Hands on: Windows 8 input options and pen computing

By Tom Warren, on 13th Sep 11 4:20 pm with 10 Comments

Microsoft has nurtured pen based computing inside Windows for a number of years, but what’s it like in Windows 8?

The Windows 8 developer preview build includes the ability to use pen based devices. Microsoft has improved its use of pen input for Windows 8 and extended it for use by developers. Third party Metro apps can easily implement an API call that will allow their applications to take advantage of pen devices and automatically recognize input from them. Microsoft’s recognition software appears to be improved in Windows 8. We threw a large number of poorly written words at it and it was shockingly precise.

Pen is one of the many ways to use a Windows 8 PC. Microsoft’s onscreen keyboard has been designed to fit the Windows Phone style of input. Feedback sounds are identical to Windows Phone and the keyboard features large surface areas for keys and a clever autocorrect system. Microsoft isn’t killing off the mouse and keyboard input though, they remain first class citizens and can operate Windows 8 in the same way as touch and pen.

Windows 8 keyboard

  • Anonymous

    yay, the best of all worlds in one os.. pen, touch, mouse & keyboard.  I’m glad i didn’t jump on any early tablets

    • Impartial

      You will also get to use this OS in Metro UI with kinect later down the line!

  • Anonymous

    am gonna get this for use in college

  • http://xc1023.com Kevin Lewis

    I have a HP Compaq tc4400. It has a touchscreen, but only with a pen input. Any idea how this will run?

  • adam

    i just went downstairs and 3 more articles… thnxs tom

  • JohnCz

    I like how they implemented the input mode switching.  I might actually use the split keyboard.

  • Anonymous

    cannot wait to see onenote on this thing. I hope they’ve gone all metro on the next iteration.

  • T. V.

    Hey Tom, is pressure sensitivity supported?

  • Anonymous

    I definitely see the influence of courier here. This is a clear indication that dual screen devices will be possible especially with the pen input capabilities throughout the OS and then way you can split the start screen. Cheers Microsoft!