Microsoft made available for download extra goodies tailored to Windows 7’s Natural User Interface (NUI) that were previously offered exclusively on new computers from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows 7 was released as a free download on April 21st, 2010, allowing customers with computers featuring multi-touch enabled displays, running the latest iteration of the Windows client, to enjoy a collection of games and applications leveraging Windows 7’s Touch capabilities. Windows 7 Touch Pack was initially introduced approximately a year ago, as the operating system was still in development.
“The Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows 7 was first introduced last May as a series of 6 applications that are designed to showcase Windows Touch in Windows 7 and to help people learn touch gestures. It consists of 3 casual games, and 3 Microsoft Surface applications that have been created for Windows 7,” Brandon LeBlanc, Windows communications manager on the Windows Client Communications Team, noted. “Until today, the Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows 7 was only available for OEMs to put on new Windows 7 PCs capable of Windows Touch.”
According to LeBlanc, strong demand catalyzed the opening up of the Touch Pack collection. “Due to feedback and requests from both partners and customers, we are releasing the Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows 7 for anyone with Windows Touch capable devices to download,” he explained. The Redmond company revealed in the second half of 2009 that it was considering offering the Touch Pack to the public, and not limiting the games and apps to new OEM machines.
“If you have a Windows 7 PC or a multitouch monitor that supports Windows Touch in Windows 7, the Touch Pack for Windows 7 is a good way for you to be able to truly test the multitouch investments we’ve made in Windows 7,” LeBlanc added.
A copy of the Touch Pack has already made its way into the wild. As early as the first half of June 2009, Touch Pack was leaked and made available for download via various illegal third-party sources including BitTorrent trackers. Judging by the sheer number of Softpedia readers that accessed my Touch Pack articles, I can confirm that demand for a standalone download of the release was indeed extremely high. This is a great move from Microsoft, allowing customers to boost their Windows 7 NUI experience on touch-capable machines. Hopefully, more will follow, as such moves are an excellent tactic to evangelize Microsoft Surface as well.
Here’s what the “Touch Pack includes:
– Microsoft Blackboard, an intricate game of physics in which you solve a puzzle by creating a fanciful machine on a blackboard.
– Microsoft Garden Pond, a tranquil game that takes place in serene Japanese water gardens.
– Microsoft Rebound, a game in which you use your fingertips to control Tesla spheres with an electrical field between them to catapult a metal game ball into your opponent’s goal.
– Microsoft Surface Globe, a program that you can use to explore the earth as a flat 2-D map or as an immersive 3-D experience.
– Microsoft Surface Collage, a program that you can use to explore and interact with your photos and arrange them as a desktop background.
– Microsoft Surface Lagoon, a screen saver and interactive water simulation, complete with a meditative rock arrangement and playful, shy fish.”