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4/4/2013
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Windows 8 Doubt: 4 Ways To Sway PC People

Here are four scenarios that could turn my Windows 8 desktop doubt into belief.

Windows 8: 8 Big Benefits For SMBs
Windows 8: 8 Big Benefits For SMBs
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I'm a touchscreen PC skeptic.

As a result, I've been hesitant about Windows 8 and its apparent emphasis on touch. That was underscored with the recent reveal of Windows Blue. For a story on the Blue leak, Forrester senior analyst David Johnson told me: "Microsoft clearly wants touch to be a rich, primary way for people to interact with the Windows environment in the future."

With that in mind, I've been thinking about the reasons behind my touch-PC skepticism. I like the touchscreen on my phone. I like it on the iPad and other tablets. So why wouldn't I want it on a laptop or desktop?

One of the answers is actually quite simple: I don't use my laptop and smartphone, my two primary work devices, for the same reasons. Although there's crossover -- I use email on both, for example -- they serve separate purposes. I'm not writing this on my phone, for example. I recognize, though, that my uses are not necessarily your uses. So I got to thinking: What touchscreen PC applications and uses could win me over, if not now then later, when the hardware and software has had time to become more established?

[ I'm a hard sell. Read Windows 8: Why I Won't Upgrade. ]

Note: I'm focused here more on user interface issues than under-the-hood performance. In other words, my focus, like that of most users, is more on "does it work?" rather than "how does it work?" The attention is on touchscreen desktops and laptops, not tablets and smartphones; if it doesn't come with a full-blown keyboard, it doesn't count. There's a gray area in the ultrabook and hybrid categories. Suffice it to say that I'm thinking of hardware that I'm as or more likely to use at my desk than on a plane or train or in the back of a cab.

Bottom line: I'm interested in how touchscreen desktops and laptops might help businesspeople do their jobs better than the non-touch models they're likely still using today, because those reasons aren't readily apparent to me, especially with the current high prices. Below are four scenarios where I can see a touchscreen PC offering an advantage over a non-touch PC. I'm sure I'm missing some advantages, so I'd like to hear why you think touchscreens might work to the benefit of the traditional PC user in the comments section below or via email.

1. Web Browsing.

Like many folks these days, I seem to spend as much of my life online as off. That's particularly true when I'm working. Rare is the hour when there's not a browser window open on my laptop; in actuality, it's multiple browser windows, or at least multiple tabs. Although the Web browser is one of my most frequently used apps on my phone, too, I sometimes find the experience frustrating. That's partly a function of screen size and partly due to the mobile Web's relative immaturity. Occasionally, spotty network service is the culprit.

The browser experience on a touchscreen PC could -- and probably should -- become a big lure given how much time I spend online. This seems especially true as Web development continues to become more sophisticated over time, and as cloud services increasingly become the default setting. Indeed, a CEO I spoke with recently called browsing the Web on her Windows 8 convertible "incredible," even though other aspects of her experience were less than stellar.

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Jerry Fleming
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Jerry Fleming,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/5/2013 | 2:41:16 PM
re: Windows 8 Doubt: 4 Ways To Sway PC People
When I first started using my tablet (Toshiba Thrive) a year or so back, I kept looking for the mouse... I now find myself reaching to tap the screen of my desktop... I don't know that I have any major issues with using a touchscreen/windows 8 --- more of an issue that I have no particular urge to buy a new PC with touch capabilities - at this point, absolutely no need, therefore, the expense is not warranted.

I am comfortable in using touch, and obviously, there are benefits and advantages to using touch --- don't have to change the batteries in my finger, especially at the most inopportune time...
amd656
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amd656,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/5/2013 | 3:03:56 PM
re: Windows 8 Doubt: 4 Ways To Sway PC People
Microsoft should done Apple's approach and had Mobile OS (Windows 8) and OS (Windows 7 or 9).

Touch does not work for first shooter games (Head shots are key most games and no way will your oversize finger is going to be allowed to be consider a head shot compared to pin point pixel that mouse/control will give you.

Touch will cause my worker's comp claims for producers of documents. No way could you fingers survive law school typing your papers on touch screen.

Hot Keys & certain mouse movements are just as fast as swipes.

Finally, if you typing on keyboard, move up and forward to touch the screen is annoying compare to mouse. Ask my neighbors who took back their Desktop after one day.

The real reason for Microsoft push is in this petition

www.change.org/petitions/micro...

wht
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wht,
User Rank: Strategist
4/5/2013 | 8:16:29 PM
re: Windows 8 Doubt: 4 Ways To Sway PC People
Solution...use a bluetooth or USB keyboard and mouse when you don't want to use touch. Use touch when you don't need a k/b or mouse. I would not have returned my new Win 8 device.
wht
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wht,
User Rank: Strategist
4/17/2013 | 6:29:17 AM
re: Windows 8 Doubt: 4 Ways To Sway PC People
You understand how it works, most don't seem to be able to grasp that concept. Why is everyone making it so hard, when it isn't! Did you buy sight unseen online, or did your store clerk not help you and explain some basics before you spent your $?
amd656
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amd656,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/5/2013 | 3:04:38 PM
re: Windows 8 Doubt: 4 Ways To Sway PC People
WP7
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WP7,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/5/2013 | 11:23:33 PM
re: Windows 8 Doubt: 4 Ways To Sway PC People
I can give you several real-world examples of why touch-screens on desktops and laptops are useful -

1. If you have one of those adjustable desktop touch-screen monitors, it can be positioned at 45 deg or even flat so that it becomes an easel. Then you can use a WACOM stylus for your graphics design work or your CAD engineering directly on the screen. In fact, the WACOM digitiser is an important factor that many people forget about in the argument in favour of "touch". And since the WACOM digitiser also allows you to physically "hover" the stylus without touching the screen, it's even more powerful than touch alone.

2. A large touch-screen monitor could be used as an excellent professional mixing desk for music recording or playback in a music studio. iPad is popular in the music industry, but it's very cramped on a 9-10" screen. But if you had a large touch-screen laptop or desktop monitor, music studio applications become much better, simply because you can fit more on the screen.

3. Playing touch-screen games such as Fruit Ninja or Wordament. I know this is a bit trivial, but many "touch" games can be difficult to play with a mouse. Not having a touch screen puts you at a disadvantage when playing against others.

4. Quite often, touching an on-screen button is faster than moving the mouse over it and clicking.

5. Quickly sketching out ideas for GUI designs using applications such as SketchFlow. This stuff can be very tedious with a laptop trackpad (I speak from experience). It's far easier with a touch screen, and even more accurate with a stylus.

6. Interaction with clients. It's far easier for a client to touch your laptop screen than it is for them to mess around with the mouse or trackpad.

Anyway, that's just a few examples. No doubt others will have more.
Brad B
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Brad B,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/6/2013 | 7:35:56 AM
re: Windows 8 Doubt: 4 Ways To Sway PC People
Touch on an a pad and phone work because of the way they are used and held. Touch is natural on these devices. For a laptop it depends on how you are sitting and how close the screen is. Sitting on a desk the touch gestures will not be as easy (need to reach) vs sitting in a chair with the screen close. Still you end up having to take you hands off the keyboard and the angle will not be as natural as on a pad or phone. With a desktop touch, unless your screen is very close to you, will not work. I use a 27" screen and there is no way I am going to lean forward to touch the screen. It is unnatural. Additionally, many people use laptops and desktops for content creation. This tends to favor a mouse/touch pad/keyboard over a touch screen.

Computers/phones/pads are all tools. They are different tools. Each has its strengths and weaknesses. They should work and do the job they are supposed to do without getting in your way. Touch on a desktop would be getting in my way of how I work and interact with my computer.
wht
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wht,
User Rank: Strategist
4/17/2013 | 6:25:55 AM
re: Windows 8 Doubt: 4 Ways To Sway PC People
So, that's why you will use a mouse and KB, not a touch screen. You can have a touchpad instead of or in addition to a traditional mouse. Nowhere does MS ever say you have to use touch exclusively.
RockFox
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RockFox,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/6/2013 | 11:13:15 AM
re: Windows 8 Doubt: 4 Ways To Sway PC People
My 23 inch desktop screen is two feet from where I am sitting. There's no way I want to reach that far to touch the screen. But touch is practiclal on a tablet or phone.
wht
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wht,
User Rank: Strategist
4/17/2013 | 6:24:11 AM
re: Windows 8 Doubt: 4 Ways To Sway PC People
Finally, someone who has figured out how it really works!
moarsauce123
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moarsauce123,
User Rank: Ninja
4/6/2013 | 2:29:31 PM
re: Windows 8 Doubt: 4 Ways To Sway PC People
I just imagine writing this comment on a touch screen using a soft keyboard....horrible!
wht
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wht,
User Rank: Strategist
4/17/2013 | 6:23:18 AM
re: Windows 8 Doubt: 4 Ways To Sway PC People
Not many would do that, even if they could, except on a tablet with appropriate software. Not on a desktop or a laptop. You have no idea what you are complaining about, learn how Win 8 really works instead of making crap up.
justindunn
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justindunn,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/7/2013 | 8:35:25 PM
re: Windows 8 Doubt: 4 Ways To Sway PC People
Trade 108 keys (plus modifiers like shift, control, alt) and a mouse with an additional 4-10 buttons for a touch screen? Nah... I'm good, not interested in spending more money for gimmicky tech that decreases my productivity. Plus, the touchscreen will eventually wear out, how costly is it to replace the screen when that happens?

This is just plain stupid Microsoft, most people don't need this, and the only ones that really do could use apps that are supported by mobile operating systems. At this point I don't care though, MS has chosen it's path and I've jumped ship for good. OS X runs all the local applications I need and everything else is done in the browser (Chrome).

But seriously, touch? On desktop PC's? Is the world really this crazy? The only legitimate improvement you could make to interacting with a computer is some sort of brain interface (preferably an external one all you trans-humanists :P ). Gesture recognition combined with voice recognition might be an intermediary step, maybe, but only if the recognition worked really really well...

Most of us have decades of experience with a mouse and keyboard, and I for one won't give them up for something because it makes me look cool when I am working or presenting material.

We're wasting enough resources as a species already
wht
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wht,
User Rank: Strategist
4/17/2013 | 6:22:06 AM
re: Windows 8 Doubt: 4 Ways To Sway PC People
You don't have to give up your mouse and KB. That's all I use on my Win 8 laptop, not touch enabled (on purpose).
Palpatine
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Palpatine,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/8/2013 | 7:20:04 AM
re: Windows 8 Doubt: 4 Ways To Sway PC People
When people just gone crazy?
Touchscreen exists from ages, gesture control exists from ages, voice control was no longer a news 10 years ago.
Why on the heck betting the company's future on a UI so tightly bound to a SINGLE user interface fad like touch? iPad got a lot of cash not because of touch, but because of genial marketing and not repeatable Steve Jobs factor, period.
What is the point in p*ssing off everyone that is not a touch fanatic to build a so "touch first" environment for a system that has multiple exceptional user interfaces since a decade?
wht
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wht,
User Rank: Strategist
4/17/2013 | 6:20:33 AM
re: Windows 8 Doubt: 4 Ways To Sway PC People
You don't have to have touchscreens or use one even if you have it. Use a mouse or KB commands instead. Get over your resistant mindset and learn how it really works, not being all pissed off about it for no intelligent reason. If you are an IT tech you are embarassing to the IT community.
Palpatine
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Palpatine,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/19/2013 | 7:17:38 AM
re: Windows 8 Doubt: 4 Ways To Sway PC People
Your lack of faith in the Dark side is embarrassing as much as your faith in touch fad.
Why not voice control everything instead of touching things like monkeys?
sbacerra456
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sbacerra456,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/8/2013 | 5:30:35 PM
re: Windows 8 Doubt: 4 Ways To Sway PC People
I have a Windows 8 laptop at home, and I love it. But, THANK GOODNESS, it's not a touchscreen! Instead, the touchpad was widened and all the "touch" gestures can be done on the touchpad, then I can still do the keyboard/mouse thing when I want. That's exactly why I love it. I think Microsoft should stick with the Windows 8 concept (Metro/Desktop interfaces) and make a bluetooth touchpad "remote" for PC users when they want to run Metro. They can then always go back to mouse/keyboard computing when they need to.
wht
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wht,
User Rank: Strategist
4/17/2013 | 6:18:05 AM
re: Windows 8 Doubt: 4 Ways To Sway PC People
Dell and Logitech make touchpad mouse pads for PC's for $60 retail. Great even for PC's that are not touchscreen capable.
swaypc
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swaypc,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/25/2013 | 11:34:30 AM
Touch screen or not!!
This is what has being happening with Windows throughout the year. A good operating system and a bad one. Recall 2000 then millennium, XP then Vista. Now Windows 7 and 8. Finally they came out with the idea of the start menu, to make it more windows 7 again. To soon to launch a full touch screen Windows OS, users need more transition time.

SwayPC

www.swaypc.com
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