Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 3rd Sep 2012 00:39 UTC, submitted by MOS6510
Hardware, Embedded Systems "Efforts are split between models in which keyboards detach from screens, ones in which the keys remain attached but can be hidden behind displays, and traditional fixed clamshell designs." None of these really float my boat. They work with clunky connectors and weird hinges, while I'd much rather have Surface's nice magnetic connection. On top of that, Surface just looks way better than this stuff. Pretty clear why Microsoft felt the need to make their own hardware.
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RE: Why so different
by ndrw on Mon 3rd Sep 2012 04:07 UTC in reply to "Why so different"
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Unless it is a 10" netbook-like device you would likely find a touch screen very uncomfortable to use. It's simply too far, too big and too high to use (just pretend you already have it and try to "use" it).

I have a Wacom tablet. It has its own issues (like a mouse, it's detached from the screen, which feels unnatural at first) but at least it is ergonomic. It lays horizontally on my desk, next to the keyboard, and it has higher dpi than the screen so I don't have to wave my hand as much as with a touch screen.

Touch screens work very well if you can hold them in your hands or place them where you normally place a keyboard. Even this assumes that the interface is designed for minimizing user interaction (occasional touches or drags but without the whole WIMP overhead).

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Why so different
by Alfman on Mon 3rd Sep 2012 07:02 in reply to "RE: Why so different"
Alfman Member since:


"Touch screens work very well if you can hold them in your hands or place them where you normally place a keyboard."

That's actually why I like a tablet where the keyboard can fold out of the way. While interacting with the desktop via a touch screen should be possible, that's not exactly what I personally have in mind, which are more application specific use cases. I like to see applications where touch input can enhance a traditional paper notebook, instead of enhance the WIMP desktop to use touch everywhere.

Some examples:
For note-taking, even a simple paper notebook can rival a keyboard/mouse laptop because it is much easier to sketch out quick diagrams the "old fashioned" way. To this day, I sometimes prefer to draw things on paper and scan them in than try to enter them using a mouse.

Keyboard calculators (such as bccalc) are great but they suck at visually representing formulas. With a touch screen I had envisioned a stylus input algebraic calculator where one could write math formulas (symbolically as mathematicians intended) and the software could solve them on "paper" in a different color. It could also warn of logical inconsistencies in your note's equations or "scratch paper". It could annotate spelling corrections in the same way.

There is no reason that laptops should not also be able to do these things.

"(occasional touches or drags but without the whole WIMP overhead)."

I prefer not to have the OS exclude WIMP entirely. The exact same motivation for having multi-window to display documents simultaneously on the desktop will re-emerge on tablets - touch input has absolutely nothing to do with it. In a classroom setting I can read a book, a handout, and write in my notepad at the same time. In principal I'd like to produce the same experience on a sufficiently sized tablet. (Hint: I shouldn't need to have multiple tablets running to view multiple things at once)

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Why so different
by ndrw on Tue 4th Sep 2012 02:07 in reply to "RE[2]: Why so different"
ndrw Member since:

I see how this could be useful and I agree with you on principle.

It is just that adding a full-fledged input device and using it only as a secondary input method isn't going to be particularly efficient (cost, power, weight, image quality etc). If I had one, I'd like to make a better use of it.

BTW, most of your use cases would be served rather well by replacing a touchpad in your laptop with an inductive tablet sensor. We could go further and make the whole keyboard one big touchpad/tablet (I wonder if that's what Touch Cover in Microsoft's Surface is going to be).

Reply Parent Score: 2