Microsoft aims to fix trackpad behavior in Windows 8.1

A joint effort with Intel, Synaptics, and Elan will try to correct some of the limitations in today's trackpads for Windows 8 notebooks.

Windows 8.1 Preview
Windows 8.1 Preview Microsoft

Windows 8 users who've struggled with trackpad issues may find some relief in the finished version of Windows 8.1.

Current trackpad drivers designed for Windows 8 can't necessarily take advantage of all the features and gestures available in the operating system. To rectify that problem, Microsoft, Intel, Synaptics, and Elan are teaming up to directly enable pointer, multi-touch, and gesture support in Windows 8.1, according to The Verge.

Tapping into the new "Precision Touchpad" support, the group also wants to transform future Windows 8.1 notebook trackpads into small touch screens that would offer smoother scrolling, better zooming, and other enhancements.

James Clarke, a principal program manager lead for Microsoft, discussed and demoed the new trackpad concept at the company's Build conference on June 26. Some notebooks equipped with the new support should appear later in the year but won't ship in volume numbers until 2014, according to Clarke.

However, Window 8.1 users won't necessarily need to buy new devices to benefit from the improvements.

In a blog posted on June 28, driver maker Synaptics described efforts to better integrate touch and gesture support in Windows 8.1. The company said that it's already been working with Microsoft to create a standard for touchpad technology for the update to Windows 8.

Read the full CNET Review

Microsoft Windows 8.1

The Bottom Line: If you're a dedicated Windows 8 hater, the update to Windows 8.1 isn't going to change your mind. For everyone else, this collection of tweaks, fixes, and new features is useful, but everything here should have shipped in the original version last year. / Read full review

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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