True Tablets explained that several recent touchscreen MIDs and UMPCs — including the upcoming Archos 9 as well as the recently released Viliv S5 and X70 — are not USB-HID compliant. Consequently, even with a Windows 7 (or Vista) OS, these devices would lack tablet features such as an on-screen keyboard in the profile logon screen.
I shared the pessimism of the guru of this issue — Frank Garcia (aka CTitanic) of UMPC Tips – whether a driver update to a non-USB-HID compliant touchscreen could enable tablet features. However, having learned that “never say never” often applies to what’s technically possible, I could not foreclose the possibility (“though this isn’t 100% certain”).
True Tablets was posted only a few days ago. What a difference a day or two makes …
Non-USB-HID compliant touchscreens have been the focus of the Viliv X70 is not Windows Touch compliant (HID/eGalax) thread on the UMPCPortal forums. Yesterday, one of the forum members, Mongoose (I’m ElJeffe there), advised that he had obtained from Dynamism support a new driver with HID support. CTitanic hosted the driver. I downloaded it, and installed it after uninstalling the prior drivers, rebooting early and often, etc.
Did it work? Yes! Here’s the findings so far:
- No on-screen keyboard in the profile logon screen – FIXED!
- no floating tip, or focus on text field after opening tip – FIXED!
- Tablet PC software missing in accessories (Vista) and not accessible (including Control Panel applets) – FIXED!
- No Ink support in Office – – FIXED!
Update: Not only do I have ink support in Outlook 2007. I also can use ink Appointment, Contact and Task forms with Tablet Enhancements for Outlook.
True Tablets mentioned other issues. I just haven’t had a chance yet to test some issues (e.g., pen flicks), and other issues necessarily take time to verify (e.g., automatic learning from your handwriting). But all of the issues I did test have been fixed!
True Tablets quoted CTitanic: “Installing W7 in a touch screen device without HID Support does not make too much sense to me because you are missing the best part that W7 brings to these type of devices. Without these features you better stay with Windows XP.” Now there is a point in installing Windows 7. Further, my Viliv X70 now is far more usable, particularly with the ink support, floating tip for text entry, etc.
While I applied this new driver to my Viliv X70, the implications go well beyond this particular device. AFAIK, there’s no reason a similar driver could provide similar functionality to the Archos 9, for example.
Of course, a resistive touch screen can’t provide as good an inking experience as an active digitizer. But there’s no reason why a resistive touch screen can’t be the best it can be. Now it appears the non-USB-HID compliant touchscreens can have the same functionality as their USB-HID compliant touchscreen cousins. Exciting times!