Touch is optional in Windows 8, but for many devices, it will be central to the experience. That makes it pretty important for touchscreen hardware to work reliably and well. Today, Microsoft's admitted that wasn't always the case with Windows 7 devices, and shared some of the particular issues it hopes to fix with Windows 8 hardware.

In the latest Building Windows 8 blog post, product managers Jerry Koh and Jeff Piira explain how swipes can be misinterpreted as taps, how taps can be missed, and how the mission-critical edge gestures in Windows 8 may not work at all, since touchscreens have been traditionally designed to be most responsive in the center and can lose functionality near the edges of the bezel. In testing, Microsoft shows that 15 screens had a zero percent success rate when a right edge swipe gesture was used in an attempt to bring up the Charms menu.

According to the team, Microsoft is working with external hardware vendors to make sure the next generation of touchscreens do their job, but in the meanwhile it's announced a 20-pixel buffer around the edges of the screen for legacy Windows 7 touchscreen devices, so they'll still be able to use the new operating system.