Windows 8.1 - Precision Touchpad
I had a chuckle watching this build session. I feel for Microsoft sometimes, as it seems like if they want something done right they really do have to do it themselves! :D
In any case, on Channel 9 there is a demo video (starts at 52:50 with the demo at 55:00) showing the precision touchpad changes coming in Windows 8.
If you don't fell like watching, he talks about how Microsoft are working with touch pad partners (Intel, ELAN and Synaptics) to help create a touch pad standard that is hooked into the Direct Manipulation API and baked into Windows.
This will allow Windows (instead of 3rd party drivers) to handle such things as the pointer, multi-touch, palm rejection, gesture support and what he calls "ballistics" (basically the inertial scrolling and end-list bounce-back). Essentially touch pads will behave like mini touch-screens.
I wouldn't say the demo (shown at 55:00) is "ground breaking" as it is the same behaviour we have seen from the better Windows PC in the last couple of years (and every MacBook since forever!), however it's nice to see they are working toward removing the inconsistent touch pad behaviour between PC makes and models.
He mentions that the precision touchpad hardware is coming to select PCs later in 2013, and shipping in volume in 2014. Based on the fact that Microsoft is working with Intel on this, I'd be surprised if the "precision touchpad" isn't included as a part of the Ultrabook spec for 2014.