Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hello Computer: Will Non-touch Screens go Extinct?

In one of the earlier Star Trek movies, the crew travels back in time to the then current era and has to interact with the computers of the day. Scotty addresses the computer by talking to it. When presented with the mouse, he talks into the mouse. Although seeming not familiar with the mouse Scotty is quite facile with the keyboard. He never attempts to touch the screen nor does the desktop have anything like a touchpad.

Although voice and gesture is growing, today it is touch that commands attention. In the early days of color LCD, Apple was one of the last notebook makers to go to color. They lost share and later in one of those "Crystal Cycle" events when there were shortages of notebook screens, Apple was down the list when it came to LCD supplier shipments. Leading the charge in touch, the company secured adequate supplies for all of its products in advance of the rest of the industry. Now it seems it's everyone else's turn to struggle for supply.

Intel is predicting that a majority of Ultrabooks will have touchpanels in 2013. So the question is do the ones that don't, don't have them due to designer's choice or lack of supply. Further, as interacting with the screen becomes "normal" will non-touch screens still have a place on devices meant for close proximity human interaction.

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