Windows 7 has taken a lot of flak for being tough to run properly on low power tablet computers with low resolution displays. While Windows 7 includes support for multitouch gestures and has nice large icons and a few other features designed to make the OS more touch-friendly than previous versions of Windows, the on-screen keyboard and handwriting recognition features can be tough to use — or even downright distracting on some devices, and tablets with Intel Atom processors and 1024 x 600 pixel displays struggle with things like automatic screen rotation, and displaying applications in portrait mode.
A number of companies have come up with software designed to make things a bit better, including Mirabyte FrontFace and Thinix Touch. But one of the most interesting concepts I’ve seen this year was called Macallan.
Macallan was designed to make Windows 7 look more like Windows Phone 7, or rather, more like the Zune media software interface. It has an easy to navigate menu on one side of the display for flipping between internet, music, applications, and other features, and nice large icons for items in each category. Macallan was designed from the ground up to be used with your fingers rather than a keyboard and mouse. It also featured a large keyboard that docked to the bottom of the display.
Unfortunately Engadget is reporting that UI Centric, the company behind the Macallan concept has killed the project. So it doesn’t look like we’ll see any tablet shipping with the software. It also doesn’t look like you’ll be able to download Macallan and install it on your own device.
To be fair, while Macallan showed a lot of promise, I hadn’t seen any real world tests of the software and I’m not sure how it handled 3rd party apps. One of the key advantages of using a Windows tablet instead of an iPad or Android device is the ability to run full blown Windows apps — but the demo video for Macallan only showed off custom apps designed for the platform.
You can check out the demo video below to get a bittersweet taste of what might have been.