. (A pity; I always preferred GNOME. Or maybe it's a good thing because KDE sux, but whatever...)

      I wonder why Microsoft doesn't take from GNOME... or would Apple finally get to do another lawsuit?
  • I'm wondering if....

    WM7 will recognize the one finger salute and what will happen if it does.
    Linux Geek
  • Well well, looks like the 3 stooges have weighed in.

    You've proven, once again, that being a moron is a full time job.
  • Compelling??

    For me, Yes. I have been waiting on non-touch interaction for a long while. I hope they include it in WM7, the next Zune and whatever other "media device" they are working on. Including this on a any device would be an innovation if the user experience holds up.

    Regardless though, people will still piss and moan about how Microsoft is copying someone instead of being original (3 Stooges).

    Microsoft has had the non-touch technology for years. There's a Microsoft Research video floating around with someone using it on a Vista machine.

    Seems like the technology is coming to XBox via the purchase of a company in Israel and hopefully it comes to the PC (Windows 8??), phone and Zune too.
  • Newsflash.....

    Windows Mobile already is a credible competitor to iPhone...
  • RE: Non-touch: Still on the Windows Mobile 7 feature list?

    Mary, if I email you some Powerpoint slides of my brain
    controlled smartphone, with lots of pretty pictures of
    brainwaves coming out of my head telling the phone what to
    do, will you publish them on your blog with the headline that
    the iPhone, iPod Touch, Windows 7, Zune HD, Android killer
    has arrived?

    If you will, I would appreciate it very much.
  • How Should A Phone Really Work?

    When I am driving and making a call, I really don't give a flip about multi-touch as touching my phone is the last thing I want to do. For me, it's all about voice commands for phone operation through my BT headset.

    When it comes to data with any density, even VGA resolution on a 3" or 4" screen is useless.
    • Voice commands, that is funny.

      Voice commands, really. Almost always it would be faster to select a name from your contacts rather than trying to get the voice recognition software to recognize what you are saying.