An add-on for Windows 8 that you’ll truly appreciate

Apple’s laptops have had them since around 2009. In today’s multi-touch-crazy computer world, you’ll need one too, especially for Windows 8.

I’m referring to a trackpad (or touchpad), probably a bit larger than the one built into your PC. See, as multitouch gestures became more and more important, Apple built larger and larger trackpads into their standard MacBooks, ‘Pros and ‘Airs. Soon there wasn’t even a button or bar…you tapped directly on the trackpad surface to perform whatever action the button click used to. If you had an older machine, you could get an external Magic Trackpad to do all those same things.

See, Windows 8 is like that. It wants you to use multitouch gestures, too…some might say, it needs you to use them.

But what if your PC doesn’t have the right-sized trackpad for that…or you have a machine with a touch-sensitive display, but don’t want to remove it from its dock?

PCWorld‘s Tony Bradley has a solution for that:

With the official launch of Windows 8 on the imminent horizon, PC manufacturers have announced a diverse array of new hardware. The problem with all of the desktop options is that they lack the one peripheral device they need to work effectively with Windows 8: a touchpad.

Just to catch everyone up, Windows 8 is engineered for touch. The Modern UI (formerly known and still referred to by the masses as “Metro”) is a colorful interface of mobile-esque tiles and apps. It’s possible to work with Windows 8 using a traditional mouse and keyboard, but it’s not as fluid or intuitive as simply tapping and swiping.

I have a Samsung Series 7 Slate with Windows 8 Pro. Most of the time it sits on my desk in a docking station emulating a desktop. It has a wired connection to my broadband Internet, and it’s connected to my 23” monitor via HDMI, and wirelessly to a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse.

The mouse I’m using is one of the new Microsoft Sculpt Touch devices, which—as the name implies—has some touch capabilities. There is a strip on the top where the scroll wheel is found on most mice which allows you to also swipe left and right. While that’s better than no touching and swiping, it’s nowhere near as natural as taking the tablet out of its dock and just working with Windows 8 via the touchscreen.

No amount of beta testing by Microsoft can make up for releasing a product into the wild, and watching how people will interact with it. If Windows 8 (and Surface) are to succeed, users will soon find solutions for any problems or rough edges, and will invent shortcuts and workarounds for those shortcomings.

When they can’t or won’t do that, then that product is in some serious trouble.

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