Exclusive: N-Trig's Four-Fingered, Two-Handed Multitouch Promises a World of New Gestures
For those who don't know the name N-trig, the company made touchscreens for some of the earliest touchscreen notebooks (this was back when we were skeptical that touch computing might take off-- how wrong we were!). We've learned that the company has expanded its technology so that users can use not two, but up to four fingers while making gestures. Moreover, users can use two fingers on one hand while using a single finger on the other. (As always, N-trig supports pen input.)
Ntrig isn't the first to offer four-fingered multitouch as the Lenovo ThinkPad T400s and T410s with touch support using four fingers at once. However, Ntrig also has several new and exciting gestures up its sleeve.
If you take a gander at the demo video below, you'll see that gestures include being able to highlight text to copy or cut, scrolling through open windows by applying pressure with several fingers, minimizing or exposing all open windows, selecting an item to zoom in on, and making context sensitive menus appear.
For now, these gestures are only available on Windows 7 devices. Lenny Engelhardt, N-trig's VP of Business Development, confirmed that U.S. notebook OEMs have already committed to shipping both tablets and laptops with this new technology, which will arrive later this year (for obvious reasons-- letting OEMs announce their own roadmaps-- he declined to say which manufacturers will be adopting the technology).
That doesn't mean, though, that other platforms aren't on the way. In fact, he confirmed that the company is discussing Android, which would be the obvious OS alternative to Win 7 (until, of course, HP and Palm begin work on webOS tablets). That's good news: while adding four-fingered and two-handed touch to Win 7 tablets will enrich the user experience, that doesn't change the fact that the OS was designed to be used primarily with a mouse and keyboard-- not fingers.