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Windows 7: The OS that launches a thousand touch-screen PCs?

More PC makers are announcing Windows 7 machines that use touch screens

By Eric Lai
August 20, 2009 12:58 PM ET

Computerworld - Apple Inc. may still be coy about whether it plans to launch a touch-screen tablet computer this year, but Windows PC makers are forging right ahead.

In the past three weeks, five leading PC makers have announced or been reported to confirm plans to release touch-screen PCs running Windows 7, which will provide built-in multitouch features, as well as enable touch applications written for it.

These five companies would join the two largest PC makers in the world, which began rolling out touch PCs before Windows 7: Dell Inc., which sells the touch-screen-enabled Studio One all-in-one consumer desktop, and Hewlett-Packard Co., which has led the way with touch-screen PCs since it introduced its first TouchSmart computer in January 2007.

The latest entrants include the following:

These PC makers together control more than 60% of the global computer market.

In addition, NextWindow Ltd. said Wednesday that its optical touch-screen overlays, which are already used to touch-enable Dell's and HP's PCs, are being adopted by a number of PC and monitor makers for forthcoming all-in-one PCs running Windows 7.

"We've got eight to 10 projects that we expect to go into mass production in the next one to two months," said Al Monro, CEO of the Auckland, New Zealand-based company, in an interview. He declined to name NextWindows' customers.

NextWindow, which supplied 400,000 touch-screen PC overlays last year and expects to supply a million this year, is one of the largest vendors in the optical touch-screen market, along with Taiwanese hardware vendor Quanta Computer Inc., which is rumored to be building a touch-screen tablet PC for Apple.

Optical touch is only one of six major types of touch-screen technology on the market today, according to Monro. The iPhone, for instance, uses projected capacitive technology, while touch-enabled cash registers typically use resistive film or infrared.



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