Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Issues with Touchscreens

touchscreen laptopsTouchscreens definitely seemed to be the theme of the Consumer Electronics Show. Everybody is wrapped up in the touchscreen phenomena. There’s touchscreens, touch phones, touch tablets, and 3D entertainment where you can almost “touch” the objects from the movie. Now I know that tons of people love the touchscreen technology, but there are still issues that manufactures are going to have to work out.

All of this “touch” stuff has appeared before the past few years, but it always failed. Before the touch devices of today, the mouse of a computer became a touch item that could be moved around the screen as an icon. This was the first development. Today, the mouse icon has been eliminated to allow our finger to perform actions without the need of an icon.

The iPhone was really the device that made a huge leap in touch technology. The ability to move the screen as a whole with a simple gesture or flip through photos or pages was a whole new aspect of touch technology.

With technology moving in this direction, the mouse will eventually be obsolete. Now I don’t think this will be happening tomorrow or anything, but ultimately it will happen. The reason why it won’t be disappearing right away is because of the traditional computer programs that we currently use all of the time. With spreadsheets, word processors, and many other programs, people just prefer the ease of a mouse.

Now that phones have gone to touchscreens, laptops are sure to follow. One thing that they will have to figure out is a surface that will stay grime-free. Computers already attract dust and now we’re going to add in fingerprints. All of these smudges and grime affect the visibility and sensitivity of the device. They will definitely need to find another type of screen than could prevent these problems.

Pinpoint accuracy is another issue that developers will have to figure out. No one will be able to successfully edit their pictures on their computer with their finger. Sure your finger works fine for clicking, moving around, and lots of other things, but it doesn’t work too well with tiny details. Having a touchpad pen could solve part of this problem, but they need to find a surface that isn’t easily scratched first.

It will be interesting to watch how touchscreens become more common in laptops. Before everything is converted to touch though, there are definitely some issues that they need to work out.

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