Linked by weildish on Sat 7th Feb 2009 10:59 UTC
Windows One of the big hypes of Windows 7 was the new integrated touch and multitouch features unheard of in previous systems. On paper, it all looks nice, but the folks over at Engadget recently tested out these said features of the beta on an HP TouchSmart PC, and were underwhelmed by the efficiency of the features.
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To gimmicky
by deathshadow on Sat 7th Feb 2009 12:03 UTC
deathshadow
Member since:
2005-07-12

Touchscreens have always been a gimmick promoted by people that have an irrational fear of the keyboard. It always looks slick in demos, and for a handful of applications where single keypresses are all you need (cash registers) or for controlling a presentation it does have it's used - but frankly for normal computer use it provides little in the way of improvement. Touch is usually innaccurate, horsepower hungry, and relies on overcomplicated easily broken sensors that have relegated touchscreen to niche markets instead of widespread deployment.

Multitouch doesn't bring anything REALLY new to the table in that regard. It's another "gee ain't it neat!" technology that you'll hear trumpeted from rooftops as revolutionary...

... and stay in the shadows as an also ran, because nobody asked the question:

"What good is it?" Ooh look you can move something around and rotate it... Until someone comes up with a killer application for it, it's cutesy unneccesary bull that's all flash, and no substance.

AAAH, that felt good. I've not posted like that in a while.

Edited 2009-02-07 12:03 UTC

Reply Score: 10

RE: To gimmicky
by kaiwai on Sat 7th Feb 2009 12:57 in reply to "To gimmicky"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Touchscreens have always been a gimmick promoted by people that have an irrational fear of the keyboard. It always looks slick in demos, and for a handful of applications where single keypresses are all you need (cash registers) or for controlling a presentation it does have it's used - but frankly for normal computer use it provides little in the way of improvement. Touch is usually innaccurate, horsepower hungry, and relies on overcomplicated easily broken sensors that have relegated touchscreen to niche markets instead of widespread deployment.


I agree. In my early years I worked at a fast food chain with touch screens. They were slow, unreliable, crash prone - quite frankly they would have been better off getting those silicon water and food resistant keyboards and using those instead.

Multitouch doesn't bring anything REALLY new to the table in that regard. It's another "gee ain't it neat!" technology that you'll hear trumpeted from rooftops as revolutionary...

... and stay in the shadows as an also ran, because nobody asked the question:

"What good is it?" Ooh look you can move something around and rotate it... Until someone comes up with a killer application for it, it's cutesy unnecessary bull that's all flash, and no substance.

AAAH, that felt good. I've not posted like that in a while.


To me multi-touch has all the usefulness of those awful 'face place' replacement packs that HP used to include with their desktop computers - so 'users' could 'customise' their computers for their 'personality'.

I can't think of a single time when I've actually heard a normally end user go, "gee, I'd really love to have a touch screen computer". Most of the time I hear end users more likely to say, "I wish the damn computer stopped giving me errors that don't tell me what I am doing wrong!" and many other complaints.

Touch screens to me sounds like to me as the bottom of the barrel, we've run out of ideas, last resort, 'cup holder' addition to the computing world.

Edited 2009-02-07 12:59 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: To gimmicky
by Laurence on Sat 7th Feb 2009 14:33 in reply to "To gimmicky"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

Touchscreens have always been a gimmick promoted by people that have an irrational fear of the keyboard.


You may want to believe that, but when the vast majorety of PDAs ship with touch-screen and some tablet PCs having relative popularity amongst the artists (as well as already being powerful enough to run Win7), I think you'd have to conceed that touch-screen has wider applications than shop-tills and presentations.

Sure, the average PC wouldn't need multi-touch, but then 'average' PCs are only one slice of a larger IT industry.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: To gimmicky
by Verenkeitin on Sat 7th Feb 2009 21:04 in reply to "RE: To gimmicky"
Verenkeitin Member since:
2007-07-01

I think he is speaking just about PCs and not PDAs/phones. Touch on a tiny screen is not bad. It just does not scale that well to larger screens.

And (good) tablet PCs use a digitizer pen input (like the ones Wacom builds). That has nothing in common with touch screens.

But I do agree that touch screen on PC could have its uses. Especially on tablet PCs when combined with digitizer pen for things that demand accurate control.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: To gimmicky
by deathshadow on Sun 8th Feb 2009 10:11 in reply to "RE: To gimmicky"
deathshadow Member since:
2005-07-12

You may want to believe that, but when the vast majorety of PDAs ship with touch-screen and some tablet PCs having relative popularity amongst the artists (as well as already being powerful enough to run Win7)


In other words a very small niche that the majority of users are going to give a **** about.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: To gimmicky
by ba1l on Sat 7th Feb 2009 14:58 in reply to "To gimmicky"
ba1l Member since:
2007-09-08

Well, a touchscreen may not be a replacement for a keyboard, but it certainly can be a replacement for a mouse. In fact, a decent touchscreen works better than a mouse in many cases. It's just useless if whatever you're doing requires any typing.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: To gimmicky
by Laurence on Sat 7th Feb 2009 15:05 in reply to "RE: To gimmicky"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

Well, a touchscreen may not be a replacement for a keyboard, but it certainly can be a replacement for a mouse. In fact, a decent touchscreen works better than a mouse in many cases. It's just useless if whatever you're doing requires any typing.


Touch-screen already is a replacement for a keyboard on PDAs. In fact, while it's not 100% accurate, i actually find it's quicker to use the handwriting recognition on my PDA than it would be to use a smaller keyboard (particularly in the case of smart phones where you'd otherwise have to multi-tap numbers to bring up the correct alpha characters)

I think the problem with touch-screen is it's being sold as a pioneering solution when in fact it's just an evolutionary tool.
It may one-day grow into a keyboard-killer, but at the moment it's just another tool for those who choose to use it (much like a joystick / gamepad is to gamers)

Edited 2009-02-07 15:08 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: To gimmicky
by rajan r on Sat 7th Feb 2009 16:51 in reply to "To gimmicky"
rajan r Member since:
2005-07-27

I have a MacBook Aluminium, and the frequency I use multitouch features (albeit from the trackpad) is high enough that I really don't think it can be called a useless feature. On websites with small text (and on Firefox 3.1, small images), pinching is a lot easier and faster than using the keyboard shortcut. And on Pages and Keynote 09, I frequently use multitouch to resize pictures and charts.

One key thing that Engadget missed is that what Windows 7 brings is multitouch gestures that work in applications that don't explicitly support it. Before Firefox 3.1 came out, I switched to Safari simply because of the three finger swipe (and now that 3.1 has more gestures that I use more frequently, it is hard to go back to Safari).

It's a tall order for Microsoft, but it is above and beyond what Apple has done on OS X.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: To gimmicky
by deathshadow on Sun 8th Feb 2009 10:07 in reply to "RE: To gimmicky"
deathshadow Member since:
2005-07-12

funny, I just use this thing called a mouse wheel... But then I don't use trackpags on laptops as for me they are in the wrong location, too small, and not accurate enough to actually do anything with. Much less that on my G4 powerbook or my iMac I automatically use a non-apple mouse since the OS supports multiple buttons, apple just has their head wedged permanantly up their ass about actually shipping a useful one. (see the train wreck the 'mighty' mouse was.)

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: To gimmicky
by Hiev on Sat 7th Feb 2009 22:28 in reply to "To gimmicky"
Hiev Member since:
2005-09-27

None sense, touch is designed for those programs and for those places where you can't use a mouse or a keyboard, and ATM for example or some publick kiosks, is for simplicity and quickness, abviously on the demo rotating and zooming an image doesn't show its full potential neather is the righ job for a touch screen, but don't discard touch screen just because in this case is not implemented in Linux. Yes, I assume your are just trolling bacause this is implemented in Windows.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: To gimmicky
by deathshadow on Sun 8th Feb 2009 10:04 in reply to "RE: To gimmicky"
deathshadow Member since:
2005-07-12

Funny response in those last two sentences since I consider linux next to useless as a desktop OS - so wrong assumption.

Oh, and is that why I'm seeing more and more of the old ATM's with the buttons alongside the screen and a keypad below replacing the newer touchscreen models? My bank and both of the grocers around here switched BACK to the old button driven.

Reply Parent Score: 2