2. PowerPoint (And Its Competition).
Reader glenn817 chimed in on a recent piece with a prediction that Microsoft will significantly expand the touch capabilities of its Office suite in an upcoming release. "Can you imagine PowerPoint optimized for touch?" he wrote. "I can, and it makes me very happy."
I don't use PowerPoint as regularly as I did in some previous jobs, but I can absolutely see the upside in a PowerPoint version "purpose-built" -- to borrow the vendor marketing-speak phrase -- for the touchscreen PC. In fact, it could be the kick in the pants that PowerPoint needs to stay relevant over the long haul.
Microsoft probably doesn't want to hear this, but one of PowerPoint's upstart competitors, Prezi, might be an even better fit for touchscreen PCs. There's already an iPad version of the cloud software, so it seems like a no-brainer for Prezi to build a full-blown, touch-optimized Windows 8 app, especially given the less-linear nature of the presentations.
3. The Boardroom.
Anyone who's ever gotten the 5 p.m. "you need to present to the executive team at 9 a.m. tomorrow" email might want to pay close attention to this one. The boardroom (and its less prestigious sibling, the conference room) strikes me as an optimal environment for the larger screens enabled by PCs with touchscreens. Those screens could be ideal for presentations, if not creating content, especially for audiences with short attention spans that require bullet-point information. (It's called an "executive summary" for a reason.) The cool factor of touch can't hurt on that front, either. The Web and PowerPoint examples above are obvious fits in this context. There would also seem to be a conference-room upside in areas such as data visualization, business process modeling, sales and similar scenarios.
4. The Mystery App.
The app most likely to make me a believer? It doesn't exist yet. There's a reason why Microsoft is offering bounties for Windows 8 app development: There simply aren't enough apps for Windows 8 yet. There are even fewer when you eliminate apps that have little to no business purpose. That will surely change over time. But will there be an app -- or better yet several of them -- that will turn skeptics like me into the faithful converted?
In a follow-up column, I'll share with you the apps that make me struggle -- to put it mildly -- to see the advantages of a touchscreen PC.
In the meantime, are you a skeptic like me, or already a believer?
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