I have been running Windows 8 CP on my primary workstation for about two weeks now. The experience is surprisingly good, although I am sure that work-a-day users of Windows are going to freak out at the site of the Metro, especially when accessed from the traditional Windows keyboard and mouse. To that end, I though it might be useful to get my hands on some touch-enabled hardware.
This has tuned out to be less than feasible. According to the Windows 8 build blog, Win8-certified touch devices will have to be capable of handling five-point touch input:
This is an interesting point of data, because Windows 7 “touch ready” devices only needed to support two-point multi-touch. Thus, the almost then entire mini-ecosystem of touch devices that were built for Windows 7 will never get a Win8 certification. Those touch monitors from Dell and HP? Nope. All-in-one touchscreen PCs from a multitude of manufacturers? Nope.
It looks as though the Win8 touch interface has been designed with the capacitive multi-touch displays that are commonplace on tablets and smartphones in mind. But even a number of current Tablet PC and Windows Slates with capacitive multi-touch will be out in the cold, as a lot of them only support four-point multi-touch. As for multi-touch monitors, the only that I can find that support 5+ points of touch are the 3M displayes referenced in theWin8 Build blog (see above). Since these displays retail for over $1000, I think most people would be better off buying a tablet like the ASUS EP121, ASUS B121, or the Samsung Slate 7.
I suppose you might be able to get some mileage out of multi-touch track pads. Most newer laptops have pads that support multi-touch, but my venerable Dell E6500 does not. To that end, I am going to try out a Logitech TouchPad Wireless to see if having a gesture-supporting track pad buys me anything in Win8-ville. I’ll post back with results.
In any event, it seems that those wanting to see what the Windows 8 touch experience will really be like are going to have to wait on some hardware that does not yet exist. Touch screen ultrabooks? Hopefully this will be more fruitful than Waiting for Godot.