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Now that touchscreen laptops have appeared on the market, there is a lot of debate about whether they represent the future of computing or are doomed to failure. When you examine the criticism, you will quickly find that the majority of complaints are about users’ confusion over a dramatically new user interface, rather than touchscreen laptops themselves.
Optimism in the Market
The majority of PC manufacturers are a bit shy about deploying touchscreen models of laptops at the moment, mainly due to the fact that adoption of this new technology has been slow so far. But some are more optimistic. According to some technology news sites, PC company top executives are confident that touchscreen notebooks will soon begin to pick up steam and will eventually replace regular laptops. While familiar companies are producing more and more touchscreen products that look interesting, many have speculated that the high price tag of touchscreen devices will turn some users away.
Hurdles Touchscreen Laptops Will Need to Overcome
There are a few issues that manufacturers of touch-based notebooks will need to deal with if they hope their products will reach mainstream acceptance. One problem is the potential for the screen to become dirty quickly. A screen which gets touched with fingers all the time will eventually develop some smears that need to be wiped away. This happens quite often for smartphone and tablet users. But there is a lot of research being done with the hope of overcoming this issue. New types of screen coatings are being experimented with, which have better properties for repelling grease and dirt, in addition to being much easier to clean.
Cost is, at least for now, another drawback of touchscreen laptops. Prices for computers have been steadily falling over the last decade, which makes it possible to get a decent quality notebook for around $300. But the cost of adding a touchscreen to the same computer will add $100 to $200 on top of its price. Touchscreen laptops that support pen input often cost even more. Touch-based laptops are a relatively new piece of technology that hasn’t been adopted by a wide audience yet. Once more users become interested and make the switch to touchscreen laptops, competition will increase as various brands try to meet this new demand. Eventually, this demand and competition will push the price of the devices down.
What Makes Touchscreens Better
Using a screen with a touch sensor is just another way to interact with a computer. Tapping and swiping your fingers across the screen is often faster than traditional navigation with a mouse, and swipes and taps can create a more intuitive user experience. As people are already familiar with the concept of touchscreens found on smartphones and tablets, there isn’t too much of a learning curve when switching to a PC that uses that technology as well. Already, operating systems and applications are being modified to become more touch-friendly.
The Bottom Line
Laptops with touchscreens are may not be the norm just yet, but with several major brands showing an interest in them, they will likely become more mainstream, and more familiar to users, in the next few years.
This article was contributed by Sheldon Armstrong, a techie who keeps up with the latest in technology and loves writing about it on various blogs and sites. He recommends using a Kensington USB adapter for charging your other devices while your laptop is plugged in. You can see more of Kensington’s website at kensington.com.
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