Microsoft Leads $24 Million Round In N-Trig To Bring Multitouch To PCs

We’re going to be seeing a lot more touchscreen computers. One of the features of Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system is that it supports a multitouch user-interface (much like on the iPhone or a Tablet PC). To further the adoption of such touchscreen technology, Microsoft led a $24 million round in Israeli startup N-trig. Other investors included Aurum Ventures, Challenger Ltd., Canaan Partners, and Evergreen Venture Partners. In just the past two years, the company has raised $52 million.

Does every computer now have to come with a touchscreen? N-trig’s computer screens are already used in the HP TouchSmart and Dell Lattitude XT. For tablet PCs, a touchscreen is a must. But for desktop PCs, or even conventional laptops, it can be a bit awkward. For one thing, the vertical screen forces your arm to hang in the air instead of rest on top of it.

Touchscreens are becoming popular on mobile phones because they offer the best computing experience in such a limited space. And as people become more comfortable with them, they could give rise to a whole host of new computing devices, including Web tablets. But simply putting touchscreens on conventional computers without altering their design is not going to fly—even if they run Windows 7.