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Input Devices Displays Operating Systems Software Windows

Windows 7 Igniting Touchscreen PC Market 257

Posted by timothy
from the horses-for-courses dept.
ericatcw writes "Apple Inc. may still be coy about whether it plans to launch a touch-screen tablet computer this year, but Windows PC makers are forging right ahead. In the past three weeks, five leading PC makers have announced or been reported to confirm plans to release touch-screen PCs in time for the multi-touch-enabled Windows 7, reports Computerworld. Many appear to be using technology from New Zealand optical touch vendor, NextWindow, which already supplies HP's market-leading TouchSmart line, and Dell's Studio One. NextWindow's CEO says the company is working with partners on 8-10 products set for launch within two months, in time for Windows 7's October 22nd release."
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Windows 7 Igniting Touchscreen PC Market

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  • by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @10:41PM (#29142431)

    I have a Tablet PC. Whenever I pull it out and use it at a coffee shop or park I will inevitably have 2-3 people per hour come up to me and ask what is, "Is it a Mac?" and are always amazed that I payed less than $1k for it and want to know where they can buy it etc etc...

    I use it almost exclusively as a digital sketch pad but it works great as a general browsing computer as well. You can get a pretty good tablet for about $600. The most common reaction from people was that they had no idea such a thing even existed.

  • by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @10:44PM (#29142459)

    Yeah because door knobs and keyboards are so much more hygienic...?

    At least with a touchscreen it's only the tips of your fingers and not your entire palm (as in the case of a mouse or door knob).

  • by dangitman (862676) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @11:47PM (#29142899)

    This will be nice for those using large public displays that need multi-touch support.

    I doubt that the products mentioned in this story are "large public displays." They are talking about tablet sized Personal Computers.

    I'm not really seeing the big deal about multitouch in a tablet-sized (i.e 8-12") computer. Multitouch is great for devices like PDAs and phones with small screens, where you don't do much in the way of complex input aside from texting or selecting items. But for a full PC-like OS, it doesn't seem that useful. For a tablet machine, I'd want it to be more stylus-based, with pressure detection, like a Wacom Cintiq. Then you could use it for fine manipulation, drawing, graphics editing, etc. Fingers are too clumsy for this sort of work.

    It's a conundrum, because you don't want styluses for small devices like phones or PDAs, because they are annoying and get in the way. Hence the success of the iPhone versus other PDA devices. But once you get beyond a certain size, it's fingers that get in the way. And I guess once you get to an even bigger size, fingers become useful again.

    To me, this just seems like a poor fit for finger manipulation. Small phone? Multitouch is great (with one hand). Big-ass table? Multitouch is great (with two hands) Something in-between? Stylus is great, as it's a similar size to our paper notebooks and documents.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 20, 2009 @11:56PM (#29142951)

    Tablet PC's were marketed heavily between 2002 and 2006 along with the Tablet edition of XP, but no one wanted them and I understand why. The stylus makes a decent mouse, but you need the keyboard to use a computer for most online activities- which means constantly rotating the screen. The onscreen keyboards are painful to use, and most people are confused by the handwriting recognition and easily irritated with any mistakes it makes and confusion over how to correct them. And worst of all, its uncomfortable to hold most tablet pc's at the angle that allows you to both see the screen in full brightness and use the stylus. People are used to resting their hands on their laptop, and not using them to hold it while they use a stylus.

    I'm not sure if a capacitive touch display on a laptop would be any different. It works on the iPhone because of how small it is. Once you get to laptop size, the touch displays are frustratingly too large to palm in 1 hand, and effort-ful to use in a standard clamshell laptop.

    I think Touchscreen displays will in the future be a secondary display that is mounted closer to the user to allow for easy hand input. Having a single display that is in the correct position for working with a desktop system, which also works as a touch display is difficult to use since it requires you to hold your arm out while you sit. Having a small 11-17 inch display that sits off to the side where your mouse sits would allow easy tap access without a lot of stretching. Ergonomics are what will drive the success or failing for touch interfaces on PC's or Laptops.

  • by dangitman (862676) on Friday August 21, 2009 @12:53AM (#29143271)

    What you're all missing is that the Ipod took off because it was so heavily advertised and marketed in what was then considered a niche market and effectively ignored.

    Except that it didn't. The iPod was successful long before it was heavily marketed. This also doesn't explain why other heavily-marketed products in this area failed.

  • by wcb4 (75520) on Friday August 21, 2009 @01:00AM (#29143309)

    You have obviously never used Vista's handwriting recognition. XP Tablet's was passable only with training. Vista's is in no way confusing and is much, much better out of the box, and if you bother to spend the 1/2 to train it to YOUR handwriting, it is fantastic.

    I have used my tablet for drawing, taking notes (its much nicer to pay attention to people in a meeting and just write your notes than to hide your face behind a laptop screen and click while others are talking. They have their place, I personally find that meetings happen to be perfect for tablet PCs

  • by Myopic (18616) on Friday August 21, 2009 @01:17AM (#29143407)

    Today's applications, my man. Ask yourself, how well does a keyboard and mouse work for Wii games? What, you say, not very well at all? Do you think that's because keyboard and mouse suck, or because Wii applications weren't designed for keyboard and mouse? If consumer software were optimized for multitouch, then things would be different. I expect a slow co-evolution of software and input devices. (I also expect keyboard and mouse to be with us for a long, long time.)

  • by Korin43 (881732) on Friday August 21, 2009 @05:28AM (#29144357) Homepage

    The most common reaction from people was that they had no idea such a thing even existed.

    I know what you mean. I just recently bought a new computer from HP and found out right after it arrived that I could've got an identical computer with a touchscreen for $50 more :( I assumed they were expensive..

  • by unfasten (1335957) on Friday August 21, 2009 @06:42AM (#29144591)

    I believe HP was one of the companies affected the most, and I notice they're not listed in these new manufacturers.

    From the summary:

    , NextWindow, which already supplies HP's market-leading TouchSmart line, and Dell's Studio One

    They're not listed as a new one because they've been selling touch screen computers, successfully, for awhile now. The TouchSmart line was introduced in 2007.

  • by postbigbang (761081) on Friday August 21, 2009 @08:23AM (#29144995)

    Your sense of history is incorrect.

    When the Mac came out, it had a usable GUI, and after its ill-fated Lisa predecessor. It took a long time before the cult of Apple was rejuvenated. The Avis-#2 effect coupled to reliability is what ultimately allowed Apple to rejuvenate its market. They're not innovators, just like Microsoft is not an innovator. Instead, Microsoft's Windows was made of Swiss Cheese from a security and architectural standpoint. The Mac's GUI and software set became legendary for doing things like page composition and useful media tricks, where Microsoft was in a circle-jerk with its hardware buddies.

    Timing is everything, and so is quality. MS-DOS sucked, as did its predecessors-- all based on a rewrite of DEC's RT11 called CP/M. UCSD p-System sucked worse although a nice learning platform. Even PICK on the original PC SUCKED. That Apple used 6502s, then 68Ks, etc, was a war that they ultimately lost when they switched to Intel processor families.

    Will Microsoft win share with their touch screens? Consider: Apple has a touch screen on iPods and a heavy bank of apps that are all touchable.

    Fujitsu, who by the way has a higher share than HP for Windows=based touchpads, contrary to above posts, has a great screen and design. But its apps that drive these things, and touch isn't practical for many tasks, much as the vendors would like to see you with a stylus in your hands. The growth of touch isn't likely to be huge for this and many other practical reasons. Cool ideas, but ultimately not going to make much difference.

  • by corerunner (971136) on Friday August 21, 2009 @08:34AM (#29145061) Homepage
    I have a ThinkPad X61 Tablet with the multitouch screen. In this case multitouch refers to the ability to use the stylus or your finger, and not multiple fingers, so the usability is limited. It does work out of the box in Fedora 11 though, including support for my finger as a pointer. I've had the tablet for two years and personally I think Linux tablet support is finally making some respectable progress.

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