I Love Multi-touch, But I'm Not Touching the Screen

Drivers for multi-touch screens in Windows 7 were recently made available, but I want multi-touch trackpads instead.

Everyone who's following Windows 7 knows that it will support multi-touch screens, but I never see anything about multi-touch trackpads. And that's too bad, because I don't ever want to use a laptop without a multi-touch trackpad again.

Multi-touch screens seem interesting, and I'm sure there'll be some useful applications for it. And as easy as it is to make fun of Microsoft Surface, I'd totally use one as a coffee table if they weren't so expensive. But for day-to-day computer use, I really don't want to touch the screen. I want to use a keyboard and I don't want to move my hand too far to control the pointer on screen.

So I like using a mouse for desktop work, but on a laptop, you're stuck with trackpads. I never liked trackpads and I assumed I'd be looking for a separate mouse when I bought an Asus Eee netbook. After I accidentally discovered that the Eee has a multi-touch trackpad, though, I was hooked.

The gestures for using the trackpad aren't as impressive as those you see in iPhone commercials, but they really get the job done. Move two fingers on the pad to scroll up or down, like a mouse wheel. Two fingers tapping close together is a right click, and two fingers spread apart are a middle click.

These simple touches make navigating, especially documents and web sites, much easier, but you don't hear many vendors bragging about multi-touch trackpads. Other than some models of the Eee, the only available laptops I could find that advertise multi-touch trackpads were some MacBooks. I hope Windows 7's multi-touch brings more attention to trackpads, not just screens.

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