Microsoft is doubling down on its controversial touch interface for Windows 8, with a new video all but confirming an update coming down the pipe is codenamed Blue. The upgrade offers more touch sensitivity, enabling finer control of apps such as Fresh Paint, a digital easel for artists.
The video comes from Microsoft fan blog MSFT Kitchen, which "stumbled upon" the footage of the company's internal TechFest conference -- cringeworthy slogan: "the & in R&D". The video, embedded below, shows the company's chief technical strategy officer Eric Rudder slouching comfortably in an armchair and having a good old chinwag.
Charlotte Pereira, the creative director for Fresh Paint, uses a great big touchscreen to demo the app's upcoming new features, including watercolours and importing images from Bing. It's a relatively complex app, fully controlled by touch. It reminded me of the desktop illustrator in the new series of Black Mirror, only with all the extraneous unintuitive clutter you expect of Microsoft.
Pereira calls the TV she's using 'Surface' in her demo, indicating Microsoft hasn't completely forgotten about its big screen touch-enabled product, first seen several years ago. The name is now applied to its own-brand tablet range.
Bill Gates was spotted using an enormous touchscreen in his question and answer session on Reddit, so it may be something Microsoft is going to push as a mainstream consumer product after the launch of Blue.
If you want to check out the demo, you'll need to fast-forward to 5:00, because the screen isn't touch-enabled the first time Pereira uses it. Appropriately, Rudder spends the time while they wait for it to be fixed explaining why Microsoft is okay showing off unfinished prototypes.
Blue is the unconfirmed codename for the first major update to Windows 8, first spotted in a job ad last month. Sources inside Microsoft told our sister site ZDNet that Blue was halfway to release, possibly indicating a yearly update process for the company's flagship desktop software.
What would you like to see from Windows 8 Blue? Is Microsoft right to focus on its touchscreen interface? Would you use a huge touchscreen for art? Leave a masterpiece in the comments below, or daub all over our Facebook wall.