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Do We Really Need Touch On Laptops?

Unnamed sources have informed DigiTimes that traditional clamshell notebooks with touch screens will eventually be a thing of the past. Why? Because vendors are no longer ordering them. Even more, vendors plan to focus their resources on convertible and 2-in-1 solutions in 2015. Once the current inventories are depleted, that will supposedly be it for touch-based clamshell form factors.

According to the report, touch-based clamshell solutions have seen weak demand since they first appeared during the launch of Windows 8. The new operating system seemingly demanded touch, but implementing a touch panel at the time was costly to both the OEM and the consumer. Prices have come down since then, allowing OEMs to add the feature on a more frequent basis.

But do we really need touch-based input on a clamshell design? Not really. And now that the Windows platform is more desktop focused, the need for touch just really isn't there anymore. What users can do with a finger can be done a bit more easily with a mouse and keyboard, especially in Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.

Where touch is at home is the form factors that provide more than the typical clamshell design. Take my Lenovo Ideapad for instance; it has a "notebook" mode and a "stand" mode. The "stand" mode allows the user to bend the screen back so that the keyboard becomes the display's stand. Touch is perfect for this design, as it is for similar convertible models that can even bend the screen back all the way to form a makeshift tablet.

That all said, there's talk that vendors will be looking to push out inexpensive notebooks without touch in 2015. This will likely be fueled by the desktop-friendly Windows 10 when it supposedly goes retail in Q2 2015. Microsoft has a lot running on this platform, enough so that it's willing to distribute a "preview" so that critics and engineers (and whoever else) can provide feedback. A customer preview is expected to be released sometime next quarter.

Do you have a clamshell notebook with touch? Was this feature a waste of money, or do you really touch the screen on a frequent basis? Despite DigiTimes' unnamed sources, touch on clamshell notebooks may be here to stay nonetheless.

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  • SteelCity1981
    touch screens on laptops were another technology fad, much like 3d is on TV's.
    Reply
  • ubercake
    I really think traditional laptops will phase out as things like Surface 3s and Yoga-type devices start overtaking the market.
    (note... I didn't buy into it before, but I do like 3D on TVs now that it is much more affordable/mainstream just as I like going to the 3D version of any movie at the show.)
    Reply
  • dave10
    > now that the Windows platform is more desktop focused, the need for touch just really isn't there anymore

    The way you stated this is backwards, methinks. For me, it was never there to begin with. Not with a clamshell laptop, anyway.

    > What users can do with a finger can be done a bit more easily with a mouse and keyboard, especially in Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.

    Just like how they did it on Windows 7? And all desktop operating systems previous?

    Bleh, I really don't like touchscreens tacked onto devices that I would otherwise use a keyboard and mouse/trackpad with.
    Reply
  • junkeymonkey
    its not a matter of what you need its what they feel you need and force it on you weather you like it or not
    Reply
  • fkr
    as a person who really dislikes touch pads i like the touch screen. I am also a lazy typist who inadvertently hits the touch pad with the palm of his hand while typing so that y add to it.
    Reply
  • ultameca
    Just think, with a touch screen they could have removed the crappy touch input below the keyboard.

    Wait something different since 20 years ago pfft who would want that, lets use our computers exactly like we did in 1995 and NEVER change!
    Reply
  • ultameca
    Wow Toms you still haven't fixed the double post problem even though I told you what was going on... just wow...
    Reply
  • Gnom
    I disagree. I have a 15in Windows 8 laptop, and I use the touchscreen 80% of the time. So much that I touch the screen of my Chrome book and wonder why nothing is happening. It saves time compared to moving the cursor around via touchpad.
    The only problem is that the features on the standard web browsers and Windows Explorer are so small that I hit the wrong item 20% of the time.
    Reply
  • fkr
    14718827 said:
    I disagree. I have a 15in Windows 8 laptop, and I use the touchscreen 80% of the time. So much that I touch the screen of my Chrome book and wonder why nothing is happening. It saves time compared to moving the cursor around via touchpad.
    The only problem is that the features on the standard web browsers and Windows Explorer are so small that I hit the wrong item 20% of the time.

    they need to do that thing like on android where if you touch a spot that has more than one option in proximity it auto-loads a magnifying glass in that immediate area so that you can select the appropriate option.
    Reply
  • 10tacle
    No, we do not. Most of us still like the familiar tactile feedback of a keyboard no matter if it is a desktop or laptop. Touch screen is handy for smaller devices like tablets and smart phones/phablets. Even more to the point, most of us only use tablets as supplemental computing devices in our households and not the primary devices.

    For nearly 30 years futurist "experts" have been saying the keyboard and mouse are dead technology. If there are any doubts to that, I submit to you this Scotty quote from the 1986 Star Trek Movie "The Voyage Home" where they go back in time to 1986:

    "A keyboard. How quaint."

    Reply