While not a required feature, Microsoft seems to want a range of touch devices.
Tablets are undoubtedly coming to Windows 8, but so are ultrabooks with touch
All of focus on the touch side of Windows 8, which is understandable as Microsoft is looking to make big gains in the tablet market as it has been untouched by non-Apple companies. However, reports today have come out saying the company is looking to bring another type of touch device to the market: ultrabooks.
While we’ve seen plenty of ultrabooks that have been tried as a variety of form factors – and even multiple form factors at the same time, through devices such as the Eee Transformer Prime – Microsoft’s want vendors to have ultrabooks with touch screens.
Currently touch inputs for ultrabooks are optional, and look to be remaining that way, but Microsoft is looking for 30 percent of ultrabooks to be touch enabled by the end of the year. With Windows 8 releasing anywhere between the middle of the year and the holiday period, it seems consumers will be spoilt for choice when Windows 8 lands. Something that other company don’t have the resources to do.
Microsoft is apparently “actively involved” in the design process. This is interesting because this seems to be a concerted effort on Microsoft’s part to develop technology that works, at least on the face of it. I doubt Microsoft will ship products that don’t provide a good experience at launch, because the iPad will be around during Christmas. Last year it was the most requested gift during the holidays, so expect the same again.
There are hardware requirements for Windows 8 PCs, such as a minimum of five touch points. This is essential if Microsoft is to create consistent experiences across devices like they do in Windows Phone 7. Apple’s ‘closed’ ecosystem works because they control the experience and the products. Google has struggled in the tablet market because manufacturers create what they like, so there’s little consistency.
I’ve said before that I believe tablet-ultrabook hybrids will be a good fit for Windows 8, particularly for business users, and ultrabooks could follow suit. While I think using touch on a laptop is slow, and too precise, getting touch-based ultrabooks working well definitely attracts users.