By PowerBuy // 12 February 2013 // Related Categories: Tips

Most of us are familiar with touch screens on our phones and tablets, but what about touch-enabled laptops and PCs? Microsoft is betting that touch will take off in the office, but are these screens really worth the investment?

  1. It takes more time to touch – Touching a screen can take longer than clicking a mouse and this is the main sticking point for businesses – it is a productivity-killer. Try to do something simple using touch- like browsing through your hard disk using File Explorer or open a file in Microsoft Office. It's immeasurably more difficult, frustrating, and more time-consuming than simply tapping a key or two, or making fine movements and clicks with a mouse.
  2. PCs are even worse for touch - Fortunately with laptops you don’t have to move your hand far to touch the screen, but leaning forward to touch a desktop PC screen simply doesn’t work. It's awkward, difficult to do, and just plain painful. The pain you'll experience if you do this enough even has a name: gorilla arm.
  3. Your screen will get dirty – The oil from your fingers will gunk up your touch screen making it annoying to use when reflecting off the fluorescent lights.
  4. It will cost you more – We estimate the average touch screen costs $100 more than a non-touch equivalent, so until sales volumes increase you will pay a premium for the privilege of touch.
  5. Touch might work for your customers – Touch screens can work well in niche situations where you want your customers to interact with a screen; such as waiting rooms, real estate offices and hotels. 
  6. Forget the office, it’s great for kids – The best use of touch-screen PCs is probably not in the office, but at home or in school. Touch screens are great for painting apps, games for touching and moving objects, and any other application that lets a child "draw" on screen.

In summary, we are not convinced that touch will take off on laptops and PCs, particularly in the office environment. However, Microsoft is making a gigantic bet that we’re wrong. What do you think?

Comments: 1 // Share:

Desktop User25 // 25/05/2013 4:50 PM

I agree with this article, touch screens do not improve productivity for desktop and corporate use. Just about everyone but Microsoft realises this, which is why Microsoft is having such issues getting their predominantly desktop market to accept touch Windows 8.

Touch is useful for Tablets with a simple interface and simple tasks. When we were children we used crayons to draw with because we had not learned fine motor skills, but we soon moved away from crayons to fine tipped pens and paint brushes.

The distance and difference in height from my keyboard to my mouse is small, the movement from my keyboard to my desktop screen is significantly greater. I am amused that there is already a term “gorilla arm” for the pain that will result due with repetitive use.

My concern is that if Microsoft stubbornly continues down this direction, it could be an opportunity for a competitor to take over the strangle hold Microsoft has on the corporate Desktop Operating System. Is Google’s Chrome OS well positioned to take advantage of the confusion/frustration which will ensue from Windows 8 ? Chrome OS used with Citrix or VMware’s View, hmm, the corporate Windows desktop could be obsolete.

There are a lot of articles about Tablets selling faster than Desktops, but never do these articles give the actual numbers of already existing PCs to the number of existing Tablets, they only give sales figures. The Desktop market is close to saturation, but Tablets are a new market.

Though I will not knock the Tablet, I expect in less than three years most Desktops could be replaced by a dockable Tablet. I for one am looking forward for this time, but only if I can use the device as a Tablet when in my lounge, at café or in a taxi, then when I am in my office (at home or at work) I could use it as a Desktop computer with all the advantages of a large desktop monitor, keyboard, mouse, high-speed wired LAN, high quality speaker system. I am I unique in this?

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