All the fuss about touch computing is just greasy fingerprints and sore arms

Steven Hodson

As I was getting ready for another wasted morning (and afternoon) getting ready for my trip to get some medical tests done I caught James' posts about some slick new Acer touch enabled laptops (thanks to Window 7). Then during the trip I got to thinking about this whole 'touch' thing and if it really is the next great frontier of computers that everyone seems to be making it out to be.

I'm not saying that there aren't practical applications for using touch enabled computers but when it comes to both desktop machines and laptops one has to wonder just where the bonuses are - especially given you will need to replace any existing monitors with new ones. Where touch might make sense in kiosk setups or even Surface type setups for specialized uses the idea that we will get any added benefit from using touch at the desktop or laptop level is silly.

Sure I can make the silly comment about having to always make sure the bottle of Windex and paper towels are handy but seriously can you imagine just how dirty our screens are going to get if touch really takes off?

But even more important is the whole ergonomic effect of touch computing will affects us. If we thought that carpal tunnel syndrome was all the rage just wait until we are spending hours having to hold our up in order to point, move or swish stuff around the desktop.

There is no doubt we will at some point evolve to using some really cool user interfaces but at this point I have to agree with Harry McCracken at Technologizer when he says

I’m still not convinced that touch is going to become a pervasive part of Windows anytime soon–as I say in the PC World review, it’s a fun luxury rather than an essential new feature. (It’s hard to make a new form of input essential when it’s been grafted onto an interface that worked just fine with the input options it already had.)