Windows 7 watchers have been kept busy in the week since Microsoft released a pre-beta version of the OS to developers; the software giant has provided us with nuggets of information about Windows Vista's successor on a daily basis (see our Windows 7 spotlight for more). But now third-party software developers are jumping on the bandwagon.
CyberLink sent out a press release this morning revealing that it's been "working closely" with Microsoft to optimise its PowerCinema media centre software for Windows 7's touchscreen interface. PowerCinema Touch edition, which lets you watch and record digital TV on your PC, allows you to move, rotate, and zoom in and out of photos and videos using your fingers.
The touchscreen capability was one of the first features Microsoft revealed about Windows 7, and those following the development of the OS are keen to find out how it will be used in practice. While the iPhone has given touch technology a new lease of life, it's not immediately obvious how the principle could be applied to PCs. Certainly, no-one expects touchscreens to render the keyboard and mouse obsolete.
Certain applications demonstrated by Microsoft, such as a multi-touch piano keyboard, are a bit gimmicky and designed only to prove the concept. But while most people are unlikely to reach out to a touchscreen when sitting at their work PC, you could argue that when placing a notebook on your lap, the screen is more accessible and convenient than the keyboard and mouse for small photo edits, or when moving around in a mapping application. And there must be plenty of specific business applications - touch has been a major feature of tablet PCs for years, and while such devices have never appealed to a mainstream audience, they've proved popular for certain vertical markets.
But, other than appealing to niche audiences and representing one of the few features that's completely new in Windows 7, are touchscreen capabilities on desktop versions of Windows really worth it?