I installed Windows 7 Beta on an HP TouchSmart PC over the weekend, getting cozy with the new touch and multitouch features, then loaded up a sweet two-handed Air Hockey demo. Have a look:
[When you're done here, check out our complete Windows 7 coverage]
The basic touch and multitouch actions found native to Windows 7 are nothing to oooh and ahhh over, but there are a lot of little intuitive moves and conveniences that work well, even in the beta stage. More importantly, developers in and out of Microsoft are now getting all touchy, and we plan to track that pretty closely. But first, here's the starter menu of touch and multitouch maneuvers:
Tap: The quick screen touch doesn't reveal an arrow cursor, but the screen ripples outward, like water, plus there's a tiny crosshair where you are actually tapping. The TouchSmart makes a beep (and when you tap with a second finger at the same time, that touch emits a higher-pitch beep).
Tap and hold: The "right-click" behavior is very well constructed: You tap and hold, and a circle swirls around your finger. Let go to reveal the right-click menu.
Flick: When you enable flicks, you can swim through longer pages and menus a lot faster, both vertically and horizontally. When you reach the end of the menu or screen, the window recoils a bit, indicating the termination.
Type: There's a surprisingly MacBooky on-screen keyboard lurking just off frame in Windows 7. You tap the screen's edge for it to stick out just a bit; tap it again and out it slides to center screen, sizable to your fat-fingered liking.
Zoom: In spite of new concerns over multitouch patents, this zoom behavior is pretty much identical to the one seen in Apple products (and on Microsoft's Surface as well). You put two fingers on the screen and move them together to zoom out, and separate them to zoom in. I will note that this was easier to do with two hands—one-handed pinching was probably too micro for the TouchSmart screen.