Laptop trackpads were somewhat problematic in the vanilla version of Windows 8, before Microsoft moved in to fix some of these issues. Now, some issues still exist, but by and large, Windows 8 offers improved support for laptop trackpads.
Now Redmond wants to prevent these problems in Windows 8.1 (codename Windows Blue), and the software titan has made a decision to join forces with several of its partners to address the problem.
According to a report over at The Verge, Microsoft announced at the BUILD developer event that it had partnered up with companies like Intel, Elan and Synaptics to bring multi-touch and gesture support for laptop trackpads in the upcoming operating system.
Microsoft is said to be focusing on, what it calls, “Precision Touchpad”. This is a brand new technology that essentially turns the trackpad into a small touch-screen that can support a wide variety of gestures.
James Clarke, the Windows principal program manager showcased the new technology at BUILD.
At the same time, Microsoft admitted that it could take a while until PC manufacturers adopt this. But nevertheless, the first laptops offering Precision Touchpad support are likely to arrive on store shelves by the end of the year. As Clarke said:
“These devices will be coming to market in some limited availability this holiday and then shipping in volume over the course of the next year.”
This is a rather interesting new development, and if implemented correctly could solve a lot of touch-based UI issues of Microsoft’s new platforms. A fair bit of this depends on hardware makers and whether they run away with this technology — but at least Redmond is active on this front.